Steve Smith Sr. Latest Baltimore Raven on NFL Top 100


The Baltimore Ravens have another player named to the NFL Network Top 100 list, making it the sixth Raven to make the group voted on by their peers. Steve Smith Sr. is the latest to be honored by his peers, voted 54th overall in the annual list of the NFL Network Top 100.

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When Justin Forsett made the list last week, I argued why he wasn’t deserving of the achievement. Forsett is an eight-year veteran and last season was his first year of producing at a high level. The same can’t be said for Smith. For his career, the five-time Pro Bowler has caught 915 passes for 13,262 yards and 73 touchdowns. There was a period when Smith was nearly impossible to defend man-to-man, and he showed that skill set again last season.

After a few lackluster seasons in his final years with the Carolina Panthers, the 36-year-old was fantastic in his first season in Baltimore, catching a team-high 79 passes for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns. Derrick Mason is the only receiver in franchise history with more catches in a single season. He started every game for the Ravens last season and also caught eight passes for 145 yards and a touchdown in the two playoff games.

"“I left here knowing what my plans were and my family knew what the plans were,” Smith said."

Smith is entering the second year of a three-year, $11 million contract, and has hinted that this year might be his last. If the production remains the same, the Ravens are hopeful they will get his services for the entire duration of his contract. He told reporters recently that he has no plans to play into his 40s, but also knew right after the loss to the New England Patriots that he was coming back for another season.

Smith is the highest-ranked Raven on the list thus far, ahead of Joe Flacco (97th), C.J. Mosley (94th), Terrell Suggs (84th), Marshal Yanda (79th), and Justin Forsett (65th). I honestly was surprised to see Smith make this list. I do believe that Elvis Dumervil will have his name announced at some point during this countdown as well.

It is interesting to note the wide receivers that Smith did finish ahead of on the top 100: Randall Cobb (100th), Emmanuel Sanders (95th), Julian Edelman (91st), Golden Tate (85th), Mike Evans (75th), Larry Fitzgerald (68th), Jeremy Maclin (61st), and Brandon Marshall (57th).

Smith has been present at the team’s OTAs while some other veterans have chosen to sit out. Smith’s presence is huge with an influx of young wide receivers expected to be on the Ravens roster. His veteran leadership will be key in the development of rookies Breshad Perriman and Darren Waller. Smith even attended one of the rookie minicamp practices to assist with the young group.

"“Yeah, I’m 36, and I remember last year when I signed here you guys weren’t expecting anything from a 35 year old. And now you can pick on me because I’m 36,” Smith said. “I’m just going to play football and practice. I think I look halfway decent. I think there are teams that probably drafted a wide receiver hoping that they could get a guy fresh out of college to put up 1,000 yards like I did.”"

Ozzie Newsome is hopeful that they have drafted the guy fresh out of college to put up 1,000 yards like Smith. They’ll take that production from the 36-year-old too.

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