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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Marshal Yanda is No. 1 on the Ravens' 2015 player rankings


July 29, 2015

By Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer

ESPN.com polled 21 Baltimore media members for their top 20 players on the 2015 Baltimore Ravens roster. The countdown will run through the end of the month, just before the start of training camp.

Let's continue to wind down the countdown ...

No. 1: Marshal Yanda

Position: Guard

Total points: 400. First-place votes: 12.

Highest ranking: No. 1. Lowest ranking: No. 6.

2015 salary-cap figure ranking: Third ($8.45 million)

2014 ranking: No. 2

Biggest question: Will Yanda become a Raven for life?


Marshal Yanda was the No. 2-ranked offensive player in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. Ric Tapia/Icon SMI

Storyline: Yanda is becoming one of the top players in Ravens history and is playing as well as he's ever played at the age of 30. Coaches praise his technique and teammates respect his toughness. The only uncertainty with Yanda is where he'll play next season. He's entering the final year of his contract, and the Ravens are targeting him for an extension. Yanda has built a reputation on being a steady pass-protector and a mauling run-blocker. He had the seventh-best pass-blocking grade of all guards in 2014, allowing one sack, five hits and 10 quarterback hurries. Where he excels is pushing defenders off the line in the ground game. According to PFF, Yanda's first 14 weeks in 2014 included some of the finest run-blocking performances ever seen by the analytical website.

Where Yanda should be ranked: There will be some scoffing about a guard being ranked No. 1 over a quarterback. But the rankings are based on talent, not importance to the team. Yanda was the most dominant player on the Ravens last season, and it wasn't even close. Grantland recently named Yanda the best offensive lineman in the NFL, and he's the best Ravens lineman since Jonathan Ogden.

File this away: Yanda was named the fifth-best player in the NFL by Pro Football Focus and the No. 2 offensive player behind only Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

What the Ravens are saying about Yanda: "I’ve been fortunate to be around some really good linemen, [but] this is as good as I’ve ever been around. He’s an amazing player. His attention to detail, his commitment to the football team and what he does is as good as I’ve ever been around.” -- former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

Here is the panel of voters: Morgan Adsit (WBFF-TV), Clifton Brown(Comcast SportsNet Baltimore), Jerry Coleman (105.7 The Fan), Bruce Cunnningham (WBFF-TV), Steve Davis (105.7 The Fan), John Eisenberg(Baltimore Ravens website), Pete Gilbert (WBAL-TV), David Ginsburg(Associated Press), Brent Harris (Comcast SportsNet Baltimore), Brett Hollander (WBAL Radio), Qadry Ismail (WBAL Radio), Luke Jones (WNST Radio), Rob Long (105.7 The Fan), Jon Meoli (Baltimore Sun), Keith Mills(WBAL Radio), Joe Platania (the Press Box), Gerry Sandusky (WBAL-TV), Mark Viviano (WJZ-TV), Aaron Wilson (Baltimore Sun), Jeff Zrebiec (Baltimore Sun) and Jamison Hensley (ESPN.com).

Recapping the 2015 Ravens' top 20 player rankings:
No. 2: Joe Flacco
No. 3: Jimmy Smith
No. 4: C.J. Mosley
No. 5: Terrell Suggs
No. 6: Elvis Dumervil
No. 7: Steve Smith
No. 8: Justin Tucker
No. 9: Justin Forsett
No. 10: Kelechi Osemele
No. 11: Daryl Smith
No. 12: Brandon Williams
No. 13: Lardarius Webb
No. 14: Rick Wagner
No. 15: Timmy Jernigan
No. 16: Courtney Uphsaw
No. 17: Eugene Monroe
No. 18: Sam Koch
No. 19: Dennis Pitta
No. 20: Breshad Perriman

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