There almost hasn’t been a day that has gone by this week in which Baltimore Ravens hasn’t been delivered good news or been justly recognized and rewarded for his phenomenal play since joining the team midseason via trade.
On Friday, January 13, 2022, the 2022 Associated Press All-Pro teams were announced and he was one of three players from the team to be named. While this marked his third time being voted to an All-Pro team, the previous two occasions were to the Second Team so it is his first time receiving First-Teamer status.
Earlier in the week he was voted to the NFL Player Association’s first annual All-Pro First-Team as one of the top off-ball linebackers in the league. Smith has not only posted impressive individual stats in his 9 games as a Raven but he has also helped improve the play of the entire defense overall at every level.
While Smith was the only Ravens player to receive First-Team honors, they still had two other players receive All-Pro recognition from the Associated Press with kicker Justin Tucker and long snapper Nick Moore being named to the Second-Team.
This marks Tucker’s seventh straight All-Pro selection and eighth All-Pro selection, tying him with Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed for the third most in franchise history. A future Hall of Famer himself, Tucker went 37-of-43 on field goal attempts in 2022 which were the third most kicks in a single season of his illustrious career, missing just one of his 32 extra point attempts. He also went 9-of-14 from 50-plus yards which was the second most from that range that he made of his career in a single season, narrowly trailing his 2016 total of 10 successful attempts.
This marked the first career All-Pro selection for Moore just completed his second season as the starter since the team moved on from five-time Pro Bowler Morgan Cox. In addition to executing the primary responsibility of his position, he was very active on punt coverage units as well and finished with 4 total tackles including a pair of solos.
Most Egregious Snub
Given that the Ravens’ offense hasn’t consistently looked like a highly functioning unit outside of their first six quarters of the seasons, it’s understandable that there weren’t any representatives on either All-Pro team on it.
That being said, there is at least one member of their elite defense aside from Smith that is also deserving of the honor after the dominant season he just had. While starting cornerback Marlon Humphrey was voted to his third career Pro Bowl for his outstanding play in 2022, he didn’t get voted the AP First or Second All-Pro Teams nor was he voted to the NFLPA’s first-ever All-Pro First Team.
The sixth-year veteran didn’t lead the league in forced fumbles as he did in his first All-Pro season in 2019 but he was utterly dominant at the primary responsibility of his position with the way he was lockdown in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, he recorded the most coverage snaps without allowing a touchdown with 626 and the next closest was 423.
In addition to locking down opposing teams’ wide receivers, he terrorized them in the backfield as a blitzer resulting in him recording a career-high in sacks with 3 and also tying his career-high in interceptions with a trio as well.
It’s hard to argue against any of the players that did make either list but a strong case can be made that Humphrey is just as, if not even more deserving of a spot and receiving his just recognition.
Ravens 1st Rounder Named Rookie of the Year
Never in the 54-year history of Associated Press’ annual NFL awards has an offensive lineman won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. However, according to Sports Info Solutions, Ravens’ first-year starting center, Tyler Linderbaum, is deserving of the honor more than the likes of first-round wide receivers Garrett Wilson of the New York Jets and Chris Olave of the New Orleans Saints, both of which recorded over 1,000 yards receiving as rookies.
“Our pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year, the center out of Iowa dominated in his first year at the NFL level, starting all 17 games for the Ravens,” SIS’ Nathan Cooper wrote. “Linderbaum’s 43 Total Points not only led all rookie offensive linemen, but it also ranked third among all NFL centers. His Total Points (23) and Points Above Average (6.6) on run plays trailed just Jason Kelce. His 1.3% overall blown block rate and 1.1% blown block rate on run plays also stand out in the Top 10.”
Linderbaum has been as advertised if not even exceeded expectations in his first season in the league. As the anchor in the middle of the Ravens’ elite offensive line, he’s started every game and has more than held his own against some of the league’s best front seven players, earning him a spot on the SIS All-Rookie First-Team.
Both Linderbaum and fellow Raven’s first-rounder, defensive back Kyle Hamilton, were named to Pro Football Focus’ All-Rookie Team.
“Linderbaum is already nothing short of an elite run-blocking center,” PFF’s Brad Renner wrote. “While his 26 pressures allowed in pass protection is a bit high, what Linderbaum can do at the second level in the run game is special. The Ravens got a future Pro Bowler, if not All-Pro.”
“Hamilton found his home in the slot for the Ravens around midseason and was a big reason for their defensive turnaround. He finished the season with an 82.3 overall grade, as he was active against both the run and pass. His 10 coverage stops from the slot were the sixth-most in the NFL.”