Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews Plummet in NFL Top 100
There was no question Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews would make the NFL Top 100 Players of 2023 list, but their placement in the rankings is questionable to say the least.
Shockingly, Jackson came in at No. 72, while Andrews landed at No. 80. Both Ravens stars saw their ranking drop significantly from 2022. The NFL Top 100 is determined by votes from the players themselves.
It's the third year in a row Jackson has fallen in the rankings. He was No. 1 in 2020 following his unanimous MVP season before dropping to No. 24 in 2021 and No. 36 last year. Andrews debuted in the NFL Top 100 at No. 32 last year.
Understandably, Jackson's 2023 ranking was derided by pundits on social media.
Despite dropping 36 spots, Jackson was praised by NFL.com's Brenna White, who wrote: "The former MVP enters a big 2023 season now having been rightfully compensated like the game-changer he has proven to be."
Regarding Andrews, White wrote: "Steady and true, even when battling injuries in 2022, Andrews continues to be a top option on offense for the Ravens. … The five-year veteran stands as Lamar Jackson's most trusted option for good reason and is poised for another good season in Baltimore's revamped offense in 2023."
Are Ravens the AFC's Sleeping Giant?
"Good Morning Football's" Peter Schrager and Jason McCourty debated whether the Ravens are the sleeping giant in the AFC or if another team should be given that distinction.
"I'm gonna go with the Ravens," Schrager said. "The Ravens went to the playoffs last year. They almost beat the Bengals. … The Ravens had a great season and did that without Roquan Smith for a full season. They did that without Odell Beckham Jr. They did that without Lamar for most of the year. And I love the rookie Zay Flowers and what else they've brought. They also made a big change at offensive coordinator — Todd Monken comes in.
"We talk about the Chiefs, we talk about the Bengals, we talk about the Bills. Who's that fourth team this year? I think it could be the Ravens."
McCourty said the AFC's sleeping giant resides in the AFC North, but it's the Cleveland Browns. Part of his reasoning was that great things are expected of the Ravens, but there's not a lot of buzz surrounding the Browns.
"Now Deshaun Watson, another year of playing and going through some of that rust, he'll be there," McCourty said. "Nick Chubb, that offensive line is one of the best in the league. And then you add Za'Darius Smith to go alongside Myles Garrett, Dalvin Tomlinson up front, I think the Cleveland Browns can surprise a few people. Elijah Moore came over there to add to Amari Cooper. The Cleveland Browns are a sleeping giant that it might be like, 'My goodness, I didn't expect them to be where they are.'"
Ravens Are No. 5 in Sports Illustrated's Power Rankings
Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr isn't sleeping on the Ravens. He put them at No. 5 in his power rankings at the start of training camp.
"Too high? Perhaps," Orr wrote. "I'm not smitten by the pomp of the Odell Beckham Jr. signing as much as I'm excited for what someone like Todd Monken can bring to Lamar Jackson. I don't think Baltimore is going to look fundamentally different, but I do think they will be in fewer positions where they have to throw their hands up offensively because of how their scheme boxed them in.
"The Ravens are not an organization that makes a lot of bad decisions, and so if they're paying Lamar Jackson like a quarterback who may one day fulfill his wishes of throwing for 6,000 yards, then they believe he can, and will install a system to buoy that belief."
The only teams Orr ranked ahead of the Ravens were the four that appeared in last season's conference championship games: the Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles.
Meanwhile, Bleacher Report has the Ravens at No. 8 in its power rankings. Maurice Moton acknowledged that the Ravens look good on paper, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will translate to the field.
"While the Ravens should be a playoff team with Jackson healthy, they've undergone significant offensive changes that may result in a slow start to the season," Moton wrote. "The Ravens parted ways with Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman and hired Todd Monken. Baltimore also revamped its wide receiver group, adding Beckham, Flowers and Nelson Agholor. Though those additions look good on the depth chart, there's no guarantee that everything will click right away."
"Don't jump on the Ravens bandwagon yet—let the offense work through some wrinkles at training camp."
Two Current Ravens Are Among Franchise's Highest-Graded Defensive Players
Pro Football Focus looked at the Ravens' 10 highest-graded defensive players in the PFF era (since 2006). It should come as no surprise that the first two names in the rankings are Hall of Famers Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. There were two current players on the list.
Defensive tackle Michael Pierce, with a PFF grade of 90.2, was No. 4, wedged between Eric Weddle and Terrell Suggs.
"Pierce's second stint in Baltimore hasn't really got going yet, with his 2022 season lasting just 91 snaps, but he was a phenomenal run defender in the first four years of his career with the Ravens," PFF's Gordon McGuinness wrote. "An undrafted free agent out of Samford in 2016, he registered 104 tackles resulting in a defensive stop over that initial span."
At No. 7 was cornerback Marlon Humphrey (86.0 PFF grade).
"Humphrey has been in the NFL since 2017 and has just one season of grading out below 75.0 in coverage, and that was a season disrupted by injury," McGuinness wrote. "The Ravens have asked a lot of him in his time in Baltimore, including covering the slot when needed, and he has been able to do it all for the team."
Speaking of Humphrey, he was ranked as the eighth-best cornerback in the league by NFL.com analyst Brian Baldinger.
"The three-time Pro Bowler is a complete corner who is the only defensive back with at least 10 forced fumbles and five picks since 2020, per NFL Research," Baldinger wrote. "He impressively led the league with eight forced fumbles in the 2020 season. He's an excellent tackler and blitzer with the capability to match up with many No. 1 receivers. In a division that features the likes of Ja'Marr Chase and Amari Cooper, the Ravens will look to Humphrey to handle business again this fall."