Ranking Top 20 Ravens Players Of 2015
Twenty-one members of the Baltimore media joined forces to create this list. They were polled by Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, the points were tallied, and boom, you have the top 20 Ravens players of 2015.
As you examine the list, remember the votes are based on talent, not importance to the team. When I originally saw the rankings, I disagreed with many, including the top 3. I would have: 1) Joe Flacco 2) Jimmy Smith 3) Marshal Yanda because I think Flacco and Smith would be hardest to replace.
But that's not the criteria. It's talent, and it's hard to argue with Yanda being at the top of list when national analysts are saying he's the best offensive lineman in the entire NFL.
Soak up the rankings, and let us know how you would order it.
No. 20: Breshad Perriman!(/team/roster/breshad-perriman/d435480d-35dd-4903-964c-6b8d46808923/ "Breshad Perriman")(Highest ranking: No. 13, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
Hensley: "This is the right spot for Perriman because it's difficult to project the impact of any rookie."
No. 19: Dennis Pitta!(/team/roster/dennis-pitta/542104b6-987b-47ce-b86a-196df57761da/ "Dennis Pitta")(Highest ranking: No. 4, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
Hensley: "This is way too low for Pitta, although it's understandable why he is toward the bottom of the list [with another hip injury]."
No. 18: Sam Koch!(/team/roster/sam-koch/5db3abab-9670-4b0b-93b7-286dcac1e69c/ "Sam Koch")(Highest ranking: No. 3, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
Hensley: "How many other punters would rank among the top 20 players on their team? Probably not many."
No. 17: Eugene Monroe!(/team/roster/eugene-monroe/f76125f7-ee58-4554-9be2-0d12d87c57f6/ "Eugene Monroe")(Highest ranking: No. 10, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
Hensley: "He has the talent to be much higher on the list. His injuries, penalties and uneven play just didn't warrant it in this year's rankings."
No. 16: Courtney Upshaw!(/team/roster/courtney-upshaw/08b30e8b-a2a6-41d1-b3f9-f3fa2787c875/ "Courtney Upshaw")(Highest ranking: No. 8, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
Hensley: "A higher spot would be justified if he got to the quarterback more often."
No. 15: Timmy Jernigan!(/team/roster/timmy-jernigan/77b560e9-0f1f-48d4-bc3b-94055e3b3f94/ "Timmy Jernigan")(Highest ranking: No. 9, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
Hensley: "Jernigan is awfully talented, and he has the makings of being a steal if he avoids injuries and getting in trouble."
No. 14: Rick Wagner!(/team/roster/rick-wagner/fabf521e-379f-49e4-9c93-76215ab10964/ "Rick Wagner")(Highest ranking: No. 9, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
Hensley: "There's a chance that Wagner could become the best right tackle in Ravens history."
No. 13: Lardarius Webb!(/team/roster/lardarius-webb/198340ed-25e5-4117-8d71-5fc28be24b71/ "Lardarius Webb")(Highest ranking: No. 8, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
Hensley: "He probably should be in the bottom five of this ranking unless you believe Webb can rebound from a disappointing 2014 season."
No. 12: Brandon Williams!(/team/roster/brandon-williams/7a528eef-dd5c-4b37-84be-c3bdd8c841c9/ "Brandon Williams")(Highest ranking: No. 7, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
Hensley: "Williams has to prove he can excel this season when there isn't a high-profile run stopper [Haloti Ngata] next to him."
No. 11: Daryl Smith!(/team/roster/daryl-smith/a5e066b5-35e8-4509-815f-447f651fdbad/ "Daryl Smith")(Highest ranking: No. 8, Lowest ranking: No. 16)
Hensley: "Smith isn't a glamour player, and he likes it that way."
No. 10: Kelechi Osemele!(/team/roster/kelechi-osemele/f1570a76-6bbe-4935-aaeb-f8227de0cb25/ "Kelechi Osemele") *(Highest ranking: No. 5, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
*Hensley: "He is on the verge of being a Pro Bowl player."
No. 9: Justin Forsett!(/team/roster/justin-forsett/a191ec66-d469-4eb1-aa5e-bf239831bc3c/ "Justin Forsett")*(Highest ranking: No. 3, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
*Hensley: "In many ways, he saved Baltimore's  season. But there's a debate about whether Forsett was a product of Gary Kubiak's system and a strong offensive line."
No. 8: Justin Tucker!(/team/roster/justin-tucker/4eea8994-ee0d-4667-8bf3-772543d157a0/ "Justin Tucker") *(Highest ranking: No. 4, Lowest ranking: Not ranked)
*Hensley: "In a span of three seasons, Tucker has gone from being an undrafted rookie to the most accurate kicker in NFL history."
**No. 7: Steve Smith**(Highest ranking: No. 1, Lowest ranking: No. 17)
Hensley: "Smith [should be] a top-five player for the Ravens." * *
No. 6: Elvis Dumervil!(/team/roster/elvis-dumervil/d2c9cf97-88e1-4da5-88c9-8ad4cb7da17f/ "Elvis Dumervil")(Highest ranking: No. 4, Lowest ranking: No. 16)
Hensley: "He was the Ravens' best pass-rusher last season … but Dumervil isn't the Ravens' most well-rounded defender."
No. 5: Terrell Suggs!(/team/roster/terrell-suggs/ad26be43-1380-45f1-b047-a91e850d9761/ "Terrell Suggs") (Highest ranking: No. 1, Lowest ranking: No. 14)
Hensley: "He's still a top-five player because he makes an impact on every down."* *
No. 4: C.J. Mosley!(/team/roster/cj-mosley/9b3357fe-21bd-4fc4-9553-f7ed102e3204/ "C.J. Mosley")(Total points: 330, First-place votes: None)
Hensley: "This is a tad high for Mosley. I have him just outside the top five. Remember, Pro Football Focus actually graded Daryl Smith higher than Mosley last season. He is definitely a quickly ascending player who could end up being one of the Ravens' top three players in a couple of seasons."* *
**No. 3: Jimmy Smith**(Highest ranking: No. 2, Lowest ranking: No. 8)
Hensley: "This is exactly right for Smith. He continues to get better every year and should be in the Pro Bowl conversation in 2015."* *
**No. 2: Joe Flacco**(Highest ranking: No. 1, Lowest ranking: No. 6, First-place votes: 7)
Hensley: "Of the 21 voters, 15 placed him first or second. Some might be surprised that Flacco didn't finish No. 1 for a second straight year. But he isn't a Pro Bowl player. He can be wildly inconsistent in the regular season. Still, he raises his game when it counts the most."* *
**No 1: Marshal Yanda**(Highest ranking: No. 1, Lowest ranking: No. 6, First-place votes: 12)
Hensley: "There will be some scoffing about a guard being ranked No. 1 over a quarterback. But the rankings are based on talent, not importance to the team. Yanda was the most dominant player on the Ravens last season, and it wasn't even close. … He's the best Ravens lineman since Jonathan Ogden."
League Suspension Decisions Won't Help Ravens
The league announced suspension decisions regarding New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.
Both decisions help*the *division-rival Steelers, and thus, potentially hurt the Ravens.
Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized new evidence of Brady destroying the cell phone the league requested to investigate his connection to "Deflategate." As such, Brady's four-game suspension was upheld. That means the future Hall of Fame quarterback will not play against Pittsburgh in the season-opener unless Brady wins his appeal case in federal court or is at least awarded an injunction.
Meanwhile, the Steelers will get back their star running back sooner than originally expected.
Bell was suspended for three games (and fined an additional game check) in April for violating the NFL policy for substance abuse following an arrest for marijuana possession and DUI in August 2014.
Tuesday, Goodell reduced the suspension to two games following Bell's appeal. Now, he'll only miss the Patriots' Week 1 showdown and a Week 2 clash against the 49ers.
"The league's lighter punishment represents a tangible lift for a Steelers offense that centers its high-powered attack around Bell, arguably a top-three runner heading into September," wrote NFL.com Marc Sessler.
Ravens Try Out Three Quarterbacks
Three quarterbacks got to audition for a spot on the Ravens roster, but none have been signed, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.
Former Grambling quarterback D.J. Williams, the son of former Washington Redskins Super Bowl-winning quarterback Doug Williams, was one who had a tryout. Army quarterback Trent Steelman and former West Georgia quarterback Austin Trainor also got a chance.
Steelman tried out for the team two years ago after going undrafted and Trainor was evaluated as a wide receiver and special teams candidate.
"None of the players are being signed, though, and the Ravens are expected to stick with reserve quarterbacks Bryn Renner and Jerry Lovelocke (Edmondson) heading into training camp," wrote Wilson.
Simply giving the tryouts to quarterbacks makes one wonder if the Ravens are happy about the depth behind Flacco and primary backup Matt Schaub.
"In all likelihood, the third quarterback is going to be placed on the practice squad," Hensley wrote in a mailbag piece over the weekend. "But, if you're asking if there is one spot that the Ravens would want to add, it's at developmental quarterback. The problem is, there really isn't much available in the free-agent market."
Ray Lewis Winner Of 'Best Of Best' Bracket
The voting has been going on for weeks, and fans at CSNBaltimore.com have declared Ray Lewis the best Raven of all-time.
There are plenty of incredible Ravens in the franchise's history, but was there really any doubt that Lewis would be the champion? Heck, even Ed Reed, who faced Lewis in the championship round, said he would vote for Lewis.
Lewis also beat Marshal Yanda, Peter Boulware and Joe Flacco on his way to being voted the best.