Underappreciated AFC Players: Ravens' Offensive Lineman gets the nod

A rookie lineman? Underappreciated? Who would have thought!?

Tyler Linderbaum, Baltimore Ravens
Tyler Linderbaum, Baltimore Ravens / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Rookies around the NFL have started to report to training camp this week with all other veterans expected to join them next Monday. In the particular case of the Baltimore Ravens, rookies reported to camp on Tuesday, July 18.

That doesn't mean that we've already hit peak content-szn in the summer, though, so it makes sense to find a plethora of different writers penning different articles ranking players in all sorts of ways. Cody Benjamin of CBS, in one of his latest columns, highlighted one underappreciated player on every AFC team.

Touching on the Ravens, Benjamin chose center Tyler Linderbaum as the most underappreciated man plying his trade in Baltimore following a sublime rookie season.

"Everyone talks about Garrett Wilson and Brock Purdy when it comes to 2022 rookie stars, but Linderbaum seamlessly replaced Bradley Bozeman as a 17-game starter on Baltimore's busy front. While he's got room to grow as a pass blocker, his quickness fits the Ravens' run game like a glove, and he's vital to keeping Lamar Jackson upright with Ronnie Stanley in and out."

Cody Benjamin, CBS

As Benjamin (and any reasonable mind out there) sees it, Linderbaum is "vital to keeping Lamar Jackson upright" and that alone makes him one of the most under-the-radar and not-talked-about-enough players in the NFL entering the 2023 campaign.

That's absolutely right. For a rookie to get drafted and instantly become a weekly above-average type of performer is quite a tall task. Linderbaum, though, passed the test with flying colors.

According to Pro Football Focus, Linderbaum was the sixth-best center in the NFL last season only behind well-established veterans such as Jason Kelce and Creed Humphrey. That's looking at his overall grade in said site, but things were even better when Linderbaum performed in run-blocking plays, clocking in fourth with a gaudy grade assigned by PFF.

Obviously, and as Benjamin pointed out in his blurb reasoning his pick of the Ravens' 2022 rookie, a center is never going to catch most casual eyes enjoying football on a boring Sunday. That's why Linderbaum didn't really get as many flowers as he deserved.

All of that said, it looks like thanks to legitimate analysts such as Benjamin and all other folks paying attention to the things that really matter on the football field, the tide is turning and Linderbaum is finally starting to receive the plaudits he earned throughout his phenomenal rookie campaign.

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