Are Baltimore Ravens overrated in 'Top 100' players?


We began our coverage of NFL Networks' "Top 100 Players of 2013" by pointing out Baltimore Ravens inflation. As we reached the top-20 on Thursday night, the theme remained.

Kinkhabwala: The Raven Way
The Ravens saw significant turnover this offseason, but Aditi Kinkhabwala says the transition appears seamless. More ...

Ed Reed (now with the Houston Texans) finished No. 18 on the list, and Joe Flacco finished No. 19. Reed's ranking is more egregious, but both of these rankings are out of whack just like the rankings for Bernard Pollard, Dennis Pitta and Jacoby Jones. Ray Rice checked in at No. 13.

The rankings tell us a few things about the mysterious voting process. The votes must be taken after the Super Bowl, and they include way too many members of the Baltimore Ravens. Reed has earned his reputation as a probable Hall of Famer, but this is a list about the here and now. He was far below his career peak last season. Guys like Earl Thomas (No. 66) and Dashon Goldson (No. 96) were far more superior players.

Flacco is also illogically high. He was sensational in the playoffs, but that guy just hasn't been around enough in the regular season. He jumped from No. 74 on the list last season to this spot, but wasn't appreciably better than previous regular seasons. (His numbers have been remarkably consistent throughout his career.)

Great quarterbacks like Drew Brees, ranked No. 11, do it week-after-week, year-after-year. The 16-game regular season, not a short playoff run, is still the best measure to evaluate quarterbacks. That's why Matt Ryan (No. 17) deserves to be ahead of Flacco. Playoffs involve too much luck that define legacies. It's hard to see how Flacco is a better player over the course of a season compared to, say, Ben Roethlisberger (No. 61).

It's easy to imagine Flacco putting up a similar season in 2013, with a Ravens playoff loss to match. He would fall dramatically in the rankings and be the same player all along.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.