Draft Rewind – Baltimore Ravens

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With the NFL draft rapidly approaching, let’s take a look back at each team’s hits and misses over the past 25 years.

FIVE BEST PICKS

1. Ray Lewis, LB, Miami. 1st round, #26 overall in 1996.

I’m not a fan of his antics (or that he may have helped butcher someone the weekend of Super Bowl XXXV in Atlanta…allegedly), but Ray Ray has undeniably been the best MLB of this generation.

I will spare you the numbers, but he went out a champion and was the Ravens unquestioned leader. The Jags (Kevin Hardy @ #2), Broncos (John Mobley @ #15), and Lions (Reggie Brown @ #17) regrettably got it wrong, although Mobley and Hardy were solid pros. A very strong LB class also produced Zach Thomas, Tedy Bruschi, Donnie Edwards, Randall Godfrey, Earl Holmes, and Carlos Emmons.

2. Jonathan Ogden, OT, UCLA. 1st round, #4 overall in 1996.

If you are old enough to have seen Ozzie Newsome play TE, you remember what a great player he was. But he has been an even better exec and immediately knocked it outta the park with the franchise’s first draft. Before pulling Lewis out of his hat, he selected the best LT of this generation and possibly the best one ever. A very quiet man, Ogden was known for destroying DEs…with a smile. The draft class’ top 10 had some hits & misses, but you can make an argument this pick was even better than the pick Ozzie made 22 spots later when he nabbed Lewis.

3. Ed Reed, S, Miami. 1st round, #24 overall in 2002.

First things first: the first round in 2002 was garbage; including Reed, the only picks that ended up as solid pros were Peppers, Dwight Freeney, and Jeremy Shockey. However, Ozzie once again found a HOFer, this time late in the first. If you were to describe Reed in brief terms, he was a ball hawk and a playmaker. Nine Pro Bowls, five first team All-Pros, 2004 Defensive POTY, most interception return yards and four other NFL records. Deserves mention as one of the best safeties in the modern era, alongside Ronnie Lott, Brian Dawkins, and Troy Polamalu.

4. Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon. 1st round, #12 overall in 2006.

Often overlooked and underrated, Ngata has become one of the best DT in football. The Ravens have occasionally used him at DE in their scheme, where he has also flourished. He has played in 123 of 128 games and at age 30, seems destined to take his place next to fellow Ravens legends Lewis, Ogden, Reed, and our #5 best pick.

5. Terrell Suggs, DE/LB, Arizona St. 1st round, #10 overall in 2003.

T-Sizzle dominated right off the bat, breaking an NFL record by recording a sack in his first four games as a pro (at age 20). He capped that season with Defensive ROTY, and has since racked up six Pro Bowls and a Defensive POTY. He is still in his prime at age 31. The only players selected in that draft class at his level are Andre Johnson and Polamalu.

WORST FIVE PICKS

1. Travis Taylor, WR, Florida. 1st round, #10 overall in 2000.

15 of the first 20 picks in the 2000 draft class went on to be Pro Bowlers; Travis Taylor was a terrible pick at #10, and his production with BAL in five years was that of a 7th rounder. That year was a horrific draft class for WRs – 35 were drafted, but only Laveranues Coles made the Pro Bowl in their careers (Donte Hall made it as a KR). Along with our next selection, Ozzie’s wizardry came up short twice in the first round.

2. Kyle Boller, QB, California. 1st round, #19 in 2003.

Not only was Boller a bad pick at #19, the Ravens gave up their 2nd round pick (#41 overall) to move up and draft him. He was a below average QB with Baltimore for five years, went 20-22 as a starter, and threw 34 INT and fumbled 36 times. 27 players drafted after Boller went to a Pro Bowl.

3. Dan Cody, DE, Oklahoma. 2nd round, #53 overall in 2005.

Cody was a great player at Oklahoma…when he was on the field. Despite a history of injury problems, the Ravens picked Cody in the second round in ’05. He got hurt the first day of training camp, played three games the next season before getting hurt again, and was on the PUP the entire 2007 season. He was released during training camp in 2008 and never played another down of professional football. Vincent Jackson, Frank Gore, and Justin Tuck were on the board when Cody’s name was called.

4. Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas. 2nd round, #43 overall in 2010.

Heading into the 2010 draft, Kindle was considered the best 3-4 OLB. An earlier knee injury and a DUI saw him slip to the second round. That summer, Kindle “fell” down a flight of stairs at a party in Austin and fractured his skull (if you buy the story that an elite athlete fell down a flight of stairs unencumbered, you would be the first one I’ve met). Despite missing his rookie year, he managed to pick up another DUI that December. Kindle played two games in 2011, and one more in 2012 before getting cut and never being heard from again.

5. (tie) Mark Clayton, WR Oklahoma. 1st round, #22 overall in 2005. Chris Redman, QB, Louisville. 3rd round, #75 overall in 2000.
Clayton, although not a complete bust, averaged 47 catches for 620 yards and 2 TDs in five years for the Ravens; Roddy White and Vincent Jackson were on the board. Redman was drafted to groom as a replacement for Tony Banks, but saw the likes of Trent Dilfer, Elvis Grbac, Jeff Blake, and the aforementioned Boller supplant him. To his credit, he collected checks for eight years in the league.

Stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com

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