Debating the Ravens 'average' roster

Our friends at Pro Football Focus ranked every NFL roster, and the Baltimore Ravens came in at a very mediocre No. 16. This assessment is a little off, and some of the Ravens players were underrated.

This is what PFF wrote about the Ravens:

It's hard to believe just how recently the Ravens won a Super Bowl. Joe Flacco typifies the average player with which the Ravens roster is loaded at the moment on both sides of the ball.

It's an Insider post,Insider so you'll need a subscription to view the entire article. Here's my reaction to how PFF graded the Ravens' top 24 players.


QB: Joe Flacco. PFF: Average starter. Flacco struggled without his top two receivers from the previous season and a terrible offensive line. By adding Steve Smith and improving the line, the Ravens have given him a better chance to succeed. Flacco should be rated as a good starter.

RB: Ray Rice. PFF: Average starter. No argument here. He averaged a career-low 3.1 yards per carry and lacked explosion in the open field. Given the wear and tear on Rice, you have to wonder whether he can bounce back.

TE: Owen Daniels. PFF: Average starter. The biggest question is whether he can stay healthy. When he's played 15 or more games, he has caught at least 54 passes. So, there is a chance Daniels could become a good starter.

TE: Dennis Pitta. PFF: Good starter. If Pitta plays at the level he displayed in the Super Bowl run, he can be a high-quality starter. He has looked fully recovered from last year's hip injury.

WR: Torrey Smith. PFF: Good starter. There's just too much inconsistency in Torrey Smith's game to warrant a higher rating. The addition of Steve Smith could force teams to stop bracketing Torrey Smith.

WR: Steve Smith. PFF: Good starter. It's difficult to grade Steve Smith any higher because he just turned 35. It wouldn't surprise me if he led the Ravens in receptions this year.

WR: Marlon Brown. PFF: Average starter. Some might argue that Brown is underrated because of his upside, but this is an accurate assessment. Brown's biggest impact will come in the red zone. He probably won't match last year's reception total (49) because of the addition of Steve Smith and Owen Daniels as well as the return of Pitta.

LT: Eugene Monroe. PFF: Good starter. This is a fair grade. Monroe is clearly an improvement over Bryant McKinnie, who would be an average starter at best. But he's not on the same level as a Joe Staley or Ryan Clady, two high-quality starters.

LG: Kelechi Osemele. PFF: Average starter. It's hard to figure out why Osemele got an average mark here. He wasn't playing at a high level last year because of a back injury. It would be a surprise if Osemele didn't finish the year as a good starter.

C: Jeremy Zuttah. PFF: Average starter. This is a spot-on grade, although it's an improvement for the Ravens. Gino Gradkowski, last year's starter, would've been graded as a poor starter.

RG: Marshal Yanda. PFF: High-quality starter. Here is another starter who is underrated. Yanda was considered one of the top guards in the league in 2012. Offseason shoulder surgery threw off his 2013 season, but he's at full strength now.

RT: Rick Wagner. PFF: Not enough information. The Ravens' hope is Wagner grades out as average in his first year as a starter.


LE: DeAngelo Tyson. PFF: Average starter. There's a good chance that Brandon Williams will start here. Both would be average starters.

NT: Haloti Ngata. PFF: Good starter. Many would've rated Ngata as a "high quality starter" based on reputation. The reality is he's not among the best in the game, and he hasn't been for a few seasons.

RE: Chris Canty. PFF: Average starter. The Ravens hoped Canty would've been a "good starter," but he was a disappointment in his first season with the team.

LOLB: Elvis Dumervil. PFF: High-quality starter. This is the one instance where a Ravens player is overrated. Dumervil is a high-quality pass-rusher but not starter. He failed to record a tackle in three games that he played.

LILB: C.J. Mosley. PFF: Rookie. The Ravens had him rated among the top 10 players in the draft. The expectation is he'll be a "high quality" starter, if not elite, at some point in his career.

RILB: Daryl Smith. PFF: Average starter. Daryl Smith should be rated higher. He was all over the field for the No. 12 defense in the league. He finished as the team's leading tackler while recording five sacks and three interceptions.

ROLB: Terrell Suggs. PFF: Good starter. I can see why Suggs would be rated as a good starter. He was great in the first half of last season and below average in the second half. Suggs could have one more dominant season left in him.

LCB: Chykie Brown. PFF: Below-average starter. The No. 3 cornerback spot is the biggest concern on defense, and this grade explains why.

RCB: Jimmy Smith. PFF: Average starter. Not sure why Jimmy Smith would be listed as an average starter. He held his own against some of the best receivers in the NFL last season. Jimmy Smith should be considered a good starter, at the very least.

SCB: Lardarius Webb. PFF: High-quality starter. You could make the argument that Jimmy Smith played better than Webb last season. Webb experienced an up-and-down year in coming back from knee surgery. He did tie for the NFL lead with 22 passes broken up.

SS: Matt Elam. PFF: Average starter. Elam was definitely average last season as a rookie. But he's has been drawing rave reviews in switching to strong safety and becoming a more vocal leader.

FS: Terrence Brooks. PFF: Rookie. Brooks is looking to beat out Darian Stewart for a starting job. There could be a learning curve for Brooks, but he brings tremendous speed to the defense.