New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is this season's Most Valuable Player, so it stands to reason that he would top our rankings of the Super Bowl XLII participants. But what about the other 105 players who are expected to suit up Feb. 3 in Glendale, Ariz.? Who follows Brady? And who's No. 106?
In determining our rankings, we took into consideration the player's current performance, as well as his play throughout the season. A player's special teams contribution also influenced our decision.
The process was very difficult, and we had to make some tough calls. Whether you agree or disagree, feel free to let us know.
1. QB Tom Brady -- Patriots
Brady is without question the best quarterback in the NFL and is arguably the most outstanding player going into Super Bowl XLII.
2. WR Randy Moss -- Patriots
Moss is coming off a historic regular season, and every defense has to game plan around him.
3. DE Osi Umenyiora -- Giants
He was one of the toughest defensive ends to block this season. His combination of size, strength and athleticism draws many double-teams.
4. DE Richard Seymour -- Patriots
He is a big, physical force inside, but his stats don't really reflect his importance.
5. DE Michael Strahan -- Giants
Strahan had an outstanding season as a run-stopper and pass-rusher. Plus, he still has great quickness off the edge.
6. WR Plaxico Burress -- Giants
His great athleticism and size make him difficult to cover. The Patriots likely will put extra defenders on him in the Super Bowl.
7. OG Logan Mankins -- Patriots
Mankins sets the tempo while putting pressure on defensive fronts with tenacity and strength.
8. CB Asante Samuel -- Patriots
Samuel has excellent quickness, tremendous ball skills and an outstanding ability to react well out of zone coverage.
9. LB Mike Vrabel -- Patriots
He is one of the most versatile players in the NFL. His instincts, short-area quickness and toughness make him tough to game plan for.
10. OG Chris Snee -- Giants
Snee is an effective interior lineman who has the grit and strength to set the tempo in the trenches.
11. DT Vince Wilfork -- Patriots
He is a load inside who works with a low center of gravity. He also pushes the pocket well as a pass-rusher.
12. DE Ty Warren -- Patriots
Warren has been an effective pass-rusher off the edge but also shows natural power for holding the point.
13. WR Wes Welker -- Patriots
The Patriots' leading receiver in the playoffs. He often is Brady's X factor in the passing game because he can turn short routes into first downs.
14. OT Matt Light -- Patriots
He is a steady competitor who shows great athleticism as a pass-blocker. Plus, he has great patience and technique as a run-blocker.
15. QB Eli Manning -- Giants
Manning is turning into a true leader and is having a tremendous postseason. He is making great decisions with the football and, most importantly, not throwing interceptions.
16. DE Justin Tuck -- Giants
He has been an unsung hero on the Giants' defensive front, which has created havoc all year.
17. C Dan Koppen -- Patriots
Koppen is solid in the middle of the offensive line. He has great instincts, toughness and consistency.
18. RB Laurence Maroney -- Patriots
His play has been outstanding ever since he was called upon to tote the football late in the season. He has great vision, agility and strength.
19. RB Brandon Jacobs -- Giants
Jacobs is the most physical runner in the NFL and has an excellent combination of size, power and agility that moves the chains.
20. LB Antonio Pierce -- Giants
He has been making solid plays on a consistent basis and controlling the Giants' complex defense all season.
21. S Gibril Wilson -- Giants
Wilson is a good-sized free safety who attacks plays going downhill. He is a sure tackler who has excellent measurables and a great nose for the ball.
22. LB Tedy Bruschi -- Patriots
Bruschi is the heart and soul of New England's defense. He has a huge motor and makes plays on hustle, desire and instincts. He is like a coach on the field.
23. OT David Diehl -- Giants
Diehl is a good athlete for the position who protects Manning's blind side and has the ability to mirror the elite pass-rushers. He is a finesse blocker with body control.
24. S Rodney Harrison -- Patriots
Harrison is a downhill safety who plays better the closer he is to the line of scrimmage. He plays with an attitude.
25. C Shaun O'Hara -- Giants
He is a smart, athletic center who knows how to keep body position and rarely allows himself to get out of control. He uses his hands very well and knows angles.
26. OT Kareem McKenzie -- Giants
McKenzie is a massive tackle who simply overpowers opponents. He hits with a pop that can rock opponents onto their heels. He has nimble feet and good range.
27. LB Adalius Thomas -- Patriots
Thomas is an explosive edge rusher who has great first-step quickness with a burst to pressure the pocket and get to the quarterback. He has unusual strength for a linebacker.
28. WR Amani Toomer -- Giants
This sly veteran understands how to read coverages, has excellent hand-eye coordination and is willing to do the little things to help his team win.
29. RB Kevin Faulk -- Patriots
Faulk is a great third-down back who runs the ball fairly well but really excels when catching the ball out of the backfield. He is a heady player who does everything well.
30. TE Benjamin Watson -- Patriots
Watson is an excellent all-purpose tight end. He can line up either up tight, flexed out or as an H-back. He has soft, natural hands and can advance the ball after the catch.
31. CB Aaron Ross -- Giants
Ross is a very athletic corner who has the size to match up with bigger wide receivers, but he also can line up over the slot receiver. Plus, he supports the run better than most corners.
32. LB Junior Seau -- Patriots
He is a seasoned veteran who always has been able to make the big play and has a great nose for the ball. He is better going forward as a blitzing linebacker than dropping into space.
33. CB Sam Madison -- Giants
Madison is a fluid, smooth athlete with above-average speed for a cornerback. He uses his hands well to control receivers and does a great job of reading routes.
34. CB Ellis Hobbs -- Patriots
He is a little undersized for the position but plays with an attitude and is fearless. He has excellent feet and good distance speed. However, his size does get him into trouble versus taller wide receivers.
35. S James Sanders -- Patriots
Sanders is a little undersized but is a good athlete for the position. He plays with good instincts, understands defensive schemes and has excellent range over the top in coverage.
36. OT Nick Kaczur -- Patriots
He is a very good athlete for a right tackle. He relies on athleticism and technique more than brute strength. He has quick feet and does a good job of positioning his body.
37. DE Jarvis Green -- Patriots
Green is a very good athlete for a five-technique defensive end. He is slightly better at rushing the pocket than he is at stopping the run but can do both. He is not overpowering but plays with strong hands.
38. OG Stephen Neal -- Patriots
Neal is a very athletic guard who relies on foot agility, body control and technique more than size or brute strength. He uses his hands very well to control and steer opponents.
39. LB Kawika Mitchell -- Giants
Mitchell is big, fast and active. He can struggle when he has to change directions, but he does a good job of closing on plays once he gets realigned. He is not great at defeating blocks.
40. RB Ahmad Bradshaw -- Giants
Bradshaw is an explosive, exciting ball carrier. He lacks the size to be an every-down player but is explosive through the hole and is very elusive once he gets past the line of scrimmage.
41. WR Donte' Stallworth -- Patriots
He is a veteran receiver who is really the third option, despite being a starter. Although inconsistent, he still is a big-play threat who benefits from the double coverage on Moss.
42. DT Fred Robbins -- Giants
He is a veteran coming off back-to-back solid seasons for the Giants. Robbins is primarily known as a run-stuffer, but he has had 12 sacks over the past two seasons, due in part to being single blocked because of the excellent line on which he plays.
43. OG Rich Seubert -- Giants
Seubert is a solid backup and spot starter. He is a smart, blue-collar player and a very good technician. You love him on your team because of his versatility.
44. WR Steve Smith -- Giants
He is a rookie receiver who has elevated his level of play after the injury to tight end Jeremy Shockey. Smith has developed a nice rapport with Manning while playing out of the slot.
45. CB Corey Webster -- Giants
He is a former second-round pick who was buried on the Giants' depth charts prior to injuries at the cornerback position. He is playing as well as he has at any point during his short NFL career.
46. S James Butler -- Giants
Butler is a starting free safety who has solid size and range. He is serviceable but gets out of position at times. The Patriots will try to find him in coverage.
47. NT Barry Cofield -- Giants
He is a young backup player who is versatile enough to take reps at both at defensive tackle and defensive end. He is an important role player who provides depth.
48. WR Jabar Gaffney -- Patriots
He is the fourth receiver, but he still gets reps in this offense. He is a role player who has made the most of his opportunities and could produce in the Patriots' system if asked to play a bigger role.
49. TE Kevin Boss -- Giants
He has filled Shockey's shoes very nicely. He is not as good a receiver or run-blocker, but he does something the Giants didn't ask Shockey to do: pass block. Boss is solid at it, allowing Manning more time in the pocket.
50. LB Gerris Wilkinson -- Giants
He is a backup linebacker and solid special teams player who has made some plays when inserted into the lineup.
51. LB Reggie Torbor -- Giants
He has never really reached his full potential and is a bit of a tweener, but he is solid on special teams and has good overall speed and range.
52. K Stephen Gostkowski -- Patriots
He is 21-of-24 for the season and 3-of-5 from 40 to 49 yards out. However, he has not had many pressure kicks, and that could be a concern in a tight game.
53. TE Kyle Brady -- Patriots
He is an excellent blocking tight end who is physical at the point of attack. But he is limited as a receiver at this point in his career.
54. CB Randall Gay -- Patriots
When he has been healthy, he has made plays. He is a solid sub-package player who has a knack for being around the football.
55. LB Larry Izzo -- Patriots
He is a very good veteran special teams player.
56. WR David Tyree -- Giants
He is a fourth receiver and does not see a lot of time on offense. However, he is one of the best special teams players in the NFL.
57. FB Heath Evans -- Patriots
Evans is a versatile fullback who saw time as a runner when the Patriots were beat up at running back. He is a role player who produces when they need him.
58. FB Madison Hedgecock -- Giants
He is the Giants' starting fullback, but they do not run out of the I formation too often, so he is more productive on special teams.
59. S Eugene Wilson -- Patriots
He is a hybrid cornerback-safety. He is a backup who can fill in at every spot. He is another one of those Patriots backups who is in and out of the lineup but has a knack for coming up with big plays in key moments.
60. S Brandon Meriweather -- Patriots
He is a rookie who played more toward the end of the season. He has a ton of potential but has taken some time to pick up the schemes.
61. CB Kevin Dockery -- Giants
He was a starter prior to being injured late in the year and started again in the wild-card game. He is an average cover guy who might not get his job back.
62. C Grey Ruegamer -- Giants
He is an experienced backup player who has very good versatility at both offensive guard and center.
63. OG Russ Hochstein -- Patriots
He is a versatile, smart backup player who can play both guard and center.
64. WR Kelley Washington -- Patriots
Washington is a backup receiver who contributed mainly as a core special teams player throughout the year and finished with 18 tackles.
65. LB Eric Alexander -- Patriots
He is a backup inside linebacker and core special teams player.
66. P Jeff Feagles -- Giants
No directional punter in the NFL is better than Feagles at placing punts inside the 20-yard line.
67. CB R.W. McQuarters -- Giants
He is a backup corner who contributes in substitution as the "money" (fourth corner in dime packages) and handles punt returns.
68. WR Domenik Hixon -- Giants
He is the Giants' primary kickoff returner, and he had a 74-yard return for a touchdown against the Patriots in Week 17.
69. OT Ryan O'Callaghan -- Patriots
O'Callaghan is a backup who can be effective as a run-blocker due to his size and functional strength.
70. RB Reuben Droughns -- Giants
He is an experienced backup who contributes in the Giants' short-yardage and goal-line packages.
71. K Lawrence Tynes -- Giants
He has good leg strength and has made some big kicks over his career, but he still needs to be more consistent.
72. P Chris Hanson -- Patriots
Hanson is a left-footed punter with great power and hang time. He also has been to a Pro Bowl.
73. DT Jay Alford -- Giants
Alford is a backup rotational defensive tackle who contributes mainly in regular defensive schemes. He also handles the short snaps for field goals and extra points.
74. OG Billy Yates -- Patriots
He is a backup who started one game and still is developing.
75. LB Zak DeOssie -- Giants
He is a backup SLB and special teams player who handles the long snaps on punts.
76. LB Pierre Woods -- Patriots
Woods is a backup role player who leads the Patriots in special teams tackles this season.
77. S Willie Andrews -- Patriots
He is a backup role player who contributes mainly on special teams.
78. TE Michael Matthews -- Giants
He is the No. 2 tight end and a special teams player who contributes mainly in the Giants' 12-personnel grouping.
79. LS Lonie Paxton -- Patriots
He has been a very consistent snapper on field goals and punts throughout his career.
80. RB Kyle Eckel -- Patriots
He is a backup fullback who has contributed mainly on special teams.
81. S Mel Mitchell -- Patriots
Mitchell is very good on special teams and has value in a reserve role. However, he isn't starting material.
82. WR Troy Brown -- Patriots
This veteran, do-it-all, consummate Patriot is on his last legs, but he is the type of guy who still could come through in a big game.
83. WR Sinorice Moss -- Giants
He is the undersized younger brother of Santana Moss (Washington Redskins) and has quickness and explosiveness, but he has not transitioned to the NFL as well as was expected.
84. LB Chase Blackburn -- Giants
Blackburn is a backup linebacker who was thrust into action and performed well during the 2006 season. Plus, he is a core special teams player.
85. WR Chad Jackson -- Patriots
Jackson is a talented young player who has gotten lost in all of New England's wide receiver acquisitions. He also has battled injuries since joining the league.
86. NT Rashad Moore -- Patriots
Moore is a big, powerful player who flashes at times, but he is far too inconsistent in just about every phase of his game.
87. DE Dave Tollefson -- Giants
Tollefson is good enough to fill in and finish a game, but he is nowhere near the threat off the edge that those above him on the depth chart are.
88. OT Wesley Britt -- Patriots
Britt has been forced into action at times but isn't a massive liability. He is a smart player who knows his deficiencies but never will be a starter.
89. DT Russell Davis -- Giants
He is a big run-plugging defensive tackle who has valuable starting experience, but he is in the latter stages of his career.
90. S Michael Johnson -- Giants
Johnson is a rookie and has been a pleasant surprise while filling in as the starting strong safety due to injury. He has good size and is aggressive.
91. QB Matt Cassel -- Patriots
Cassell didn't start at USC, and he surely will not start in New England unless the unthinkable occurs.
92. QB Anthony Wright -- Giants
Wright has had moderate success in the league, but if Manning goes down, the Giants are in huge trouble.
93. LB Tank Daniels -- Giants
He is a backup strongside linebacker who has recorded just one tackle on the season. However, he has contributed on special teams.
94. OG Kevin Boothe -- Giants
He is an intelligent backup guard who is a project at this young stage of his career.
95. CB Geoffrey Pope -- Giants
Pope is a very young player who primarily is a depth player without much upside. However, he could be thrust into action with the rash of injuries in the Giants' secondary.
96. S Ray Ventrone -- Patriots
He is a core special teams contributor who tries hard and can fill in at safety in an emergency.
97. DE LeKevin Smith -- Patriots
Smith has some upfield ability and flashes at times, but he is a borderline roster player.
98. OT Guy Whimper -- Giants
He is an athletic backup left tackle who needs to get stronger, but he is a suitable backup to Diehl at this point.
99. OT Adam Koets -- Giants
He is a backup offensive lineman who lacks quickness and overall athletic ability. If by chance Koets plays in the Super Bowl, he will need a lot of help.
100. QB Jared Lorenzen -- Giants
As third-string quarterbacks go, Lorenzen is fine, but he never has shown he can be someone New York can win with.
101. RB Danny Ware -- Giants
Ware was a late addition to a Giants team that is loaded at the position. He should be used only on special teams.
102. TE Jerome Collins -- Giants
He is a blocking tight end with size and got his shot due only to Shockey's injury.
103. NT Manny Wright -- Giants
Wright has ability. He entered the league through the supplemental draft as a Miami Dolphin, but he has continually disappointed.
104. QB Matt Gutierrez -- Patriots
The Patriots' third-string signal-caller is a big-time project, but he has shown little to date.
105. TE Stephen Spach -- Patriots
He is a second-year, third-string tight end who could very well luck into a Super Bowl ring.
106. CB Antwain Spann -- Patriots
He is buried on the depth chart but had one tackle in the regular season. Ironically, it was against the Giants in Week 17.
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