Over the past month, the NFL Network, in an attempt to fill air time with actual news on football, has been airing a "Top 100 Players For 2011" program. The ranking, as the network stresses, was a ranking of NFL players by NFL players to see who were the best players in the league today.
Since the draft, the program has revealed 10 players at a time. This past Sunday the episode for numbers 70-61 aired, and the Houston Texans were represented at number 65 by All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach. Leach is the second Texan in the top 100 after 71st ranked outside linebacker Mario Williams. Take that ranking in a second before you hit the jump.
Leach, who cleared the way for the NFL’s leading rusher Arian Foster on their way to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams, was named the 65th best player in the entire NFL by those same players he competes against on a weekly basis. He’s even ranked higher than players with names such as McNabb, Ratliff, and Romo.
While some analysts question the value of a fullback, Leach’s fellow NFL brethren overwhelmingly recognize his bonecrushing blocks (which you can see in video if you click the above link), and the Examiner's Alan Burge astutely points out the value of a fullback in Gary Kubiak's offensive scheme.
Once the off-season is allowed to get underway, fans will see if Texans general manager Rick Smith values Leach like the analysts or his peers. Considering the highest-paid fullback only earns $11.2 million total with $6.5 million guaranteed, I can only hope Smith will pony up to maintain the running game's continuity as Houston looks for its elusive first playoff birth. The franchise will need all the talent it can get to finally achieve that goal.