Scouts, Inc. has released their player rankings for pretty much every player in the NFL. I thought I would take a closer look at their ratings for the Ravens, and also give those of you who don’t subscribe to ESPN’s insider a chance to view them.
The highest ranking any player received was a 94 (out of a supposed 100).
Two players tied with these high scores, DeMarcus Ware and Tom Brady.
Meh, no arguments there, I suppose.
At a point lower, at 93, there were 10 players, including two Ravens.
Haloti Ngata – 93
They gave this scouting report on #92:
“Ngata is one of the best defensive players in the NFL and possibly the most important member of an excellent Ravens defense. He is a massive and incredibly strong. Ngata also has rare athletic ability, quickness and closing burst for such a huge force in the middle of the defensive line. He is extremely versatile and can shoot gaps while holding the point and absorbing double teams. He can also effectively line up in many spots along the defensive line. Ngata can be a force rushing the passer, but he could stand to develop a wider variety of moves. His effort also has been somewhat of an issue here and there, but that problem has progressively improved as he has matured. Ngata is an elite player.”
Pretty high praise for a guy that has yet to even make his first Pro Bowl appearance. Now -I’m not arguing, just pointing out the deficiencies of the Pro Bowl voters. I will argue with the “effort” knock, though. We heard a lot about this (cough, Mark Schlereth, cough) when Ngata was drafted out of the University of Oregon, but I sure can’t remember hearing one peep about Ngata taking plays off since he has been in the NFL. Can any of you?
To compare, the rankings for the top five defensive tackles in the NFL were:
1. Albert Haynesworth – 93
2. Haloti Ngata -93
3. Shaun Rogers – 91
4. Kevin Williams – 90
5. Casey Hampton – 87
The other Raven scoring 93 was, of course –
Ed Reed – 93
“Simply put, Reed is one of the best in the business. He has elite range and is one of the few backend defenders who opposing signal-callers truly fear. Reed is a game-changer from his deep center field position and allows the Ravens to be very aggressive with their schemes. Not only is he a supreme ball hawk with rare anticipation and ball skills, but he is also an extremely dangerous weapon with the ball in his hands and is an immediate threat to score. He is also a superb kick and punt blocker when used in that capacity. Finding negatives on Reed is a difficult thing to do, but in 2008 — while playing with a neck/shoulder injury — he did take care of his body more than usual and wasn’t as violent with his collisions.”
Everyone knows how great Mr. Reed is. Although they count his only “negative” as his less violent collisions, I have to commend them for remembering that Ed was, at one point, a huge hitter from the safety position (something the Troy Polamal-who? fanatics are quick to forget).
Speaking of Troy-Boy, he also scored a 93, adding yet another to the list of analysts who find it impossible to choose between the two.
Top five safeties:
1. Reed – 93
2. Polamalu – 93
3. Adrian Wilson – 90
4. Bob Sanders – 87
5. Kerry Rhodes – 80
Terrell Suggs – 86
T-Sizzle was the next Raven on the list, scoring an 86.
“Suggs has been a mainstay on the Ravens’ defense. He has been a solid pass-rusher in the base 3-4 scheme. He has excellent quickness and speed off the edge with enough burst to close to the quarterback. He understands leverage and how to get his opponent off balance as a pass-rusher, while using his strength and quickness to counter back inside. He uses his hands well to disengage as a run-defender and work the edge of blockers. He is a versatile player who can drop effectively in coverage and is best in underneath zone schemes. He isn’t extremely fast in pure man coverage and is rarely used in that way. Suggs is an instinctive player who reacts quickly as plays unfold, which enables him to be active to the pile. He is a tough hard-nosed player who wins with effort, intelligence and athleticism.”
We would add that, in addition to making him “active to the pile,” Suggs’ great instincts also lead to some other big plays, as he showed with his two interception-return touchdowns in 2008.
Suggs came in at #6 on the list of linebackers, behind Ware, James Harrison, Shawne Merriman, Patrick Willis, and Karlos Dansby.
Kelly Gregg – 84
A bit of a surprise (at least to those who don’t follow the Ravens and/or don’t know football), was seeing Kelly Gregg next on the list. Always under-appreciated by the fans and talking heads, Gregg gets plenty of recognition by opposing coaches and others who know the game (in this case, scouts).
“Gregg is built low to the ground and very powerful. He is an exceptional hands player who plays with excellent overall aggression. His motor never stops and his hustle can be infectious on his teammates. Gregg consistently wins one-on-one matchups and can handle a double-team while also making plays in the backfield. Although he offers little as a pass-rusher and rarely disrupts passing lanes or bats down passes, Gregg is the type of player who would make any defense better regardless of scheme.”
It will be a welcome sight to see #97 putting his hand in the dirt (or Field Turf, as the case may be) again in 2009, after missing all of 2008 with knee injuries.
Ben Grubbs – 84
Grubbs, the Ravens’ 2007 first round draft selection, came in as the #3 ranked guard, behind Steve Hutchinson and Leonard Davis.
“Grubbs is one of the best young guards in the league today and should only be getting better. He is both powerful and athletic. He can move big-bodied defensive tackles off the ball in one-on-one situations and can pull or combo block to the second level. He is not a liability in space and also can recover laterally when initially beaten off the snap. Grubbs has heavy hands and can stun his opponent, while also showing the ability to finish plays.”
Derrick Mason – 81
Again reminding us how grateful we are that Mason decided to “Favre” his retirement this year, he was easily the Ravens’ highest scorer at WR.
“Mason is the consummate pro and remains one of the most reliable wide receivers in the game today. Mason catches just about everything thrown to him and has superb natural hands. His route-running skills are even better with very fluid movement skills and a very good burst out of his break. However, Mason is not a big-play guy and doesn’t stretch the field. He is more agile and quick than fast, but also is a top-notch student of the game who takes his craft very seriously. His size is a bit of a problem and he isn’t a physical presence with the ball in his hands.”
Joe Flacco – 80
“Flacco burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2008, leading Baltimore to the AFC Championship Game. He showed the ability to digest what was given to him and obviously is quite intelligent. He has elite arm strength and can threaten the entire field. He has excellent size and the ability to scan the entire field clearly. Flacco could stand to add more bulk to better handle the rigors of playing the position at this level. Flacco is a surprising athlete who can make plays with his feet and throw well on the move. Flacco has a ton of upside and was very impressive in 2008, but he also had the benefit of having a grind-it-out rushing attack and an elite defense to help his cause.”
Joe Cool actually tied for the #7 best QB after only one season in the league. Also scoring 80 were Donovan McNabb and Kurt Warner.
I’m guessing QB is the position on this list that will trump up the most controversy. Along with tying with the two listed above, Flacco was also rated higher than Tony Romo (79), Matt Ryan (78), Phillip Rivers (77), Jay Cutler (75), Aaron Rodgers (74), and a host of others.
We love Joe Cool, of course, so we love seeing him get so much respect. However, this one is taken with a grain of salt, as they also had Matt Cassel (81) above everyone we just listed.
Would anyone really rather have Cassel on their team than Rivers or Cutler?
Interesting barstool debate. Thanks, Scouts, Inc.
Rounding out the Top 10 Ravens on the list were:
Ray Lewis – 80
“Lewis continues to be one of the most dominant run defenders in the league at the linebacker position. He is a powerfully built player with outstanding tackling power between the tackles. His ability to wrap up and tackle with jolting force is still evident in his 13th year. He has excellent instincts and vision to react quickly to the run and pass. He has outstanding football intelligence and is able to make all the checks and adjustments needed in the complex Ravens scheme. He uses his hands well to work through trash as well as having natural power to run through blockers. He is a crafty veteran who takes great angles in pursuit and maintains leverage on the ball-carrier. He has lost a step, but still has enough speed and quickness to be effective inside-out to the ball. He is a solid pass-defender primarily due to excellent anticipation and route recognition.”
Trevor Pryce – 80
“Pryce is a king-sized defensive end who can be a penetrating one-gap end or can hold the point in the run game an allow those around him to make plays. He is powerful with long arms and excellent hand usage. He keeps blockers well off his body and is quick to shed. Pryce is also a powerful tackler who can jolt ball carriers. As he ages, his leverage becomes more and more of a problem. Pryce shows more stiffness and his pads can get too high at times. Also, while a crafty pass-rusher, he doesn’t offer much from a speed off the edge.”
Matt Birk – 76
“Birk is a crafty veteran who understands angles and leverage as an interior blocker. He is an excellent technician who uses his hand well to maintain body position. He has good pop and power on contact and is effective with combination blocks. He is athletic enough to slam and chip to the second level and stay connected with his target. Matt is effective in space and keeps his pads over his feet well when down-field blocking. Birk can anchor in the middle agaisnt powerful bull-rushers and has the quickness and range to make blocks on the perimeter. He is an experienced player who could play other positions along the offensive line in a pinch.”
Birk actually scored a point lower than the man he replaced, Jason Brown. As much as we were sorry to see ol dancin’ JB go, it is pretty much universally agreed around B’More that the Ravens had a net gain at center this offseason. Apparently these guys have a different view.
Anyway, feel free to argue for/against any of these rankings in the comments. And let me know if there is any other specific player you are curious about, and I’ll do my best to find their score and report to fill you in.