The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a down season, one which saw many games lost and many players missing time with injuries. Those injuries included the franchise quarterback, starting running back, top wide receiver, first round pick, and two starters on the offensive line. That is just the players on the offensive side of the ball.
ESPN went around the league and had each team reporter choose one player on each team with the most to prove in 2016, and I am sure many will disagree with Jamison Hensley's choice for this one. Hensley chose running back Justin Forsett:
While Forsett may be on the bubble with recent additions at his position in Javorius Allen and Kenneth Dixon, plus his age and injury last season, there are several other more worthy candidates for this distinction.
Here are several players I feel have more to prove than Forsett:
Yes, Smith is the Ravens top corner. He just signed a lucrative contract, and while he did improve as the season progressed, he still was not quite earning his keep by the end of the season. The Ravens, whose defense lacks many elite talents, needs Jimmy to get back to his dominating ways of 2013 and early 2014 to return to their high standard of defensive performance. If he can bounce back now that he is more than a year removed from his foot injury, the Ravens will have an elite corner who can shut down any top receiver in the league.
Webb is making the big bucks, and it will be on him to step up and solidify the back end together with the Ravens biggest free agent signing since Elvis Dumervil in 2013, safety Eric Weddle. The tandem brings much veteran savvyand leadership, so the hope is that the secondary will help the Ravens defense fix their woes and force some much needed turnovers after the Ravens set a franchise low in 2015.
Lest we ignore the offense, Eugene Monroe is the Raven who is most on the hot seat. If not for the high value placed on left tackles and the minimal savings he would generate, Monroe would likely already be on his way out of the beltway with the arrival of sixth overall pick Ronnie Stanley. As it is, Monroe will have to hold off the rookie in a battle for the starting job. Monroe has battled injuries in his two seasons with the Ravens, and has been off the field more than on it. His injury also opened the door for the lackluster play of James Hurst, which led to the injury to Joe Flacco. At the end of the day, the likelihood is that he will not be a Raven in 2017. But he may be playing for his NFL future this year, as a third consecutive injury prone year would put him in the 'completely unreliable' category and prevent him from getting any sort of decent contract if the Ravens let him go.
All three of these players have more to prove in my opinion than Justin Forsett, and you could also make an argument for Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs too. Forsett just doesn't play an important enough position, nor make enough money that he should register as having the most to prove. The Ravens have options at the position, but the minimal additional cost to keep him around for his veteran know-how and mentor-ship is enough that his on field product may matter very little this year to the Ravens.