ESPN’s Scouts, Inc. has released their annual player rankings (subscription required) for the 2010 NFL season, and this year the Baltimore Ravens boast 11 players in the Top 200. Not bad considering that, statistically, each team could expect about 6 players on the list, all things equal. Of course, we know that all things (ahem, Detroit Lions) are not equal in the NFL.
Here are the 11 Ravens on the list, along with their ranking (on a scale of 1-100) and overall ranking listed in parenthesis.
- Ed Reed (91, 14T)
- Haloti Ngata (89, 22T)
- Terrell Suggs (85, 51T)
- Jared Gaither (84, 70T)
- Kelly Gregg (83, 84T)
- Ray Rice (83, 84T)
- Ben Grubbs (82, 99T)
- Derrick Mason (82, 99T)
- Anquan Boldin (81, 112T)
- Joe Flacco (81, 112T)
- Ray Lewis (81, 112T)
In the AFC North, the Steelers tie the Ravens with 11 players. Interestingly, last year’s division champions, the Cincinnati Bengals, have only 8 players on the list. The Cleveland Browns have just 4 players in the Top 200, but boast the highest ranked player in the AFC North – tackle Joe Thomas at 93.
The Scouts give a more detailed take on each player as well.
Reed was banged up some in 2009 and missed four regular-season games. Reed has rare instincts that enable him to be around the ball often. He has elite range and is one of the few backend defenders whom quarterbacks truly fear. Reed is a game-changer from his deep center-field position and allows the Ravens to be very aggressive with their schemes. Not only is he a supreme ball hawk with rare anticipation and ball skills, he is an extremely dangerous weapon with the ball in his hands and is an immediate threat to score. He is also a superb kick- and punt-blocker when used in that capacity. Reed has been a mainstay in the Ravens’ secondary and there is a noticeable drop-off when he is not in the lineup.
Ngata was banged up some in 2009, which hindered his progress. He is a massive, incredibly strong interior defender. Ngata also has rare athletic ability, quickness and closing burst for such a huge force in the middle of the defensive line. He is extremely versatile and can shoot gaps while holding the point and absorbing double teams. He can also effectively line up in many spots along the defensive line. Ngata isn’t a force in rushing the passer, and must expand his pass-rush package. Ngata can be an elite player with more consistent play.
Suggs was banged up some in 2009 (Editors Note: Noticing a pattern here?! Wow.)and missed some time. He has been one of Baltimore’s more consistent defenders over his seven seasons in the league. Suggs has excellent quickness and speed off the edge with enough burst to close in on the quarterback. He understands leverage and how to get his opponent off-balance as a pass-rusher. He uses his hands well to disengage as a run defender and work the edge of blockers. He is a versatile player who can effectively drop into coverage and is best in underneath zone schemes. He isn’t extremely fast in pure man coverage and is rarely used in that way. Suggs is an instinctive player who reacts quickly as plays unfold, which enables him to be active to the pile. He is a tough, hard-nosed player who wins with effort, intelligence and athleticism.
Gaither was banged up during the 2009 season (Ed: Of course) but continued to progress on the left side of the line. He is a young left tackle who has tremendous size, particularly with his extreme height and overall length, to man the blind side. However, there are times when his high center of gravity works against him. Gaither remains a work in progress as a pass-blocker but is a punishing finisher in Baltimore’s power-running game. His hand placement and understanding of what it takes to be a successful left tackle has improved over the past two seasons. He is best when he engages defenders early in the play as quick counter moves still give him problems. His length and height makes it tough for him to maintain great pad level at times and more consistency in this area will improve his overall play. Gaither is a player who has a great upside and all the tools to continue to develop as a left tackle.
With another productive season in 2009, Gregg continued to be a force in the middle of the Ravens’ defense. Gregg is an 11-year veteran who appears to have not lost quickness or power. He is built low to the ground and very powerful. He is an exceptional hands player who competes with excellent overall aggression. His motor never stops and his hustle can be infectious. Gregg consistently wins one-on-one matchups and can handle a double team while also making plays in the backfield. Although he offers little as a pass-rusher and rarely disrupts passing lanes or bats down passes, Gregg is the type of player who would make any defense better regardless of the scheme.
Rice was the engine that made the Ravens’ offense run in 2009. He is a short, well-built back with deceptive strength and athleticism. Rice runs with a low center of gravity and has a powerful lower body. He has slightly above-average speed, but he can threaten the corner and is capable of breaking longer runs. Rice also shows very good balance and good hands as a receiver out of the backfield. He has excellent instincts with the ball in his hands and, despite not having elite speed, he can pick up yards in chunks. Rice has been a pleasant surprise for the Ravens’ staff and should continue to be productive in 2010.
Grubbs has been a mainstay on the Ravens’ offensive line since he entered the league in 2007. He is one of the best young guards in the league and has shown marked improvement since his rookie season. He is powerful and athletic. He can move big-bodied defensive tackles off the ball in one-on-one situations and can pull or combo block to the second level. Grubbs can anchor versus powerful bull rushers, using good body positioning as well as effective hand use. He is not a liability in space and also can recover laterally when initially beaten off the snap. Grubbs has heavy hands and can stun his opponent. He has a good ability to finish plays.
Mason had arguable his best season as a pro in 2009. He is the consummate pro and remains one of the most reliable wide receivers in the game today. Mason catches just about everything thrown to him and has superb natural hands. His route-running skills are even better with very fluid movement skills and a good burst out of his breaks. However, Mason is not a big-play guy and doesn’t stretch the field. He is more agile and quick than fast, but also is a top-notch student of the game who takes his craft very seriously. His size is a bit of a problem and he isn’t a physical presence with the ball in his hands. Mason is more crafty than athletic but still has enough talent to be productive as a No. 2 receiver in the Ravens’ offense.
Boldin was an excellent offseason acquisition for the Ravens. He is a great combination of size, hands and toughness. Boldin is a very strong receiver who is able to use his body to get separation coming out of his stems. He does an outstanding job of making plays in the short-to-intermediate passing game because of his good acceleration into routes, toughness in traffic and ability to excel after the catch. He is a very good route-runner who can line up in multiple positions and cause matchup problems for defenses. Boldin should give the Ravens another dimension in the passing game but he isn’t an explosive deep threat to stretch the field.
Flacco made marked improvements in his second year in the league. He has elite arm strength and can threaten the entire field. He has excellent size and the ability to clearly scan the entire field. Flacco could add more bulk to better handle the rigors of playing the position at this level. He is a surprising athlete who can make plays with his feet and throw well on the move. His vision and ability to read coverages have improved, which makes him a more efficient passer. Flacco has a ton of upside and should continue to improve in 2010 with the coaching staff giving him an expanded playbook. Flacco has the benefit of a stingy defense and an effective ground game. Both will only aid his progress.
Lewis, entering his 15th year, is coming off another extremely productive season. He has diminishing skills, but his experience, toughness and instincts enable him to be a force in the middle of the Ravens’ defense. He is a powerfully built player with outstanding tackling power between the tackles. His ability to wrap up and tackle with jolting force is still evident. He has excellent instincts and vision to react quickly to the run and pass. He has outstanding football intelligence and is able to make all the checks and adjustments needed in the complex Ravens scheme. He uses his hands to work through trash and has natural power to run through blockers. Lewis is a crafty veteran who takes great angles in pursuit and maintains leverage on the ball carrier. He is a solid pass defender primarily because of excellent anticipation and route recognition. Lewis has been remarkably durable over his career, but he clearly is on the backside of his career.
Scouts, Inc. rounds out the Ravens’ roster as follows:
- Matt Birk 76
- Le’Ron McClain 74
- Michael Oher 74
- Willis McGahee 72
- Todd Heap 71
- Fabian Washington 69
- Marc Bulger 69
- Lardarius Webb 69
- Jarrett Johnson 69
- Dominique Foxworth 67
- Mark Clayton 67
- Trevor Pryce 67
- Marshal Yanda 66
- Shayne Graham 65
- Troy Smith 65