Thursday, July 3, 2014
Ravens 2014 player rankings: No. 12
By Jamison Hensley
ESPN.com polled 18 Baltimore media members for their top 20 players on the 2014 Baltimore Ravens roster. The countdown will run through the middle of July, just before the start of training camp. You can click here for an introduction on how the blog put together the rankings.
Highest ranking: No. 5. Lowest ranking: Not ranked.
What you need to know: The Ravens signed Smith to a three-year, $11.5 million contract a day after he was officially cut by the Carolina Panthers. Smith turned 35 in May, and he is coming off a season where he had only 64 catches for 745 yards last season, among the worst numbers of his career when healthy. The Ravens envision him being a tough, clutch receiver, which was missing last season after the team traded away Anquan Boldin.
Where Steve Smith should be ranked: I'll admit it; I was the one who had Smith ranked the highest at No. 5. This is not a proclamation that Smith is going to put up career numbers. He's just the most polished and tenacious receiver that the Ravens have. If you watched the offseason practices, it's not a stretch to say Smith is going to be Joe Flacco's go-to receiver at critical moments in the game.
File this away: Over the past nine seasons, he has caught more than 70 passes in six seasons and put together six 1,000-yard seasons.
What the Ravens are saying about Steve Smith: "He’s our kind of guy in a lot of ways. I like the competitor. I like the fire in him –- the toughness. But I also think he’s a really good player. And I'll say this: Watching him out at practice, he’s still a really good player. There’s no doubt. He’s going to help us a lot." -- coach John Harbaugh