BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 26: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium on September 26 2010 in Baltimore Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Browns 24-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
The Baltimore Ravens have, possibly, their most balanced team ever. Not just between offense and defense but overall balance of veteran leadership and young talent across the board.
The Ravens have five potential Hall Of Fame players currently on the roster. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are shoe ins at tins point. Then you have the next level of potential Hall Of Fame caliber players in Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata. Neither of which would make it if their careers ended today but will make some pretty strong cases for themselves if they continue to play at their current level.
Lastly we have running back Ray Rice who is far from being a Hall Of Fame type player but could put himself in the conversation with a few more years of dominant production. The road will be harder for Rice due to the fact he is a running back and the bar is set much higher for his position but he constantly is in the top three players in overall yardage in the NFL and if he continues at his current pace, could make a run for the Hall. Another possible is Matt Birk. I'm not sure how he stacks up with other Centers that have made the Hall but he has had quite an outstanding professional career. Birk is right between the first and second group in my opinion.
The Ravens also have good veteran leadership from guys like Vonta Leach, Bernard Polllard, Anquan Boldin and Jameel McClain. Right behind those three are the group of players that aren't quite leaders at this point but should be coming into their own over the next year or two. Players like Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, Paul Kruger, Arthur Jones, Marshal Yanda, Michael Oher, Joe Flacco and Lardarius Webb. These players by no means have reached their ceiling yet but we, as fans, don't know exactly what we may get out of them this season. In most cases, especially Webb, things look to be headed in a very positive direction. Some of these guys look to be the future of the team while other may just be role players for the time being.
Then you have the young guys. Mostly rookies or second year players that have shown a lot of promise thus far. In this group you have Torrey Smith, Jimmy Smith, Cary Williams, Pernell McPhee, Sergio Kindle, Courtney Upshaw and Terrence Cody. All of these players have the talent to become stars at the NFL level but sadly all will not. However it is great that the team has such talent at so many levels on their roster.
So, of all of these players who is it that you look forward to seeing most on game day. Who is your favorite Raven and why?