Ravens 2014 player rankings: No. 11

ESPN.com polled 18 Baltimore media members for their top 20 players on the 2014 Baltimore Ravens roster. The countdown will run through the middle of July, just before the start of training camp. You can click here for an introduction on how the blog put together the rankings.

Let's continue the countdown ...


Position: Inside linebacker

Total points: 191. First-place votes: Two.

Highest ranking: No. 1. Lowest ranking: Not ranked.

What you need to know: The Ravens re-signed Daryl Smith to a four-year, $16.1 million deal in free agency after he proved to be one of the best defensive players on the team last season. Smith was the reason why no one was talking about how the Ravens missed Ray Lewis in the middle of their defense. It'll be interesting to see if Smith can sustain this level of production. He turned 32 earlier this year.

Where Daryl Smith should be ranked: While some may consider this too low for Smith, I would argue otherwise. He was No. 14 on my rankings. I have my doubts whether he can put up the same numbers as last season. Smith posted double-digit tackles in four of his first six games, and he was then held to under seven tackles in five of his last seven games. He may not be in the Ravens' long-term plans after they drafted C.J. Mosley in the first round.

File this away: In his first season with the Ravens, Daryl Smith was one of three players in the NFL who ranked in the top 20 in tackles, recorded at least five sacks and had double digits in passes defensed.

What the Ravens are saying about Daryl Smith: “He fills a need for us at a high level. Just look at his production last season, plus he gave us leadership and maturity. He’s tough, he’s consistent, he’s intelligent, and he brings his lunch pail to work every day.” -- general manager Ozzie Newsome

Here is the panel of voters: Morgan Adsit (WBFF-TV), Clifton Brown (Comcast SportsNet Baltimore), Jerry Coleman (105.7 The Fan), Bruce Cunnningham (WBFF-TV), Steve Davis (105.7 The Fan), John Eisenberg (Baltimore Ravens website), Pete Gilbert (WBAL-TV), David Ginsburg (Associated Press), Brent Harris (Comcast SportsNet Baltimore), Brett Hollander (WBAL Radio), Luke Jones (WNST Radio), Joe Platania (the Press Box), Gerry Sandusky (WBAL-TV), Mark Viviano (WJZ-TV), Aaron Wilson (Baltimore Sun), Matt Zenitz (Carroll County Times), Jeff Zrebiec (Baltimore Sun) and Jamison Hensley (ESPN.com).