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Today ESPN released their list of the Top 100 NFL players, that was compiled by “more than 70 voters. NFL analysts, reporters and statisticians — both from ESPN and outside ESPN — including former players and NFL front-office members.”  Three former NC State football players cracked the Top 100 list: Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, and Mario Williams

33. Russell Wilson | Seahawks | Rating: 87.55

Speaking of players who have had good offseasons, Wilson is due to pocket $87.6 million over the next four years — fair compensation after a three-year start to his career that includes 36 regular-season wins, one Super Bowl title and one near miss. Yes, the defense deserves some credit, but as one voter reminded: “He has a league-high 15 game-winning drives over the past three seasons.”

Add it up: Since he entered the league in 2012, Wilson has rushed for the most yards of any quarterback (1,877).

37. Philip Rivers | Chargers | Rating: 86.77

Rivers’ 64.7 career completion percentage ranks seventh all time. He’s the face of the debate about what greatness means in the modern era of QBs, a stat machine who hasn’t led his team to double-digit wins since 2009. He has a huge new contract, but he’s also coming off a season in which he led the NFL in interceptions. The stats will be there, but he’ll rise or fall on this list next year based on how far the Chargers go in 2015.

Add it up: Over the last two seasons, Rivers has the NFL’s third-best Total QBR (72.8) and the second-best completion rate (68 percent).

46. Mario Williams | Bills | Rating: 84.93

When Houston let Williams walk as a free agent in 2009 following a season in which he had 5.0 sacks and played in just five games, most assumed it was all aboard the Decline Train, last stop: Buffalo. Since then, all Williams has done is pile up 38.0 sacks and, in 2014, his first All-Pro selection (to go with four Pro Bowl invites). “He’s not as twitched up as some of the other top edge rushers,” said one panelist, “but he’s just as productive.”

Add it up: The Bills lead the NFL with 147 sacks since signing Williams in 2012. (ESPN)

Matthew is Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He writes for all sports, with a focus on football and recruiting, and is in charge of business strategy. He is an NC State alum who majored in business. Matthew is also the lead pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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Pack in the Pros

2 NC State Players Were Invited to the 2024 NFL Combine

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Yesterday, the NFL released the names of the 321 prospects invited to the 2024 NFL Combine, and Linebacker Payton Wilson and Center Dylan McMahon made the cut.

Wilson was a Unanimous All-American, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-ACC and won the Butkus and Nagurski Awards. McMahon earned All-ACC Honorable Mention this year.

Also, Long Snapper Joe Shimko’s has been invited to a Specialists Showcase at the end of the Combine.

Shimko was named the best Long Snapper in College Football this season.

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Pack in the Pros

Where is NC State’s Payton Wilson Landing in Mock Drafts?

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Former NC State Linebacker Payton Wilson won the Butkus and Nagurski Awards this season, and is primed to be one of the top Linebacker’s taken in the 2024 NFL Draft. With the Draft Order set after the end of the Super Bowl, where is the former Wolfpack Linebacker projecting to land in the 2024 NFL Draft.

ProFootballFocus – 2nd Round – #41 – Green Bay Packers
PlayerProfiler – 2nd Round – #53 – Miami Dolphins
33rd Team – 3rd Round – #67 – Washington Commanders
NFL.com – 3rd Round – #78 – Philadelphia Eagles
Tankathon – 3rd Round – #82 – Indianapolis Colts
DraftWire – 3rd Round – #84 – Pittsburgh Steelers
FanSided – 3rd Round – #87 – Dallas Cowboys
The Athletic – 3rd Round – #97 – Philadelphia Eagles

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Pack in the Pros

2 Former NC State Football Players Take Home Super Bowl Rings

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Two former NC State Football players took home Super Bowl rings last night: Offensive Guard Joe Thuney and Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Unfortunately, Thuney was unable to play last night due to a pectoral injury, but Valdes-Scantling did catch a touchdown.

Valdes-Scantling finished with 3 receptions for 20 yards and a touchdown.

Thuney has now broken his tie with Center Jim Ritcher, becoming the NC State football player with the most Super Bowl appearances, and Valdes-Scantling is tied for 3rd. Thuney has been to 5 Super Bowls in 8 seasons.

Joe Thuney – 5
Jim Ritcher – 4
Marquez Valdes-Scantling – 2
Mike Cofer – 2
Perry Williams – 2
Mike Jones – 2
Torry Holt – 2
Russell Wilson – 2
J.R. Sweezy – 2
Steven Hauschka – 2
(Bill Cowher – 2 – as a head coach)

Thuney now has 4 Super Bowl rings, which is tied for the 3rd most by a player in NFL history. Valdes-Scantling has 2.

NC State Players with the Most Super Bowl Rings

Offensive Guard Joe Thuney – 4
Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling – 2
Place Kicker Mike Cofer  – 2
Cornerback Perry Williams – 2

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Pack in the Pros

Joe Thuney’s 5 Super Bowl Appearances is the Most by an NC State Player

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Former All-American Offensive Lineman Joe Thuney is heading to his 5th Super Bowl in 8 NFL Seasons. Unfortunately, Thuney isn’t expected to play tomorrow due to a pectoral injury.

Thuney has now broken his tie with Center Jim Ritcher, becoming the NC State football player with the most Super Bowl appearances.

Joe Thuney – 5
Jim Ritcher – 4
Mike Cofer – 2
Perry Williams – 2
Mike Jones – 2
Torry Holt – 2
Russell Wilson – 2
J.R. Sweezy – 2
Steven Hauschka – 2
(Bill Cowher – 2 – as a head coach)

Thuney also holds the record for the most Super Bowl rings by a former NC State football player with 3, and has a chance to pick up his 4th tomorrow. Place Kicker Mike Cofer and Cornerback Perry Williams are the only other former Wolfpack football players to win 2 Super Bowls.

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