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Players give Jackson edge over Gore

Frank Gore overtook Steven Jackson by a 54-46 percentage margin in the unscientific poll conducted here last week.

NFL players disagreed. They ranked Gore 96th and Jackson somewhere between 31st and 40th among all NFL players heading into 2011, with precise slotting to be revealed Sunday on NFL Network. Jackson's coach, Steve Spagnuolo, will present Jackson for the program featuring the top 100 players in the league, according to information from the league.

Gore's teammate, linebacker Patrick Willis, explained in this video what separates Jackson from most backs in the league:

He can run inside, he can run outside. For a big guy, most of the time you'd think they want to be inside. He can jump cut. His jump cut is unbelievable. It is almost like LaDainian Tomlinson and LaDainian Tomlinson is way smaller than he is. And his jump cut is almost identical. You have to make sure you don't over-pursue too hard because he can cut it back and hurt you.

The way Jackson runs for his size has always defined him. Willis' specific example adds welcome detail. See also: 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman saying he's never been around anyone as passionate about the game as Gore.

Jackson ranks ahead of running backs Michael Turner (42nd), Ray Rice (56th), Gore and Darren McFadden (98th) in polling among players. Jamaal Charles will also fall between 31st and 40th, according to the NFL. Four as-yet-unidentified running backs rank higher than Jackson.

The chart compares ESPN.com Blog Network power rankings for running backs to the order set by NFL players. I listed Charles and Jackson alphabetically because it wasn't yet clear which one would rank higher than the other in player polling.

The rankings match up rather closely to this point. More than 400 players voted in the player rankings.

2011 NFL Running Backs: Best of the Best