COMMENTARY | Every year, NFL Network releases its list of the Top 100 players in the NFL. So far, this year's list, voted by NFL players, has been released up to the Top 10.
The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens do not have any players in the Top 10 of the list, however there has been no shortage of Ravens in the first 90 players revealed.
Players who are either currently Ravens or were last year who are on the list are as follows: Ray Rice (13), Ed Reed (18), Joe Flacco (19), Haloti Ngata (42), Terrell Suggs (56), Bernard Pollard (87), Jacoby Jones (88), Anquan Boldin (93) and Dennis Pitta (100).
Reed, Pollard and Boldin are no longer with the Ravens, but in total, nine players from the 2012 Ravens made the list. Now the debate begins: does every player deserve to make the list, and are they ranked correctly?
What does need to be taken into account before any discussion begins is that the list is far from accurate. New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham didn't even make the list, even though he is one of the league's premier tight ends. Despite being among the NFL's top pass rushers, Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins managed to come in at just 89th on the list.
Those are just two of many examples.
Of the Ravens on the list, Ray Rice seems rightfully placed at 13. After that, the rankings begin to warrant debate. Despite Flacco's incomparable postseason run, he wasn't even among the Top 10 quarterbacks in the league in the regular season. Flacco had four exceptional playoff games, but his 16 regular season games can't go unnoticed. He deserves a high ranking, but completing less than 60 percent of his passes certainly doesn't warrant being ranked the 19th best player in the league.
Reed, now with the Houston Texans, was a shell of his former self in 2012. He gambled (and came out on the wrong end) of many pass plays, and wasn't the ballhawking safety that imposed fear in opposing offense like in the past. He had no business being ranked that high on the list.
The next two Ravens, Ngata and Suggs, deserved to be ranked higher. Ngata is a Top 20 player in the NFL, even when he's hurt. Despite missing the majority of the regular season, Suggs still managed to prove why he is one of the top 3-4 outside linebackers in the NFL.
Pollard and Jones did not deserve to be ranked on the list by any means. Pollard, now with the Tennessee Titans, wouldn't even make a list of the Top 25 safeties in the NFL, let alone a list of the Top 100 players in the league. Perhaps Jones' return skills led to him making the list, however he was ranked two spots ahead of Seattle Seahawks return man/wide receiver Percy Harvin, which makes Jones' ranking invalid to an extent. Harvin is the league's top return man and Jones doesn't even compare to Harvin as a receiver. Also, Jones isn't even the best receiver on his own team. That superlative goes to Torrey Smith.
Boldin and Pitta both deserve to make the list. Boldin's ranking seems justified given the fact that he didn't play nearly as well in the regular season as the postseason. As the 100th best player in the league, Pitta's ranking is justified in comparison to other players on the list. However, with Graham not on the list, Pitta's ranking holds slightly less value, as he doesn't compare to Graham as a tight end.
Overall, winning a Super Bowl certainly led to more praise for Ravens players on the list. Some players were justifiably placed, but a few had no business being anywhere close to their ranking. The list doesn't provide much validity, but it certainly can spark debate.
And to add to the problems regarding the list, Ravens offensive guard Marshal Yanda didn't even make the list.
So what do you say, Ravens fans, were the nine players placed correctly on the list?
Kyle Casey is a sports writer living in Baltimore, Md. He maintains his own football site, End Zone Report, and contributes to Russell Street Report, a Baltimore Ravens blog.
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Baltimore Ravens
- Jacoby Jones
- Anquan Boldin
- Bernard Pollard
- Haloti Ngata
- Dennis Pitta