Disclaimer: I didn’t vote in this poll. 18 members of the Baltimore media ranked their top 20 players on the Ravens for a running ESPN piece and *spoiler alert* Joe Flacco ranks #1. Jamison Hensley, who covers the Ravens for ESPN, did not have Flacco in his personal top spot, instead ranking him fourth behind Terrell Suggs, Marshal Yanda, and Haloti Ngata.
I admit that I disagree with much of the Flacco bashing that takes place these days, but ranking him as the best player on the team is a bit ludicrous. Let’s think about this in terms of where the players are in terms of their individual position, which is how these rankings should work.
Flacco is not currently a top tier quarterback, and I think that 99% of NFL fans would agree. He is certainly better than most, but he by no means elite. The elite quarterbacks in the NFL include the likes of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rogers. You can make the case that guys like Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, and Phillip Rivers are ahead of Flacco as well, but that is all highly subjective and debatable.
Haloti Ngata, however, is still an elite player at his position. He is a physical speciman that is incredibly explosive for his size and is dominant in the run game. Yanda is easily one of the best guards in the NFL when healthy, and still finished number two in the rankings despite missing a good bit of time due to injury lately. Terrell Suggs is similarly one of the best outside linebackers in the game and is only a couple of years removed from a defensive player of the year birth.
Granted, Flacco is perhaps the most important player on the team. Losing him would mean starting Tyrod Taylor or Keith Wenning, which would most likely cause the Raven’s season to immediately tank. But this isn’t a “most important player” ranking, it’s a “top 20 players on the team” ranking.
I would say that injuries and a down second half doomed Yanda, Ngata, and Suggs in these rankings but Flacco didn’t have the best season either. More likely, the results of this poll are indicative of how valuable quarterbacks are in the modern day NFL. And that’s a reality we can all agree on.