ESPN’s Scouts, Inc. has released their annual player rankings (subscription required) for the 2011 NFL season, and this year the Baltimore Ravens boast 10 players in the Top 200. Last year, they had 11.
The Ravens had the second most players on the list out of AFC North teams. Pittsburgh had a whopping 14, while Cleveland had only three and the trainwreck that is the Bungles managed just a single player on the list (Andrew Whitworth).
Ed.Note – Matt Williamson, the Scouts, Inc. guy that wrote the article, is a Steelers fan. Fourteen players? Pfff.
The 10 Ravens on the list, along with their ranking (on a scale of 1-100) and overall ranking (out of 200 players) are as such:
- Haloti Ngata (92, 14)
- Ed Reed (91, 21)
- Terrell Suggs (89, 31)
- Ray Rice (85, 52)
- Ray Lewis (84, 67)
- Matt Birk (82, 94)
- Marhsal Yanda (82, 113)
- Joe Flacco (82, 115)
- Ben Grubbs (80, 170)
- Anquan Boldin (79, 191)
The Scouts give a more detailed take on each player as well.
Ngata has been a mainstay on the interior of the Ravens’ defense since entering the league in 2006. He is one of the largest and most powerful interior defensive linemen in the NFL.
He has excellent foot agility and quickness for his size. Ngata can push the pocket with strength to bull rush offensive linemen. He feels pad pressure well and uses his hands effectively to gain leverage and restrict running lanes. He was an impact pass-rusher in 2010. He is a versatile lineman who can align in more than one position in the Ravens’ 4-3 scheme.
Reed has rare instincts. 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, which allows the Ravens to be very aggressive with their schemes. He is a supreme ball hawk with rare anticipation and ball skills. He is also an extremely dangerous weapon with the ball in his hands and is an immediate threat to score.
Suggs is a great combination of size, strength and athleticism for the outside linebacker position. He 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. He reacts quickly as plays unfold, which enables him to be active to the pile.
Rice is a short, powerfully built player with excellent athleticism and instincts. Rice runs with a low center of gravity and has a powerful lower body.
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.
Lewis 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 Ravens’ complex scheme.
He 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.
Birk is a crafty veteran who understands angles and leverage as an interior blocker. He is an excellent technician who uses his hands well to maintain body position.
He is athletic enough to slam and chip to the second level and stay connected with his target. He is effective in space and keeps his pads over his feet well when blocking downfield. He can anchor in the middle against powerful bull-rushers and has the quickness and range to make blocks on the perimeter.
Yanda has been a solid starter for the Ravens’ offense since entering the league in 2007. He has had some durability concerns in the past, but was able to stay on the field the entire 2010 season.
He continues to improve his technique and has developed into a consistent performer as an interior lineman. Yanda is a versatile lineman who can play right tackle or guard.
He doesn’t have the ideal height or athletic ability for tackle and plays with too narrow of a base to be a pile-moving guard. But Yanda is fundamentally sound for such a young player and has an aggressive edge to his game.
He looks to finish and his strength has improved to help him stay connected. Marshal Yanda has quietly become a reliable performer along the Ravens’ offensive line.
Flacco has outstanding arm strength and can power the football into small windows. He has developed good touch on deep throws as well as timing and anticipation in the short and intermediate phase of the passing game.
He isn’t much of a run threat but can avoid and be effective outside the pocket. He shows poise under pressure as well as great toughness to stand in the pocket to let patterns develop.
Grubbs has excellent foot agility and quickness as well as deceptive speed. 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 against powerful bull rushers, using good body positioning and effective hand use.
He is not a liability in space and can recover laterally when initially beaten off the snap.
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.