GREEN BAY, Wis. – B.J. Raji's worth -- or lack of it -- was evident when the defensive tackle hit the free-agent market in March.
He returned to the Green Bay Packers on a one-year deal. Granted, it will pay him $4 million. But the fact he was unable to secure a long-term deal here or anywhere else showed just how far the former ninth overall pick in the NFL draft has fallen.
That also was reflected in ESPN.com's second annual #NFLRank project.
A year after he was ranked as the 45th-best defensive player in the league, Raji fell all the way to 81st in ESPN's rankings this year.
The best thing that NFL Stats & Information could come up with on Raji was this: "Raji has played more than 1,000 snaps more than the next highest Packers defensive lineman since he was drafted in 2009."
The Packers believe Raji will have a bounce-back season because of his return to nose tackle, where he lined up in 2009 and 2010, and by surrounding him with younger, athletic defensive ends in Mike Daniels and Datone Jones.
Raji is the second Packers' defensive player to make an appearance in the #NFLRank so far. On Monday, cornerback Sam Shields was revealed as the 95th-best defensive player. The Packers have yet to have an offensive player named from 81-100. Nos. 71-80 on both sides of the ball will be revealed on Wednesday.
Packers in the rankings so far:
95: CB Sam Shields
81: DT B.J. Raji