Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Tier Five (5 points): Players 30-27.
30. Manny Ramirez, Broncos
An unspectacular, but solid offensive lineman, Ramirez stepped in for the injured Dan Koppen and played well for the Broncos in 2013. Like the rest of the Broncos’ line, Ramirez struggled in the Super Bowl (see his opening drive snap that sailed over Manning’s head). That the Broncos brought in Will Montgomery to compete with Ramirez for the starting job at center is enough to place Ramirez 30th on this list.
29. Jamie Collins, Patriots
Everyone has their proverbial ‘pre-draft binky,’ the guy they desperately want the Patriots to draft; generally, the Patriots don’t end up selecting that guy. In the case of Jamie Collins–who was my ‘pre-draft binky’–the Patriots ended up selecting him in the middle of the second round in the 2013 NFL Draft. That said, I expect big things out of Collins, but to put him any higher on the list after limited playing time during his rookie season would call in to question my ability to objectively rank players. I have a feeling he’ll emerge as one of the stars of the Patriot defense in his second season, but at this point, he best belongs in Tier Five.
28. Orlando Franklin, Broncos
Franklin, like others in the Super Bowl, was abused throughout the game. During the regular season, however, Franklin had his best season as a pro. I hesitate to put Franklin higher, though, because his strong play in 2013 seems to have been more a bi-product of Manning’s ability to get the ball out at an alarmingly fast rate. Further, Franklin was the most penalized Bronco lineman in 2013.
27. Danny Trevathan, Broncos
Danny Trevathan is one of the more underrated linebackers in the NFL. A relative unknown coming out of Kentucky in 2012, Trevathan’s stock is pointing up. With 88 tackles, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions in 2013, it’s easy to see why Trevathan made the list.