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ICYMI: PFF ranks two Ravens among the 30 best in the NFL

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Baltimore Ravens v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Pro Football Focus recently released their list of the top 50 NFL players for 2017. A pair of Baltimore Ravens were deemed worthy of a lofty ranking:

It is no surprise to see the All-Pro guard ranked high on PFF’s list, they have been enamored with Yanda for several years now. His 12th overall slot shows a great deal of respect, this projection indicates the PFF staff believes Marshal will be the best overall offensive lineman in the league next season.

Offensive guard is probably the least glamorous position on a team, but Yanda’s toughness, consistency and dominant blocking has prompted many to speculate his career has been Hall of Fame caliber. Marshal is currently rehabilitating a shoulder injury and may not be ready to practice at the start of training camp, but is expected to suit up in time for the Week 1 of the regular season. Yanda will be a crucial player for the Ravens next season as a steadying veteran presence on a potentially inexperienced offensive line.

Weddle is listed as the third best safety in the NFL, behind Earl Thomas and Landon Collins. He was an impactful addition to the Ravens last offseason and was able to shore up communication in the secondary almost singlehandedly. Weddle spearheaded a dramatic defensive turnaround in interceptions and lead the Ravens in takeaways last year.

A consummate leader, Weddle has been a positive presence in the locker room and helped the front office lure several desirable free agents to Baltimore. After the acquisition of strong safety Tony Jefferson this offseason, Weddle is expected to line up further off the ball in 2017, and serve as the deep safety more often. While not the fastest centerfielder at this stage of his career, Eric’s savvy and instincts should allow him to flourish in this role.

Former Ravens blocker Kelechi Osemele was ranked at #37 based on his powerful run blocking and impressive pass protection. The Ravens have a long history of retaining the best homegrown players, but ‘K.O.’ is the exception to the rule and will probably be remembered as the best player the Ravens have ever allowed to flee. How strong would the Ravens 2017 depth chart look if this mauler was still wearing purple?

PFF’s top five overall are Aaron Donald, J.J. Watt, Tom Brady, Julio Jones and Aaron Rodgers, in order. The archival Steelers were well represented with Antonio Brown checking in at #8 and Le’Veon Bell at #11. Other AFC North players selected include Joe Thomas at #27, A.J. Green at #28 and Geno Atkins at #43.

Following the best season ever for a kicker, Justin Tucker just missed the top-50 cutoff. Ronnie Stanley was also considered for top-50 placement after performing as a top pass blocker during the second half of his rookie campaign. Brandon Williams, C.J. Mosley, Jimmy Smith and Tony Jefferson should be in contention for this honor next year if they play up to their potential in 2017.

Coaching, depth and intangibles are all important factors in team success, but the NFL has proven time and again that teams need elite players to win championships. Fortunately, the Ravens front office has made great strides in this department over the two most recent offseasons.