This year there were so many players that stepped up for Baltimore in order to capture the AFC North and a first round bye, it is hard to pick one that stands out above the rest.
There are players like Marshal Yanda and Ben Grubbs that the team would be in real trouble with out. Yanda was the team's best lineman all season and we all saw what happened to the offense when Grubbs went out. Does that make them MVP candidates? If so I'd have to take Yanda over Grubbs considering he was healthy all season.
Fullback Vonta Leach restored the team to it's smash-mouth running style. Leach gave Baltimore its swagger back on the offensive side of the ball. He definitely had a huge impact this season but I can not say that he garners an MVP vote. It's just hard to be a teams most valuable player when you rarely see the ball and are only involved in a restricted number of plays.
Rookie Wide Receiver Torrey Smith should get some consideration because he completely changed how defenses play the Ravens. He has an impact on the game before he even steps on the field. Smith went from third on the depth chart to first this season and this team would have been in big trouble without him. He has really made a huge difference for the Ravens this year and the kid has a bright future here in Baltimore.
Joe Flacco plays the most important position on the field and Baltimore would most certainly miss him the most if he were to be injured. Flacco may be the closest to irreplaceable of all the Ravens players. His numbers are not gaudy and they won't get him into the Pro Bowl but Flacco is a huge part of what makes the Ravens the Ravens.
Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata are definitely on the list. Ngata may not get the attention of Suggs but he is constantly eating up two defenders and may be the best defensive lineman in the NFL. Suggs has the stats to make a case for defensive player of the year and he won a few games this year , almost, by himself. Suggs should find himself at the top of the list in this debate.
Lardarius Webb was the Ravens best player in the secondary this season. Webb should have made the Pro Bowl and solidified a young group of corners for Baltimore. That, plus his punt return skills makes him very valuable indeed.
Ray Lewis has to be in this conversation every season. Yes, his skills are on the decline. yes, the toe injury may have slowed him even more but Ray makes everyone else better and that makes him an MVP all on it's own.
Then there is Baltimore's sweetheart Ray Rice. The Ravens offense starts and ends with Rice. When he is on, the Ravens win. When they get a bit pass-happy and forget who got them here they lose. Rice has to be a favorite up there with Suggs.
So let's narrow this list down to seven people. Seven players that stood out above the rest on one of the most talented teams in football. Vote and tell us what you think!