So it turns out that surveying a sizeable portion of NFL players isn't actually the best method of determining the league's best.
Once again, the NFL Network came out with its "Top 100" players poll, a ranking determined by players. And once again, the Top 100 couldn't have been more wrong. In fact, this year's version might be the worst one yet.
An explanation is needed on how a league that's predicated on passing - and therefore stopping the pass and protecting the passer - didn't rank the game's top cornerback in the top 15 or top left tackle in the top 20. Meanwhile, two running backs, a tight end, and an inside linebacker are ranked in the top 15.
If defense is as vital as offense, how can the Top 100 feature just one defensive player in its top 10, and none in the top eight? In an era where running backs and the running game aren't viewed as valuable as pass-rushers and linemen, why are there as many pass-rushers in the top 10 (Aaron Donald, Von Miller) as there are running backs (LeVeon Bell, Todd Gurley)?
It would take too long to fix the entire top 100 list - so here's our best attempt at correcting the Top 10:
NFL Network's No. 1 pick: QB Tom Brady, Patriots
At least the league hit correctly at No. 1. Aaron Rodgers is the NFL's most physically skilled quarterback and right up there with Brady in terms of talent and acumen, but Brady in 2017 won his third MVP and led the league with 4,577 passing yards - at 40 years old.
NFL Network's No. 2 pick: WR Antonio Brown, Steelers
When healthy, Rodgers is arguably the game's most dominant force. Two seasons ago, he carried a Packers team that ranked 22nd defensively and 20th in rushing offense to the NFC Championship despite his team being besieged by injuries. The two-time league MVP is behind only Brady in value to his respective team.
NFL Network's No. 3 pick: QB Carson Wentz, Eagles
Whenever he finally signs his next contract, Donald will be the game's highest-paid defensive player, and with good reason. There's not another defensive lineman in the league who can collapse pockets, harass quarterbacks, stop the run, and make plays from sideline to sideline the way Donald consistently does. He has 9.5 sacks more than Hall of Fame interior lineman Warren Sapp had through Sapp's first four seasons.
NFL Network's No. 4 pick: WR Julio Jones, Falcons
No question Brown is a top-five player and the NFL's best and most reliable receiver who appears to be improving with age. In 2018, Brown averaged 15.2 yards per reception - higher than career 13.5 average. He has led the NFL in receiving yards twice in the past two years.
NFL Network's No. 5 pick: RB Le'Veon Bell, Steelers
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was sacked just 10 times through his first eight games of 2017, averaging slightly under 1.5 sacks per game. But when Smith missed two games due to injury, Prescott was sacked 12 times. That increase pretty much illustrates Smith's impact on the Cowboys and status as the NFL's top blindside protector. He's easily a top-10 player.
NFL Network's No. 6 pick: RB Todd Gurley, Rams
There's a lot of Rodgers in his game, and there's some Drew Brees and Brady mixed in, too. Wentz broke out in just his second season, setting a Philadelphia Eagles record with 33 touchdowns - in just 13 games - along with a 101.9 passer rating, fourth-best in the league. His 74.4 QBR led all QBs. Wentz is the best candidate to replace Brady and Rodgers as the face of the NFL as he continues his ascent to the elite.
NFL Network's No. 7 pick: DT Aaron Donald, Rams
With freakishly patient feet, master vision and great hands out of the backfield, Bell is the league's ultimate running back weapon. His overall impact dropped last year, with 86 rushing yards per game and 129.8 yards from scrimmage compared to the 105.7 rushing yards and 158 yards from scrimmage he averaged in 2017, but he remains a top-10 superstar.
NFL Network's No. 8 pick: QB Drew Brees, Saints
Chandler Jones and Khalil Mack have more sacks over the past three seasons than Miller, but sacks alone don't define Miller. No edge rusher plays the run or has the cat-like athleticism and instincts that make Miller the league's most fiercest and most complete outside linebacker. Teams try their hardest to avoid Miller's side of scrimmage, a testament to his impact on the league.
NFL Network's No. 9 pick: LB Von Miller, Broncos
Only wide receiver in 2017 that managed a 100-yard game against the Jaguars. His name is Antonio Brown. Only nine receivers caught a touchdown pass against the Jags, and none caught more than one. Only one perimeter (non-slot) wideout totaled more than 60 yards against the Jags after Oct. 15. Ramsey, in just his second season, emerged as the NFL's preeminent shutdown corner and he'll only get better.
NFL Network's No. 10 pick: QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Another receiver who's virtually unguardable because of his size, speed, and strength. In the past three years, he's had receiving-yard games of 300, 253, 178, 174, 164, 162, and 160. Those are just insane numbers. Good receivers can come and go, but it's hard to find one as physically dominant as Jones.
Geoff Mosher is an award-winning sports reporter, radio host, and TV personality with more than 20 years of experience covering all major sports and leagues. He also hosts regularly on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia and co-hosts "The Sports Shop" on Facebook. You can find him on Twitter @GeoffMosherNFL.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)