Any Ravens fans who missed the NFL Network’s unveiling of the NFL Top 100, the annual list of the league’s top players, as voted on by players themselves, didn’t miss much.
Just two players from last year’s Ravens team made the list, which wrapped up Wednesday night. Neither rated all that highly. Inside linebacker C.J. Mosley and safety Eric Weddle, the vocal and since-departed leaders of the NFL’s top-ranked defense, finished Nos. 71 and 100, respectively, in the voting. Former New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram II, now with the Ravens, was No. 80 overall.
The Ravens’ representation is an improvement on last year’s, when just Mosley (No. 98) was included in the top 100. In the two years prior, only guard Marshal Yanda made the cut.
But the team, for being a division champion, is in surprising company. Of the five other teams with just two players in the NFL Top 100, none finished better than 7-9 last season. Overall, the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants combined to go 26-44.
The Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans all had three top-100 players. None made the playoffs. The Minnesota Vikings finished with five, and the Pittsburgh Steelers six. Both were sent packing after Week 17.
This season’s Ravens team has several players who could debut on the list or return to it, most notably Yanda, safety Earl Thomas III, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, defensive tackle Michael Pierce, offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley and tight end Mark Andrews.
But as last season showed, star power’s not a prerequisite for success.