NFL Network released the next segment of their player-voted Top 100 list, and while it is a fairly flawed list (FB John Kuhn was ranked #92!), it does provide natural fodder for discussion. Last night they unveiled players 31-40:
There were no 49ers, but in the brief preview segment for next week's 21-30 segment, there were some highlights featuring Frank Gore and Justin Smith. I don't know if this guarantees anything for next week, but it's worth keeping in mind. I will probably be tweeting live during the show from @NinersNation. Justin Smith probably deserves a higher ranking at this point, but with no criteria to judge the rankings, it's hard to tell what's what.
The rankings themselves are suspect because the criteria is not really known at this point. In discussing it on Twitter last night, some people think it's based entirely on 2011 performance. Others (like myself) view it as how players are viewed at the time of voting looking ahead. I suggest this because Peyton Manning was ranked No. 50. Considering he didn't play last year, a lot of voters obviously viewed it as a list looking ahead to 2012 instead of what was in 2011.
One brief non-49ers sidenote: I'm glad to see Steven Jackson still getting some respect at this point in his career. After what some could qualify as a down-year for him in 2010 (averaged 3.8 yards per carry), he bounced back to a certain extent, averaging 4.4 yards per carry in rushing for 1,145 yards. He's always been one of my favorite non-49ers in part because of how much he grinds it out in spite of playing for some questionable teams. There's a certain Frank Gore mentality, which makes it easy to root for him when he's not playing the 49ers.