Brace yourselves, Ravens Nation.
The way the NFL Network Top 100 List is shaping up, the Ravens may only have one player who makes it--Marshal Yanda. And even the top guard's presence is questionable. Not from a deserving standpoint, from a popularity standpoint.
The voting process for the NFL Top 100 list is for any active player--all of them are given the opportunity to vote--to list and rank their top 20 players in the league. There is a numerical value assigned to each spot, and then the list is compiled from there.
Here are the revealed players thus far:
One would think that Ravens Joe Flacco and Steve Smith, Sr. are shoo-ins, but the variable that changes things is injury. Players seem to take colleagues out of the equation if they are hurt. Or, maybe it's simply a result of 'out of sight, out of mind.' Or both. However it works, injury does change things. For instance, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis franchise is ranked 92nd, Kirk Cousins of the Redskins is 85th. Surely, few NFL players actually think a QB with one season of starting experience and zero playoff wins is better than one with multiple starting seasons, QB controversy-less, a few playoff victories, conference championship experience, and the first overall NFL draft pick. But Luck's injury hurt his status. Players seem honed in on the particular season, and are not voting from a career accomplishment standpoint. (Is this right? The topic is the 100 BEST PLAYERS, not the 100 Best 2016 Seasons.)
With this in mind, the doubts loom large for Raven presence on this list. Steve Smith Sr. was 57th on the list of 2015. Will the 37 year-old, who sat out due to injury and even announced his own retirement, have been on the minds of fellow players as they voted? Will Flacco, whose absence was sorely felt, and whose season accomplishments were overshadowed by his exit?
The teams that could normally be counted on for votes, ironically, are the other AFC North teams, who see the Ravens twice a year. For the low percentage of players who actually take the time to vote, the Ravens of prominence would have to be on their minds ahead of all the other standouts in the league. Problem is, NONE of the AFC North foes saw Smith Sr. or Flacco twice. None. And that nullifies the familiarity bonus of divisional cohabitants.
Yanda is the lone voice crying out in the forest, because he is just that good. 2014 Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley had a rough year. As did CB Jimmy Smith. Will Hill was solid, but is now out of the league due to an illegal substance violation. RB Justin Forsett was hurt. DT Brandon Williams was snubbed for the Pro Bowl, would he be able to get the votes he needs? Linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs were overworked and injured, respectively. A guy like WR Kamar Aiken would deserve some notice, but his numbers might not jump out, and divisional rivals might not remember him in those meoments. He might have been a candidate for a lower ranking, but the bottom 30 players have been revealed thus far, and no Aiken.
The Ravens' chances aren't looking so hot to make this list if your name is not Yanda.
Hopefully, if this happens, the Ravens will take it personally.
Hopefully Joe Flacco will take it personally and rip the league.
Hopefully, Smith Sr. will take it personally and trail-blaze a legend in his last stand.
Hopefully, the Ravens will leave no doubt for the most important Top 100 list: the one after the 2016 season.