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Manning, Cruz break into 'Top 100 of 2012'


Winning two championships will put you on some lists.

Now the Top 100 ranking of current players is one them for Eli Manning, who was left off the list entirely a year ago.

Heading into 2012, the two-time Super Bowl MVP is now No. 31 on the list generated by NFL Network, which revealed 31-40 on Wednesday night and included another Giants offensive player.

With the rankings voted on by current players, here are some comments from some of Manning's peers around the league that were interviewed for the segment.

Safety Rashad Johnson, Cardinals: "He had a confidence in himself that he was an elite quarterback. He actually came out and said that he was elite. A guy that can say those things and can come in and produce the way he did this season – he won a lot of fourth quarter games – that's the highest level of a quarterback you can play against.

"Mentally you can tell that he knows where to go with the ball when that ball is snapped and he gets it in his hands. And that's something as a defensive guy that you kind of admire. He knows what coverage you're in, he knows where the holes are."

DE Jason Babin, Eagles: "I played against his older brother quite a bit in Tennessee and in Houston. And you see some similarities – understanding the defenses, checking plays, getting rid of the ball quick."

WR Jeremy Maclin, Eagles: "He may have periods in the game where he can't quite get it right, but when he needs to make the throw, he definitely makes the throw. When they played the Patriots earlier on in the season in their first game, he came back and won that game. In key games, especially this last playoff run, Eli played great down the stretch from kind of being on the outskirts of making the playoffs to making it in the end, the things he did inside the playoffs.

WR Jacoby Jones, Ravens: "Number one? Best player in the NFL, number one? You know what, I'm going to give hats off to Eli Manning."

Meanwhile, Victor Cruz came in at No. 39 on the list as the fifth-ranked wide receiver. He finished above wide receivers Greg Jennings (56), Roddy White (65), and his teammate Hakeem Nicks (90).

"It's a tremendous honor to be on this list no matter what the number is," Cruz said on the network's "Team Cam" from Giants headquarters. "But 39, I just can't believe it especially from where I was last year. So to be No. 39, it feels pretty good."

Now he's out to prove he'll be just as high in a year's time.

"I think I just have to fight to remain consistent and to prove I wasn't just a one-season wonder and I wasn't just a guy that popped up, had a great season and then just flurries off into the mist," Cruz said. "I want to remain at this high level, keep this high level of play and keep playing the great football that I played last year and just pick up where I left off."

Cruz also talked about his quarterback and was asked if Manning should have finished higher than 31.

"I think anytime you're a Super Bowl champion, obviously, you think you'd be higher," Cruz responded. "I think all our Giants, our whole starting 11, should be one through 11. Obviously you'd think he'd be higher. But 31, that's not too shabby, that's not too shabby. That's a good step for him."

With 10 released each week, here's the current list of the Top 100 Players of 2012:

  1. RB Chris Johnson, Titans
  2. C Ryan Kalil, Panthers
  3. RB Willis McGahee, Broncos
  4. OT Donald Penn, Buccaneers
  5. LB D'Qwell Jackson, Browns
  6. QB Tim Tebow, Jets
  7. RB Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
  8. CB Cortland Finnegan, Rams
  9. FB John Kuhn, Packers
  10. QB Tony Romo, Cowboys
  1. WRHakeem Nicks, *Giants
  2. DE Dwight Freeney, Colts
  3. RB Michael Turner, Falcons
  4. LB London Fletcher, Redskins
  5. RB Darren Sproles, Saints
  6. LB NaVorro Bowman, 49ers
  7. DE Chris Long, Rams
  8. RB Fred Jackson, Bills
  9. OT Joe Thomas, Browns
  10. DT Vince Wilfork, Patriots
  1. WR Jordy Nelson, Packers
  2. Nnamdi Asomugha, Eagles
  3. LB Derrick Johnson, Chiefs
  4. WR A.J. Green, Bengals
  5. OL Carl Nicks, Buccaneers
  6. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
  7. QB Joe Flacco, Ravens
  8. CB Johnathan Joseph Texans
  9. LB Lance Briggs, Bears
  10. WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles
  1. QB Michael Vick, Eagles
  2. CB Carolos Rogers, 49ers
  3. DE Elvis Dumervil, Broncos
  4. OT Joe Staley, 49ers
  5. S Earl Thomas, Seahawks
  6. WR Roddy White, Falcons
  7. G Logan Mankins, Patriots
  8. LB LaMarr Woodley, Steelers
    62. DE [Justin Tuckinternal-link-placeholder-0], Giants
  9. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers
  1. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders
  2. OT Jake Long, Dolphins
  3. LB Jonathan Vilma, Saints
  4. DE Trent Cole, Eagles
  5. WR Greg Jennings, Packers
  6. CB Patrick Peterson, Cardinals
  7. LB Brian Cushing, Texans
  8. TE Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
  9. LB Von Miller, Broncos
  10. LB Brian Urlacher, Bears
  1. QB Peyton Manning, Broncos
  2. C Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers
  3. WR Devin Hester, Bears
  4. WR Mike Wallace, Steelers
  5. CB Champ Bailey, Broncos
  6. FB Vonta Leach, Ravens
  7. DE Jason Babin, Eagles
  8. TE Vernon Davis, 49ers
  9. OT Jason Peters, Eagles
  10. QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
  1. QB Cam Newton, Panthers
    39. WR Victor Cruz, Giants
  2. DT Ndamukong Suh, Lions
  3. RB Steven Jackson, Rams
  4. CB Charles Woodson, Packers
  5. WR Steve Smith, Panthers
  6. LB Tamba Hali, Chiefs
  7. RB Matt Forte, Bears
  8. G Jahri Evans, Saints
    31. QB Eli Manning, Giants
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