On Wednesday night, NFL Network aired the second part of its series profiling the "Top 100 NFL Players of 2012" as voted on by their peers. Picks 90-81 were unveiled, and the first Patriots player to make the list was announced.
Nose tackle Vince Wilfork checked in at number 81, down 46 spots from his 2011 ranking of 35.
The feature noted that Wilfork's fall may be due to the Patriots’ lack of defensive success as a team, although Wilfork experienced arguably his finest season as a pro, playing a career-best 86.8 percent of defensive snaps (up from 69.8 percent in 2010), recording 52 tackles, 3.5 sacks (also a career-high), and the first two interceptions of his career.
A number of NFL players were interviewed for the piece, including Jets center Nick Mangold, Saints guard Ben Grubbs, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux.
Said Babineaux, "It takes four dudes to move Vince Wilfork. The guy can do it all. He can take on the double team, and then make the play."
Both Mangold and Pouncey, who are regarded as two of the best centers in the AFC, made it clear that facing Wilfork is no easy task. Mangold described some of the challenges in facing Wilfork, noting his exceptional athleticism and technique.
“Obviously you see the size and the strength and everything, but his quickness, his technique. He’s great with his hand placement, his leverage, and that little burst off the ball," he said. "He might lull you to sleep looking at him, but he gets around.”
To view the full video, click HERE.