After watching games and breaking down film, Scouts Inc., in conjuntion with ESPN.com's Matt Williamson, has evaluated and graded more than 2,500 NFL players heading into the 2012 season. Here's how the top 200 player stacked up.
Note: No rookies were included in this exercise. Age refers to player's age at start of 2012 season on Sept. 5.
In today's ever-changing NFL, it is imperative for every front office to constantly update the scouting reports and grades for every single player in the league. These reports, along with the player's college scouting reports, are saved to review over the years when deciding who to pursue in free agency and any other potential roster moves.
Much like in an NFL front office, with the 2012 Big Book you will find a comprehensive ranking of the top 200 NFL players, plus the top 50 players in each position group. Each player profile features a short synopsis of the player, as well as his 2011 stats and vital bio information.
Unlike a front office, we do not evaluate these players based on the specific team and scheme we work for. For example, a true 3-4 defensive end type is worth much more to a 3-4 defense than he is to a team that employs the 4-3. Instead, ours is a broader evaluation of the player as a whole.
With a list of this magnitude -- or, for that matter, any ranking -- there is much room for debate and controversy. Judging a guard against a safety is not an easy thing to do. And of course, quarterbacks carry more weight than say, kickers or fullbacks.
Our ranking continues with Nos. 51-75.
Smith is a good-sized outside linebacker with whose timed speed is only adequate, but whose playing speed is excellent.
He is explosive off the edge and has the ability to bend back after getting upfield to close the pocket. He led the 49ers with 14 sacks as a rookie in 2011 and quickly became a fan favorite with his non-stop effort.
He has a tendency to play a bit tall when taking on blockers, but has good upper-body strength that allows him to leverage and shed blockers. He is athletic and fluid and should continue to grow, with the potential to become an elite linebacker.