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5 Under-The-Radar Players Boosting The Ravens


Terrell Suggs. Steve Smith Sr. Eric Weddle. Brandon Williams. C.J. Mosley. Mike Wallace. Marshal Yanda.

The Ravens have a number of players who have clearly stood out this year.

But Baltimore, and particularly its No. 2-ranked defense, is so good in part because a handful of other players that aren't heard about as much and have elevated their games. 

"I really think that the foundation of our football team is really strong," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Top to bottom, we're a really well-built football team, because of guys like that."

Here are five under-the-radar* *players who are making a big impact this season:

RT Rick Wagner
Wagner has been the Ravens' second-best offensive player, per Pro Football Focus (PFF), this season. The steady right tackle trails only guard Marshal Yanda. Wagner has allowed just three sacks and 15 hurries this season. Wagner is playing in the final year of his rookie contract this year.

Said Harbaugh: "Rick Wagner is playing the best football of his career in the last three weeks."

DE Lawrence Guy
The Ravens' top-ranked rush defense is largely credited to the three monsters in the middle – Williams, Timmy Jernigan and Michael Pierce – and linebackers Suggs and Mosley. Guy, however, has the defense's fifth-highest grade on PFF. That puts Guy one spot ahead of Jernigan. Guy has 18 tackles, one sack and one key fumble recovery to seal the Ravens' win over the Bengals last Sunday.

Said Suggs: "Lawrence Guy, Brent Urban, they are [good]. If you ask me, they have played the most consistent in our five-technique, and they get most of the action. Those are blue-collar guys, they understand their job is not pretty, they understand that they are probably not going to get a lot of interviews and their names in their paper, but we value them. They are a big part of this defense too."

LB Zachary Orr
Orr is eighth in the NFL in tackles (99), which gives him 48 more tackles than Mosley. In his first year as a starter, the undrafted third-year player also leads the Ravens in tackles for loss (six). He has one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Orr is all over the field, and personifies the Ravens' transition to a faster defense this season.

Said Orr: "I play around great players. I play behind the best defensive line and outside linebackers in the league and next to one of the best inside linebackers. Before the season started, Coach [Wink] Martindale told me I would have a lot of tackles if I did my job. I've just become a student of the game, tried to understand what teams are trying to do to us offensively. That lets you play a step faster."

FB Kyle JuszczykFullbacks often don't much attention, but Juszczyk should. He has the best grade of any fullback in the league on PFF (plus-4.5). He hasn't reached the end zone yet this year after scoring four touchdowns last season, but Juszczyk isn't far off his pace in receptions (26 this year) and yardage (188). His biggest improvement has come in blocking, where he received a minus-2.3 grade (run and pass blocking) from PFF last year, but is at plus-3.9 this season, which is the third-best mark in the NFL.

S Lardarius Webb
Webb has taken some heat in recent years for his play at cornerback, but he's had a smooth transition to safety, just as coaches said he would. Webb hasn't fallen victim to big plays this year, as a 28-yard gain in Week 2 was the longest play against him in coverage, per PFF. According to PFF, Webb has surrendered just one touchdown all year. He's also been a willing tackler with 41 stops and one sack.

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