6. Mark Andrews
Mark Andrews is one of the best play-makers in the entire league. Outside of George Kittle and Travis Kelce, there isn’t a tight end you can rank in front of him. While he does have the occasional drop, no tight end is as good at getting open as Andrews. He finds windows in the defense better than most receivers and he’s got the size and speed that makes him the proverbial match-up nightmare.
Andrews had 65 receptions for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns in his second season. The keywords to that sentence were “in his second season.” It seems highly unlikely that we’ve even seen the best year of his career. He’s a player that is only going to get better and on a side note, players like that are why the Ravens have such a promising future. There is no perfect way to deal with Andrews if you’re scheming against the Ravens. He’s a big target that can make big plays down the field.
7. Earl Thomas
When you look at the free safety position in the NFL, Earl Thomas is as experienced and as consistent as it gets. When the secondary got off to such a shaky start in 2019, imagine how bad it would have been without Thomas. Thomas offers some veteran leadership and his football IQ is his most valuable asset. Thomas is a player you trust as the last line of defense. He’s a free safety with a lot of range and versatility. That versatility was shown in 2019. Thomas had never sacked a quarterback before he joined the Ravens. Don Martindale schemed up two sacks for him.
8. Sam Koch
Sam Koch only had to punt 40 times this past season which is hard to believe. Just over half of those punts pinned the opponent inside the 20 yard line. Koch is one of the top punters in football. There are a few who may have a more booming leg, however there aren’t many as steady as Koch. You can’t name five punters you’d want more than Koch and that’s the point here. He’s one of the best players at his position and that puts him on this list.
Pat Ricard absolutely belongs in the elite category. I know he’s a fullback and there aren’t a ton of players who you can compare him with. With how important Ricard was to the offense in 2019, and how good of a job he did, I don’t know how you leave him off this list. He’s one of the best players in the league at his position. Even if other teams don’t value his position the same way the Ravens do, he’s elite at what he does.
Honorable mentions: Marcus Peters and Orlando Brown Jr.
The problem with ranking elite talent is that you have to be stingy with your criterion. Marcus Peters is one of the best play-makers on the Ravens but it was hard to make the argument that he’s unquestionably a top five player at his position. He’s in the conversation. The thing that makes him elite is how he plays with the heads of quarterbacks. If you had to pick just one cornerback from the Ravens it would have to be Humphrey and that’s the reason Peters is an honorable mention.
When you talk about the offensive tackle position it is broken up into two categories, left and right tackle. At the end of the 2020 season, my guess is that we will be asking is Orlando Brown Jr. the best right tackle in football? I think he is absolutely a player who is near the top of the right tackle rankings. He was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2019. He’s working towards the elite category at right tackle and he’s doing it quickly.