AFC North Top 25: Sixth-ranked player

The AFC North blog is continuing its series on the top 25 players in the division with No. 6:


Ravens safety

Why Reed is ranked 6th: Some would rank Reed lower because of his age (he turns 34 in September), a rocky offseason and a below-his-standard 2011 season. I thought both Steelers safeties, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, had better seasons than Reed in 2011. The biggest factor for putting Reed here is his chances of having a bounce-back year. He is in a contract year, which usually brings out the best in players.

Reed will have something to prove, which is strange to say about an eight-time All-Pro. He finished with three interceptions last season, his fewest in a 16-game season, and he acknowledged that he missed tackles in four straight games at the end of the season because of a shoulder injury. But Reed has made it clear this offseason that he wants more money. He won't get it this year from the Ravens, but he could boost his price tag with a more typical Reed-like season.