Mason and Gregg Make Decade's Most Underrated List
Although only ESPN Insiders were able to view it, all Ravens fans will likely appreciate that receiver Derrick Mason*topped ESPN Football Outsider's list of the 25 most underrated players of the current decade. Nose tackle Kelly Gregg* ranked no. 16.
Mason has been a consistent force in Baltimore, gaining over 1,000 yards in three of his four seasons with the Ravens. He was Joe Flacco's primary target in 2008, making 80 catches for 1,037 yards and five scores. He has also become a fan favorite in only four years with the team.
Gregg, meanwhile, has been an unsung hero in Baltimore for much longer. Previously undrafted in 2000, Gregg worked his way up to the starting lineup and has played a key role in the Ravens' defensive success. As the article notes, however, Gregg "had to stand in line behind…equally deserving players," like Casey Hampton, Vince Wilfork and Jamal Williams.
Mason and Gregg have been well-known and well-loved in Baltimore for years, and as many fans will attest, the extra attention is well-deserved.
Ravens Running Backs Past & Present Deemed Overrated
The article points out that in five seasons, McGahee has never ranked higher than eighth in rushing yards or 14th in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR). McGahee did earn his first Pro Bowl in 2007 with the Ravens and was part of the three-headed rushing attack in 2008 that ranked fourth in the league last year.
Fans will remember that Lewis, while in Baltimore, was one of the most productive players on offense in team history, running for over 2,000 yards in 2003 and breaking the single-game rushing record against his current team, the Cleveland Browns. That record has since been broken by Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Ngata Ranking High, But Should He Be Higher?
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com recently offered his rankings of the top defensive tackles in the league right now, with Baltimore's Halota Ngata taking the no. 7 spot.
Wrote Prisco: "He's the unsung hero of the Baltimore defense. He does the dirty work to help free the linebackers to make plays"
Ngata has been a mainstay of DT lists the past several seasons, and is poised to have a breakout year in 2009 and earn his first Pro Bowl nod. He has often ranked higher on these lists before, though. NFL.com's Bucky Brooks ranked him no. 3 in his recent list, but on Prisco's, he was beaten by Albert Haynesworth, Kevin Williams, Darnell Dockett, Kris Jenkins, Vince Wilfork and Shaun Rogers. Rod Woodson of NFL Network did not include Ngata in his top five rankings of DTs, either.
Ravens QB Corps Ranked Middle of the Pack
And in another offseason ranking, ComcastSports ranked all 32 teams' current quarterback corps, including backup and third-stringers. The Ravens corps of Joe Flacco, Troy Smith and John Beck was listed at no. 16.
"Who'd have thought Joe Flacco would rescue the Ravens last season? While he was more of a game manager than Atlanta's fellow rookie Matt Ryan (partially thanks to a dominating defense behind him), like Ryan and the Falcons Baltimore is surprisingly barren at backup quarterback. Nos. 2 and 3 on the depth chart, Smith and Beck have combined for six NFL starts (1-5 combined record as starter). If Flacco goes down, Baltimore's season is immediately in jeopardy."
Flacco is seen as a future star at the position by many, and currently has more playoff wins than several other more high-profile quarterbacks, such as Tony Romo, Jay Cutler and Drew Brees. Quarterback was a trouble spot for the Ravens before they acquired Flacco, however, and Beck and Smith remain unproven.
What Do You Think?
The offseason rankings continue, and many Ravens continue to rank high. Others though, have not been listed as high as perhaps they should be. BaltimoreRavens.com now asks, what do you think? Should Haloti Ngata be considered a top five DT? Is Willis McGahee really overrated? Who else on the Ravens roster is over or underrated: Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Todd Heap, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Jarrett Johnson, Terrell Suggs, etc,?, Send your thoughts, opinions and analysis.