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WR Smith ranks No. 54 on top 100 players list

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WR Smith ranks No. 54 on top 100 players list

After just one season with the Ravens, Steve Smith has left a strong impression with his peers.

NFL Network continues to unveil its list of Top 100 Players of 2015, and Smith ranks No. 54 in the voting among players, after not making the list in 2014. That’s a measure of the respect players still have for Smith at age 36.

Joining the Ravens after 13 seasons with the Panthers. Smith had 79 catches last year for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns. Derrick Mason is the only receiver in franchise history with more catches in a single season. Mason had 103 catches in 2007, 86 catches in 2005, and 80 catches in 2008.

Smith is the highest-ranking Raven on the list so far, ahead of quarterback Joe Flacco (97th), linebacker C. J. Mosley (94th), linebacker Terrell Suggs (84th), guard Marshal Yanda (79th), and running back Justin Forsett (65th).

Meanwhile, consider the other wide receivers on the top 100 list that Smith finished ahead of – Randall Cobb of the Packers (100th), Emmanuel Sanders of the Broncos (95th), Julian Edelman of the Patriots (91st), Golden Tate of the Lions (85th), Mike Evans of the Buccaneers (75th), Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals (68th), Jeremy Maclin of the Chiefs (61st), and Brandon Marshall of the Jets (57th).

While some other veterans have elected to skip voluntary OTA’s, Smith was on the field Wednesday, working and preparing for his 15th NFL season. The Ravens signed Smith to a three-year, $11 million contract after the Panthers released him in 2014. That’s another deal general manager Ozzie Newsome is glad he made.

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.

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