Super Bowl XLVIII player rankings

Peyton Manning is looking to cap a record-breaking season with a Super Bowl title. Helen Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images

There wasn't much debate at the very top when ESPN Insider's NFL scout Matt Williamson and Insider Mike Sando ranked all 106 players headed to the Super Bowl.

Peyton Manning of the AFC champion Denver Broncos ran unopposed in the No. 1 slot. From there, however, the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks accounted for eight of the other nine spots in the top 10, a reflection of their strength throughout the roster.

In constructing the ranking, Williamson and Sando took into account a range of factors, but mostly focused on which players were playing the best, with less consideration for positional value. That explains why Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson didn't rank among the top five -- though he wasn't far behind.

1. QB Peyton Manning -- Broncos
Completing 32 of 43 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns in the AFC Championship Game only affirmed what we've seen from Manning all season. He had arguably the best season of any quarterback ever. He has to be No. 1 on the list. Now, will he still be the best player on the field when the wind picks up at MetLife Stadium? We'll find out.

2. CB Richard Sherman -- Seahawks
With all due respect to Darrelle Revis and Patrick Peterson, Sherman has established himself as the most effective cornerback in the league. The 49ers rarely threw at him during the NFC Championship Game, and when they did, Sherman made them pay. Say what you wish about Sherman's bravado, but he is a building-block player -- smart, prepared and perfect for the scheme.