Steve Smith consistently a top-20 WR

Steve Palazzolo explains where Steve Smith ranks among the best wide receivers of the PFF era.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Steve Smith consistently a top-20 WR

One of the league’s best receivers is retiring at the end of the season, as the Baltimore Ravens’ Steve Smith announced his plans to hang them up after 2015. Never short on trash talk, Smith has always backed it up on the field, playing well beyond his listed 5-foot-9 as a downfield and after-the-catch threat.

During the PFF era, Smith has generally been a mainstay as a top-15 or top-20 receiver in the league, including a stint as the No. 1-graded receiver in 2008 and a No. 11 finish in 2011. His body of work has been impressive, and heading into his 15th season, he still figures to be a viable threat for the Ravens.

Smith has excelled as a short and intermediate pass-catcher, but he sprinkled in some success as a deep threat, leading the league with 16 deep receptions in 2008 and tying for fifth in 2011 with 14. But it still comes back to the impressive longevity that saw Smith average over 16 yards per reception as recently as 2012 while notching a career-high in missed tackles forced last year with 23.

Smith should be remembered as an excellent possession receiver who brought even more to the table with his tenacity after the catch and fearlessness, whether beating a cornerback for a jump ball or taking big hits over the middle.

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Nate Holmberg

    But does he belong in the hall? Been a lot of debate since he announced this would be his last season. Outside the numbers, cornerbacks like Ike Taylor vouch for him and he was certainly one of the most consistently entertaining players in the league. Plus having Joe Flacco as the best QB he’s ever played with helps his cause. I think he gets in, but not right away.

    • Tim Edell

      I cannot see Smith ever getting into the HOF. It is meant to be for elite players not simply very good players. Even as the article states he was a mainstay as a top 15-20 WR. He had only 4 years with 80+ catches and only 1 year with more then 9 TDs. He was/is definitely a very good player but not one of the best ever.