The Baltimore Ravens are a team that is truly "star studded". With many a Pro Bowler on both sides of the ball it is hard to figure how they are able to keep so many high quality players in the salary cap era. This has mostly been done by exceptional drafting and keeping an eye on current NFL players that could come cheap and excel in the Ravens schemes. Although it is the big stars that keeps this team at the top of the AFC year in and year out, there are a lot of role players that may not get the spot light as often but help keep this team competitive all the same.
For a long time there was Kelly Gregg and Jarret Johnson that were considered the teams most underrated player but now both are gone and the team has a lot of question marks surrounding key positions in 2012. Before last season I would have told you that corner Lardarius Webb may be one of the most unheralded Ravens but he certainly blew that away with his 2011 performance.
After the jump I will list my top three contestants for the Ravens most underrated player. Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section below.
SS Bernard Pollard:
Pollard gets no where near the spotlight of his counterpart at safety Ed Reed, but he is almost just as important to the Ravens number four ranked pass defense. Pollard is the enforcer of the secondary, always ready to lay the wood on tight ends or receivers that dare come over the middle. Not only did he have an outstanding year in pass defense for the Ravens but he excelled in stopping the run and creating pressure on the quarterback as well.
In Houston Pollard was considered expendable because he did not cover the pass well. A theory he has proven wrong here in Baltimore thus far. this being part of the reason I consider him underrated. Every team should have a guy like Pollard, but they don't. We do and that's all that matters.
ILB Jameel McClain:
McClain was in a dog fight with ILB Danelle Ellerbe for the last few season vying for the coveted spot along side future Hall Of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis. Although many thought that Ellerbe was the guy for the job it was Jameel that eventually won out on the position. He is above average in just about every categorie minus pass coverage maybe but I can't say that he was bad in that area at all. He plays very well against the run and is above average as a pass rusher. Which is where I think he stood out over Ellerbe.
RT Michael Oher:
I know, I know. How can "Mr. Hollywood" Michael Oher be underrated? I think it is the fact that most fans see him as overrated that makes him so. Because of his book/movie Oher is always high up in the Pro Bowl voting but always gets the shaft with the player vote. In the midst of all of this Oher has become a very good right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. He did not fare so well when asked to man the blind side in the beginning of his career but now that he is on the right side and has managed to cut down on his penalties he could be one of the better tackles in the league at his position.
Oher has always been a beast as a run blocker but now is starting to excel in his pass blocking as well. Because of his great size and tremendous athletic ability the Ravens traded up in the first round to snag Oher. Since then many have labeled him a rare miss by general manager Ozzie Newsome because he did not turn out to be the elite left tackle the team had hoped but if he can be an above average right tackle it would be hard to say he was a "miss" for long. especially considering all of the first round picks that never even pan out at the NFL level.