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Darren Sproles: First Saint to Crack NFL's 'Top 100 of 2012' List

Darren Sproles ran his way to No. 86 on the Top 100 Players of 2012 list.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Darren Sproles ran his way to No. 86 on the Top 100 Players of 2012 list. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Saints running back Darren Sproles is the first member of the team to crack the NFL's 'Top 100 Players of 2012' list, coming in at No. 86. Watch the video here.

I know this series is not too serious of a deal or anything, but I enjoyed following it in 2011, seeing where all our beloved Saints players landed in the rankings, and I'll enjoy it again this year.

It seems that it's not garnering as much coverage as it did last year - guess media flacks have their eyes on other prizes right now, eh?

But you can make the jump for your intro and orientation to this year's list and the series itself...

The 'Top 100 Players' series ran on NFL Network last year for the first time, and I began covering it "in depth" then. Here's my initial story about it from May 2011, with all the nuts and bolts.

The 2012 model appears to be pretty much the same deal, with players voting on their peers based on loosely-interpreted criteria for "top player." Does it mean best player of the 2011 season? Best player in the game today (whole career's body of work)? Best player of the last few years? I'm sure if you listen to/watch all the players testimonials on the shows (if I miss the live broadcast, I usually just fast forward to the Saint players when watching it on my own), you'll see that even they aren't clear on it...

There's still an interactive part that allows you to voice your opinion on the greatest player of 2012.

Using an 'either-or' module, you can cycle through the best NFL players chosen BY the players. Vote by choosing between pairs of randomly generated players. After selecting winners of 30 matchups, you will begin to build your own Top 10 list. The more you vote, the more precise your list becomes.

The Top 100 of 2012 "reveal" shows began on Saturday, April 28th, right after the draft, and it seems that new shows air each Wednesday night at 8:00 pm EST, with a one-hour talking head reaction show immediately following at 9:00 pm.

So far they have aired the first two segments, 100-91 and 90-81, and here's the actual list, in reverse order:

81. Vince Wilfork, DL, Patriots
82. Joe Thomas, LT, Browns
83. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
84. Chris Long, DE, Rams
85. NaVorro Bowman, ILB, 49ers

86. Darren Sproles, RB/KR, Saints

87. London Fletcher, ILB, Redskins
88. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
89. Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts
90. Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants
91. Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
92. John Kuhn, FB, Packers
93. Cortland Finnegan, CB, Rams
94. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks
95. Tim Tebow, QB, Jets
96. D'Qwell Jackson, ILB, Browns
97. Donald Penn, LT, Buccaneers
98. Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos
99. Ryan Kalil, C, Panthers
100. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans

* * *

Have no fear, CSCers. Whether you love or hate this series, I now have the "first-run" shows on a season pass, and I'll be staying on this ongoing story, keeping you apprised of all the Saints-related details as they unfold over the next seven weeks or so. You're welcome.