Why Baltimore's Ray Rice Is Far From Underrated

Essence DashtarayContributor IJuly 14, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 16:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lucas Oli Stadium on January 16, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Ray Rice may have earned himself an NFL Pro Bowl berth and finished second in the league behind Chris Johnson in scrimmage yards last season, but that still isn’t enough for many football fans out there who don’t think that Rice is a top-five running back in the NFL.

On his official Twitter , Rice stated “I keep getting tweets about me not being a top 5 running back in the NFL. It’s all good, I’ve always been doubted my whole life. Time to prove it all over again, motivated.”

With 1,339 rushing yards, 2,041 total yards, and becoming one of the two players to surpass the 2,000-yard mark, how can people even try to underrate one of NFL’s top rising running backs?  One thing is for sure; Rice is certainly using all of this negative energy towards him to have an amazing 2011 season. On ESPN’s First Take , he said “My plan is to go out there and prove it all over again, that this wasn’t just a one-year thing.”

Personally, we won’t be surprised to see motivation and jaw-dropping numbers from the Ravens running back. He will prove to everyone who thinks he’s underrated that he is a top-five running back.

If real-life football fans aren’t convinced, perhaps they should start holding conversations with fantasy football fans, who are routinely picking Rice earlier and earlier in drafts .

Rice packs a versatile punch as an explosive runner and an exceptional receiver. Rice’s hands, vision, and speed allowed him to total over 700 yards as a receiver, and will undoubtedly keep him as Baltimore’s top offensive option.

With the additions of Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth in the off-season, Baltimore’s offense is only prepared to get better, which means less focus by opposing defenses on Rice, and the potential for even better fantasy numbers.

He may be smaller than your average running back, but Rice is primed to vault himself to the level that Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew (another small back) is on, despite arguably already proving he belongs on that plateau.