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CBS Sports ranks 3 Ravens in top 100; 2 make honorable mention

Ravens enter the 2023 NFL season with some of the best in the NFL, and a couple snubs?

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Making a top 100 list of just about anything isn’t easy. Ranking NFL players across all positions? Sounds challenging and there’s bound to be discourse. Alas, CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco did so and he concluded three Ravens are among his Top 100 and if you have issue with the list, “try to put together one of your own.”

Well, I won’t be doing the latter, but I will still show where the Ravens that did make the list are ranked among their peers and those respective of their position, and I’ll mention the pair that were honorable mentions and a particular top tier left tackle who wasn’t mentioned.

Lamar Jackson, No. 35

“He hasn’t finished the last two seasons because of injury, which is concerning,” Prisco wrote. “But when he’s on the field, he’s an electrifying playmaker. The new offense will be good for him.”

Knocking Jackson for his availability is fair. No, it’s not Jackson’s fault as he suffered two injuries that lingered but that’s the football world we live in.

Quarterbacks Ahead of Jackson

  • Patrick Mahomes, No. 1
  • Josh Allen, No. 2
  • Joe Burrow, No. 3
  • Justin Herbert, No. 22
  • Trevor Lawrence, No. 23
  • Aaron Rodgers, No. 29
  • Jalen Hurts, No. 31

Jackson at his best is capable of earning No. 1. We haven’t seen the best from him in awhile, as he’s failed to reach 20 passing touchdowns the past two seasons. He’s also hasn’t cracked five rushing touchdowns the past two seasons, after doing so his first three years. He’s missed games and his receiving talent was nowhere near the level of the others. This season could be a stark change depending upon the health of Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers.

Jackson’s certainly worthy of a higher ranking and I’m confident by seasons’ end he’ll be within the top 15, but his best is required after two slumping seasons and becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history.

Mark Andrews, No. 53

“His production dropped last season from 107 catches to 73 and his yards went way down,” Prisco wrote. “Not having Lamar Jackson healthy hurt and Andrews also missed two games.”

Last season was tough for Andrews. He was coming off an All-Pro season where he dominated the NFL, and the regression, defensive adjustments and loss of Jackson showed. But even so, he’s a top tight end in the NFL.

Tight ends Ahead of Andrews

  • Travis Kelce, No. 6
  • George Kittle, No. 32

I think the argument can be made that Andrews is a better tight end than Kittle; in Monken’s offense he’ll prove it. The targets may diminish with the wide receiver talent flourishing, but there’s no target Jackson favors more than Andrews, and for good reason.

Roquan Smith, No. 76

“He finished third in the league in tackles and also had 4.5 sacks,” Prisco wrote. “The Ravens traded for him during the season and he became a big part of their defense after coming over from Chicago.”

I think Smith is the victim of positional value here. In a league of quarterbacks and edge rushers, he and other middle linebackers don’t get the appreciation they deserve.

Middle linebackers Ahead of Smith

  • Fred Warner, No. 37

On the Bears, Smith was doing everything possible to help a porous defense. Then, he joined the Ravens and amplified everyone around him. Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald credited him with their improvement.

Warner is a force, too, but I don’t think he’s 39 spots ahead of Smith. But, these two are the NFL’s best right now and Prisco mostly nailed that. Arguments can be made between Warner and Smith. Ravens fans will take Smith and I’m confident 49ers fans will keep Warner.

Marlon Humphrey, Honorable Mention

Humphrey is one of the Ravens’ best players, period. Each time he leaves the field, the Ravens’ pass defense is picked apart. When he’s on and healthy, he locks up those across him and he does so from both the slot and outside. He allowed zero touchdowns in 2022, notched three interceptions and is without question a top 100 player.

Cornerbacks Ahead of Humphrey

  • Jalen Ramsey, No. 14
  • Sauce Gardner, No. 15
  • Patrick Surtain II, No. 19
  • Jaire Alexander, No. 21
  • Stephon Gilmore, No. 75
  • Tariq Woolen, No. 86
  • Patrick Peterson, No. 92
  • Darius Slay, No. 96

Kyle Hamilton, Honorable Mention

I found this one interesting. Hamilton is a highly talented young safety and after some growing pains became a multi-tooled weapon for Macdonald’s defense. I wouldn’t put him in the same category as traditional free safeties and I think he may be the second-best safety on the Ravens’ roster, so I’m not against him narrowly missing the list. The issue I’d argue is having Kamren Curl over Hamilton.

Safeties Ahead of Hamilton

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick, No. 41
  • Derwin James, No. 45
  • Micah Hyde, No. 73
  • Tyrann Mathieu, No. 81
  • Kamren Curl, No. 85
  • Kevin Byard, No. 100

Both are great and give Washington credit for netting a guy of Curl’s caliber with their 2020 seventh-round pick, but Hamilton edges him here.

Ronnie Stanley, Not Mentioned

Stanley is one of the NFL’s best tackles. In 11 games in 2022, he allowed one sack, no quarterback hits and 15 hurries, and he does so against Prisco’s No. 5-ranked Myles Garrett, No. 11-ranked T.J. Watt and No. 91-ranked Trey Hendrickson. He played six of those 11 games against the Browns, Steelers and Bengals and allowed only one sack, in Week 18 with Anthony Brown at quarterback. This is the worst oversight of Prisco’s list.

Offensive tackles Above Stanley

  • Trent Williams, No. 10
  • Andrew Thomas, No. 24
  • Tristan Wirfs, No. 46 (RT)
  • Rashawn Slater, No. 51
  • Christian Darrisaw, No. 56
  • Jordan Mailata, No. 60
  • Penei Sewell, No. 66

Justin Tucker, Not Mentioned

No love for the greatest kicker (or any of them for that matter) in NFL history on these top 100 lists. Maybe Prisco and others would give him more love if his 2022 completion rating was higher. Tucker finished with an 86.0% field goal completion rating, the third-worst of his career. However, that’s on account of his 50-plus field goal attempts, where he completed nine of 14, with two of those misses coming from 61 and 67. He also had two blocked in 2022, a rarity.