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Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots
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Mitchell: Tom Brady Is The Best NFL Player – Ever

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots heads into the tunnel after warmups against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NFL is celebrating its 100th season of professional football. There are lists and lists ranking the best this and that. KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell took issue with USA Today’s list of the top 100 NFL players – so he created his own.

After all, Mitchell does have experience in this field thanks to his 12-year career as an NFL quarterback.

Mitchell was asked about his former Detroit Lions teammate Barry Sanders who was one of the most electric running backs in NFL history. Sanders was a must-watch for any fan when the Lions played. Mitchell handed the ball off and threw screen passes to him, but Sanders doesn’t even crack Mitchell’s top 10.

Sanders came in at 10 on USA Today’s list.

“As a runner, I don’t know that there has ever been anyone like Barry Sanders. From a special talent perspective, he is No. 1 in my book,” Mitchell said of his former teammate, “As far as the greatest and absolute best players in the NFL, I’d say ‘no’. If I was picking a team in my era he probably would not be one of the top five guys I’d pick at running back.”

What Sanders did on the field was impressive. He could cut back and turn a negative play into a long touchdown run. However, those plays sometimes lost yards and put his team in tough spots.

According to Pro Football Weekly, Sanders had the most negative rushing yards in NFL  history with a staggering minus-1,114 (on 336 carries), which is nearly a season’s worth of lost yards.

“Barry Sanders was a runner, he was not a running back. He wasn’t Jim Brown, Walter Payton, or Emmitt Smith. You were not going to get a consistent run and that is everything,” Mitchell said, “I saw something I have never seen and I had a front-row seat and he was remarkable. I am telling you how hard it was for our offense to be consistent, so to say he is 10 is hard for me.”

Mitchell’s Top Five

Four of his top 5 them played at the same time he was in the league – Tom Brady wasn’t yet the Tom Brady we all know but he was a backup for the Patriots during some of Mitchell’s career.

Mitchell’s top 5 was similar to USA Today’s but in a different order.

“Five to one to me are the same players. Walter Payton is in the top five all-time, no question,” Mitchell said. “Jim Brown might be number two and he was unbelievable. Lawrence Taylor would be in my top five and probably be the best defender of all-time.”

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Jim Brown
  3. Jerry Rice
  4. Lawrence Taylor
  5. Walter Payton

“I might even put Sweetness above L.T. I will tell you right now, those are definitely the top five.”

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