ESPN recently ranked every player in the NBA. On Colin Cowherd's show they asked John Clayton to rank the top 15 NFL players. While Clayton was not on the air, so I don't know what type of criteria he used, Brian Urlacher ended up at #5. The four in front of him were #4 Shawn Merrimane, #3 Julius Peppers, #2 Steve Smith, #1 Peyton Manning. They were all followed by Tom Brady who showed up at #6.
I find it pretty interesting that 3 of the top 5 are defensive guys.
Notable exclusions from the list are Marvin Harrison, Chad Johnson, Antonio Gates, Tiki Barber and Donovan McNabb.