The experts on the NFL have everything in their favor. They have familiarity, access, resources and direct contact with the players, coaches and front office personnel. That should ensure that they know so much more than the average fan, and yes, even the average or above-average blogger. Right? Not always, sez me!
In a recent story over at BaltimoreRavens.com, the word is that ESPN Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. believes that Baltimore Ravens second-year cornerback Jimmy Smith is poised for a breakout season that could culminate in a Pro Bowl berth for the team's first draft pick in 2011.
I disagree, and maintain that it might be tough for Smith to be both a Pro Bowl corner, while at the same time only being the second best corner on this Ravens team. The guy who should see an Pro Bowl invitation in his mailbox towards the end of the 2012 season is Lardarius Webb. No offense to Jimmy, who could very well be a regular invitee to football's all-star game, Webb should have been a Pro Bowl-er this past season and deserves to break through that door in 2012.
(More "disagreements" to debate with me after the 'Jump')
ESPN's AFC North blogger, Jamison Hensley, ranks the Ravens wide receiving tandem of Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith the 4th and 5th best receivers in the division. While I won't argue with his point of ranking Pittsburgh Steelers WR Mike Wallace above them, I still see Boldin as the most solid wideout in what he brings to the table: great hands, tough mofo unafraid to go over the middle where others avoid, and a guy who runs patterns as good as anyone and always knows exactly where the sideline is.
Hensley ranks the AFC North wide receivers ahead of the Ravens pair, in order, A.J. Green (Cincinnati Bengals), Wallace (Steelers) and Antonio Brown (Steelers). My order would be: Wallace, Green, Boldin, Smith, Brown.
Wallace had more receptions, yards and TD's than anyone of the others, so I cannot deny him that top slot and at the same time, cannot understand why Hensley didn't. The Bengals' Green was right behind him and had a great rookie season, but just not quite as good a Wallace's.
Although Antonio Brown had more catches and yards than either of the Ravens receivers, he had the least big catches, namely touchdowns. His two TD receptions are far behind Torrey's seven and there's just no way he had anywhere near the crucial catches that Boldin puled down over and over again last year. That puts him behind the two Ravens in my opinion.
Experts have all the resources to get the information that most of us can only dream about, but still that does not give them the exclusive right to opinions, but only their own opinions. However, their opinions are great fodder for us to debate and formulate our own to post for fans like you to debate as well.