- Matt Williamson, ESPN.com
After watching games and breaking down film, Scouts Inc., in conjunction 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 players 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. 151-175.
Laurinaitis has good speed, lateral range and excellent instincts. He has quickly become the cornerstone of the Rams' defense and is a solid leader both on the field and off. He is a tackling machine who makes plays on the inside and out by the sidelines. He is quick to recognize blocking schemes and locate the ball and takes good angles.
He does a good job of using his hands to defeat and shed blockers and is very active at hustling his way to the ball. He gets good depth in his zone drops, shows good route recognition and can read the quarterback's eyes from zone.
Scouts Inc. and Matt Williamson rank the top 200 players in the NFL in the annual Big Book. James Laurinaitis leads players ranked 151-175.