ESPN has now released their post-draft power rankings. Baltimore is usually seated amongst the top ten, but due to their horrible injury sustained season they fall just inside the top 15. A very well rounded slot compared to last seasons record no doubt.
14. Baltimore Ravens
2015 record: 5-11
Post-free agency ranking: No. 14
In order to sustain their first losing season since 2007, the Ravens had to lose their starting quarterback, running back, No. 1 wide receiver and top pass-rusher to injury. Fair to assume they'll be back to slug it out in the AFC North with the Steelers and the Bengals and the ... the ... hmm. Guess it's just the Steelers and the Bengals.
First and foremost let us acknowledge the absolute jab against the Cleveland Browns. Thank you ESPN for slugging one their way. In their power rankings they are also 32nd and criticize the Robert Griffin III pick-up and they remind everybody once again, the Browns are in a re-build.
Fourteen is a great place for the Ravens. Baltimore needs to earn a top ten consideration, and putting a 5-11 team in the top ten is unfair. But glancing over the group we can argue against some of them.
Number one in the rankings sit AFC greatest opponent, the New England Patriots are sitting above all. Not saying Baltimore is better, but other teams should deserve the higher praise. ESPN's Dan Graziano brings up great points against the pick. Running game, pass rush, and Brady's battle against the 2nd Circuit Court is a bad off-season.
Carolina is second, and the Baltimore Ravens are not better than the Panthers until proven otherwise. The team was built from top to bottom with talent.
Skipping ahead, there are a couple that are worth a mention Ravens fans can discuss they are better than.
The Indianapolis Colts are ranked 12th, and the Ravens in my mind are a better squad. They lost Andrew Luck and squandered their season to an 8-8 mark. If the Ravens were in the AFC South with the same losses last season I believe Baltimore racks up the same win total. After the Ravens off-season and draft, Baltimore should be ahead of the Colts.
Oakland Raiders one slot above Baltimore, the Ravens can be a team ranked above Oakland. This team is truly setting themselves up for success, but can they produce is the bottom line. The Ravens are known to be a gritty, strong, and well-coached power. Oakland hasn't tasted a winning season since 2002. Ravens can bounce back with almost a certainty. The Raiders are still playing a Super Bowl winning Broncos squad, Kansas City Chiefs top to bottom squad, and a Phillip Rivers led Chargers. They have no walk in the park, regardless of their current team themselves. One of those teams has to be the weakest link in the division, can the Raiders prove it isn't them?