If you are one of the few avid readers of this blog -- thanks for keeping the lights on with your clicks -- or if you have checked out my work in the actual newspaper, you probably know that I am fond of Pro Football Focus, a website that I feel is one of the best resources out there for NFL fans.
One of the many things that the guys over at Pro Football Focus do is grade every player that plays a snap in the NFL, giving us a frame of reference. So since the Ravens’ season is over, let’s go back and see which players received positive marks from PFF and which ones were graded with a red pen.
First a disclaimer: While I appreciate the work PFF does -- and I’m not alone in that regard -- keep in mind these grades are subjective and do not necessarily align with how the Ravens feel their players performed.
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Only five Ravens on offense graded in the green, but it may surprise you that two of them were offensive linemen. Despite joining the team midway through the season, left tackle Eugene Monroe was the highest-graded player on offense by far, garnering a plus-24.0 grade. Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda ranked second with a plus-10.7 grade. Wide receivers Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Brandon Stokley also were graded in the green by PFF, but just barely.
On the other end of the spectrum, 14 of the 27 offensive players graded were in the red. Seven had double-digit negative grades, including quarterback Joe Flacco.
At negative-18.1 on the season, center Gino Gradkowski and left guard A.Q. Shipley were the lowest-graded players on offense. Gradkowski was PFF's lowest-graded center. Running back Ray Rice, at negative-16.2, was their lowest-graded back. And at negative-16.1, tight end Ed Dickson was one of the lowest-graded players at his position. Right tackle Michael Oher and Bryant McKinnie, whom Monroe replaced at left tackle, also had double-digit red grades.
The grades were much more favorable on the defensive side of the ball as half of the 26 Ravens defenders that PFF graded were in the green, led by strong-side linebacker Elvis Dumervil at plus-27.4. Despite only playing about 52 percent of the team's defensive snaps, Dumervil had the third-highest grade among 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
Defensive tackle Arthur Jones was given a plus-15.7 grade. Nose tackle Haloti Ngata finished strong to receive a final grade of 14.5. Meanwhile, rush linebacker Terrell Suggs coasted in the second half of the season to a plus-13 grade. At plus-7.4, defensive end Chris Canty rounded out the top five grades among Ravens defenders.
Interestingly, Lardarius Webb was the team’s highest-graded cornerback (plus-7.3), not Jimmy Smith (plus-3.9), who also received a lower grade than Corey Graham (plus-4.0). Strong safety James Ihedigbo (plus-4.7) had a better grade, too.
Also noteworthy was that middle linebacker Daryl Smith, despite impressive stats, only received a plus-0.2 grade, largely due to a negative-13.1 grade as a run defender.
At negative-9.4, weak-side linebacker Jameel McClain was the lowest-graded Ravens defender in 2013. Strong-side linebacker Courtney Upshaw (negative-9.1) was not far behind. Four other Ravens defenders were graded in the red, including backup nose tackle Terrence Cody (plus-5.0) and rookie free safety Matt Elam (3.6).
Even though he is a specialist, kicker Justin Tucker was the team's highest-graded player at plus-33.1. However, Tucker’s grade was just the sixth-highest among NFL kickers.
Punter Sam Koch was a plus-11.4 on the season, ranking 14th among NFL punters.
Four other Ravens were graded in the green on special teams: returners Jacoby Jones and Tandon Doss and special teams contributors Albert McClellan and Vonta Leach.
Ten Ravens were in the red on special teams. Chykie Brown (negative-5.5) had the lowest grade followed by Jeromy Miles (negative-4.0) and Upshaw (negative-3.0).