AFC North Top 25: 15th-ranked player

The AFC North blog is continuing its series on the top 25 players in the division with No. 15:


Ravens linebacker

SuggsSuggsWhy Suggs is ranked 15th: Remember these rankings are a projection for the 2012 season. If Suggs didn't tear his Achilles tendon three months ago, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year would be in the top three. But his injury has to weigh heavily, especially since he will miss the first half of the season at the very least. So, put an asterisk or question mark next to Suggs. This was the hardest ranking because no one knows when Suggs will return or how effective he'll be when he comes back. Some would argue that Suggs should be higher based on reputation. Others might say he shouldn't even be on the list this year.

My best guess is the Ravens will try to get Suggs back on the field for December so he can help them with a playoff push. I expect Baltimore to limit Suggs to a pass rush specialist role, which will keep from wearing him down. The Ravens will miss him in stopping the run (Suggs is a very underrated run defender), but they should get a boost from Suggs' ability to get to quarterbacks. His 25 sacks over the past two seasons is the fifth-most in the NFL in that span. You can expect Suggs much higher in the 2013 AFC North player rankings.