Scout's Take: Baltimore Ravens
Underrated: Steve Smith Sr.
Old Man River. He comes back for another go-round. The guy was unbelievably productive last year, hands down the best receiver on the team at age 37, before he ruptured his Achilles. If he’s not the most competitive player on the field every Sunday, he’s right up there with them. And he’s not a big person but he has a way of playing big. He is unbelievably passionate about the game and is really a treat for all of us to watch, unless it’s your team that is playing him. It’s amazing how great he has been for so long—the 5' 9", 180-something pound receiver has been defying the odds since he came into the league as a juco transfer. He’s simply an incredible player.
Overrated: Justin Forsett
The 30-year-old was cut by the Ravens on Saturday, but re-signed just a couple of days later. He’s a solid player, but there aren’t many teams that he would start for when you study him on film. He has good vision and will hit the hole when it’s there to hit. The additions that the Ravens have made this season will help a guy like Forsett. But there is just not a whole lot of “wow” factor with the guy. He is a smaller back and is not really a threat to take it to the house. He is a steady-eddie guy who can keep the chains moving. The year before last he finished in the top-five in rushing and was talked about as one of the best players in the league. But as Lee Corso would say, not so fast my friend. He’s an overachiever, but not anybody who you’d be itching to pull off the Ravens to add to your team.
The Ravens are a first-class franchise in terms of how they’re operated, starting with [owner] Steve Bisciotti, and obviously the great [GM] Ozzie Newsome and [coach] John Harbaugh. They’ve been good for so long, and are usually on the tip of everyone’s tongue in terms of being around the first week of February. So after a 5–11 2015 season, they’re in unusual territory. Not a whole lot of people are talking about them. But when you sit down and look at the additions they made this off-season, there are a lot of pieces back in place. They picked up Eric Weddle to fortify the secondary, they drafted Ronnie Stanley to strengthen the offensive line, they have a lot of youth on their defensive line, and they’re getting many key players back from injury in Jimmy Smith, Steve Smith, Breshad Perriman and Joe Flacco. There’s a lot of depth in a number of places on their roster. I expect they will be vying for a playoff spot at the end of the season.