The biggest game of the NFL season requires a ranking that can match it in its intensity. So, as we have for the past several years, we have gone through the 53-man rosters of both Super Bowl participants and ranked every player 1-106.
Note that this is not a list of the most valuable players, although that naturally seeps into the perceptions of these players. Instead, this is a list of the best players overall, regardless of position.
Who will be the best players on the field for Super Bowl 50? Here is our ranking of every player on the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. The top five is dominated by front-seven defenders, but a quarterback lands at No. 3.
1. Luke Kuechly, LB, Panthers: Kuechly is the most consistently productive elite player in this game. He has pick-sixes in each of the Panthers' playoff games, plus four interceptions and two forced fumbles during the regular season. He is the closest thing to money in the bank among Super Bowl players.
2. Von Miller, OLB, Broncos: Miller has shown he can dominate at multiple positions in multiple schemes. That versatility sets apart Miller, who had 2.5 sacks and an interception in the AFC title game. Some personnel evaluators argue that Miller is better than Kuechly when Miller is at his best, but most agree Kuechly is at his best more consistently.
3. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: Newton was a consideration for the top spot based on his production lately. He has 24 touchdown passes with two interceptions and a 66.6 completion rate in the Panthers' past 10 games. He can be the most dominant player on the field at any time. The Panthers obviously believe in him and they are rallying around him. Newton made a big jump in his pre-snap audible game this season. He is playing loose, which has been a great asset, but he has also been loose with his mechanics. That is one concern if Denver's defense can get pressure on him. As one personnel director said, Newton could dominate the Super Bowl or throw three interceptions against this Denver defense. It depends upon whether the Broncos' combination of pressure and coverage can knock him off his game.