We here at BaltimoreRavens.com got debating the NFL Network's Top 100 All-Time list and the current ranking of Top 100 of 2011.
So Mike Duffy and Ryan Mink decided they would take on the arduous task of ranking the all-time Ravens. With the franchise only being around since 1996, we decided it would be best to go with 50 instead of 100.
After much debate, Duffy and Mink came to a consensus list. We gave you numbers 21-30 last week and will continue to present five players at a time over the next two weeks.
The criterion for ranking the players is their contribution to the Baltimore Ravens, not their career accomplishments. Thus, for example, while Deion Sanders is one of the greatest cornerbacks to ever play the game, his two twilight years in Baltimore landed him at No. 47 on our list.
Of course, there will be widely different opinions on the order of the list, and your take is appreciated and encouraged. We loved your comments on the last edition.
Our hope is to spark some debate and relive some great Ravens memories in the process. Use the all-time roster to help make your choices.
Without further ado, the fourth edition of the Ravens All-Time Top 50:
20. LB Bart Scott, 2002-08The Ravens' resident motor mouth for years, Scott rose up the ranks from a little-known undrafted free agent to a Pro Bowl performer. Scott was key for the Ravens in 2005, stepping into the starting lineup when Ray Lewis tore his hamstring midway through the season. He then maintained that high level of play, as Scott averaged 92.5 tackles per year from 2005-08. It was not a surprise that Rex Ryan was knocking on Bart's door at midnight on the eve of free agency to lure him to the New York Jets in 2008. It was, however, a disappointment to the local media who thrived on Scott's golden quotes.
- QB Joe Flacco, 2008-2010
You can't argue with success – especially at the game's most important position – and Flacco has had more of it in his young career than almost every other quarterback in NFL history. He's just the third since 1970 to reach the playoffs in his first three NFL seasons and already has five postseason wins. Coming out of Delaware, Flacco has quickly grown into being one of the game's top signal callers and holds the Ravens' franchise records for passing yards, touchdowns and completions.
18. WR Jermaine Lewis, 1996-2001Some might think this is too high for a specialist, but Lewis was a true game changer. Owning Ravens records in career punt return yards (2,730), career average yards per return (11.8) and career touchdowns (6), the Maryland native was a weapon every time he touched the football. Lewis also topped 600 receiving yards twice for the purple and black. And, who could forget Lewis'84-yard kickoff return to the end zone in Super Bowl XXXV that put the game out of reach?
17. WR Derrick Mason, 2005-2010
Mason has been a rock-solid performer in Baltimore who often doesn't get the credit he deserves. He's the Ravens' career leader in receptions (471) and receiving yards (5,777) and the only player in NFL history to produce at least 5,000 career return yards and 11,000 receiving yards. Mason has long been a locker room leader of the offense and is a true gamer, evidenced by when he played with one arm through the 2008 playoffs. Few receivers run crisper routes than Mason.
16. LB Adalius Thomas, 2000-06Ryan got the most out of "A.D." during his stop in Baltimore, putting the athletic 6-foot-3, 270-pounder in various situations all over the field. Thomas' best stint came over an amazing run from 2004-06, where he totaled 237 tackles, 28 sacks and four interceptions, fully realizing what it means to be a "hybrid" player teams covet so much these days. Thomas was a locker room favorite and active in the Baltimore community.
15. DT Tony Siragusa, 1997-2001
"Goose" embodied the personality of the Super Bowl Ravens, giving the team much of its swagger. A nasty, confident player, he teamed up with Sam Adams to form a brick wall for opponents' run games and was literally a huge part of perhaps the greatest defense ever. The best was seeing Siragusa do the trademark Goose flap. And former Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon surely hasn't forgotten about the belly-flop in the 2001 AFC Championship, which knocked him out of the game.
14. DT Sam Adams, 2000-01At 6-foot-3, 350 pounds, Adams was a load up front to team with "Goose" during the Ravens' Super Bowl run. With Adams taking up two and three blockers at a time, guys like Ray Lewis cleaned up the tackles and Rob Burnett and Peter Boulware had easier times getting to opposing quarterbacks. Adams could do it himself, as well. He was strong, yes, but Adams had a very quick first step and the explosiveness to get into the backfield.
13. TE Todd Heap, 2001-2010Heap has been an integral gear in the Ravens' offense for nearly a decade and is the franchise's career-leader in receiving touchdowns (41) and second in receptions and receiving yards. The 6-foot-5, two-time Pro Bowler (2002, 2003) was the NFL's prototype at tight end early in his career and was Baltimore's go-to receiving option until Mason came to town. Heap is still a sure-handed first-down machine, who, if not for injuries and a body-sacrificing style of play, would have better career stats. Heap's blocking is also underappreciated.
12. TE Shannon Sharpe, 2000-01The current CBS analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer was integral to the Ravens' passing game when he was in Baltimore – and some would say Sharpe carried most of the receiving load himself. On an NFL-wide list, Sharpe would likely be ranked higher, but only two years of service in Baltimore place him at No. 12 in our list. Sharpe gave the Ravens 150 catches for 1,621 yards and seven touchdowns during his two-season tenure, with perhaps the biggest play coming on a 96-yard catch-and-run down the sideline to defeat the Oakland Raiders in the 2000 AFC Championship.
11. S Rod Woodson, 1998-2001
The Hall of Fame safety spent most of his career in Pittsburgh, but won his only Super Bowl in Baltimore. Woodson was the secondary's leader during the team's championship season, providing respected guidance to youngsters such as Chris McAlister and Duane Starks. He notched 20 interceptions in just four years in Baltimore, including an NFL-leading seven picks in 1999. Woodson returned five interceptions for touchdowns as a Raven before giving way to a player of a similar mold – Ed Reed.