As the NFL lockout limits coverage, media outlets have been quick to create their own news. ESPN and The New York Times have put out yearly player rankings, NFL Network unveiled its top 100 players, the Ravens' website recently ranked the top 50 Ravens, and here at The Baltimore Sun, we've released our All-Ravens team.
Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders chimed in Tuesday on Grantland with his own twist on the list: Barnwell gives us the 25 least valuable players in the NFL. There are a couple of interest to Baltimoreans, including Ravens wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who was No. 21 on Barnwell's list.
“In addition to [his] inexplicable drop in the playoff loss to the Steelers, Houshmandzadeh could only catch 53 percent of the passes thrown to him despite running some of the shortest routes in the league," Barnwell wrote. "And the Seahawks paid him virtually all of his $7 million in guaranteed salary to go away.”
However, according to Houshmandzadeh, things are looking up. Two weeks ago, the free agent told The Carroll County Times that if he signs with the right team, he’ll “shock a lot of people.”
Meanwhile, former Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, a former first-round pick of the Raiders, was No. 15 on the list.
"Heyward-Bey actually raised his catch rate (the percentage of passes intended for a receiver that the player actually caught) last year!" he wrote. "Too bad it only got up to 41 percent, which was still the lowest rate in the league for a player with 50 or more targets."
The former Maryland speedster looks to be right on track to become the next Al Davis draft bust. Heyward-Bey has floundered as the Raiders’ top receiver, and by some projections he could drop to Oakland’s third or fourth option this year.
Another player on the list with ties to Baltimore is former Ravens quarterback Derek Anderson, who comes in at No. 12.
Robbie Levin, a Northwestern student, is an intern at The Baltimore Sun. Our fine interns will contribute guest posts to Baltimore Sports Blitz this summer. Contact Levin at firstname.lastname@example.org.