Yesterday we wrote about how poorly the 2011 draft went for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Today? The opposite end of the scale, and the Baltimore Ravens, making the most of their first round picks over the last 19 years, including studs like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Joe Flacco.
In 1996, the Ravens had two first round picks. One of them was Jonathan Ogden, one of the best offensive tackles in the last 20 years, who is an inductee of both the College and Pro Football hall of fame, playing for the Ravens for 12 seasons, making 11 Pro Bowl selections and nine times to the first or second All-Pro teams.
Shortly after Ogden came Ray Lewis, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Ravens and probably the greatest player in the history of the franchise, and one of the more influential defensive players of the last 20 or 30 years. He is a 13-time Pro Bowler and 10-time part of an All-Pro team. He has a Super Bowl MVP and has been named the NFL’s defensive player of the year twice.
In 1997 the Ravens used their first draft pick on Peter Boulware, a linebacker who played for them from 1997 to 2005. He was the defensive rookie of the year and also a four-time Pro Bowler, and part of the championship team in 2000.
In 1999 the Ravens took Chris McCallister with their first round pick, a cornerback that stayed with them until 2008 before moving on to the Saints, where he played just one season (2009). With the Ravens Mcallister won a Super Bowl, made four Pro Bowl teams and three All-Pro selections.
In 2000 the Ravens took Jamal Lewis as one of their two first round picks. The running back out of Tennessee made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro team once, and is also a member of the 2000-yard club for his 2003 season, rushing for 2066 yards. That year he set a new record for rushing yards in a single game with 295, but that was later broken by Adrian Peterson.
In 2001 the Ravens took Todd Heap, a tight end out of Arizona State that made two Pro-Bowl teams and one All-Pro team. He also played for the Arizona Cardinals before retiring.
In 2002 the Ravens took another long serving member of their usually excellent defense, safety Ed Reed out of Miami. Reed played for the Ravens from 2002 to 2012, making nine Pro Bowls and eight All-Pro teams. In 2004 he was named the defensive player of the year and led the league in interceptions three times.
Terrell Suggs was the 10th overall pick in 2003 and is still playing for the Ravens. Besides winning a Super Bowl with them, he has also made six Pro Bowl teams and two All-Pro teams. In 2011 he was named the defensive player of the year.
From this point things weren’t as flashy, but they still had some very good picks. In 2006 Haloti Ngata was selected as the 12th overall pick, making five Pro Bowl teams and five times named to an All-Pro selection, besides being a key member of their Super Bowl winning team in 2012.
Ben Grubbs was their 2007 first round pick. He made one Pro Bowl with the team (And another for the Saints). He’s now playing for the Chiefs.
In 2008 the Ravens had another bingo with Joe Flacco, a quarterback that led them to their second Super Bowl in 2012, winning the MVP award in the game. He is the Ravens’ leader in career Wins, Passing Touchdowns, Pass Attempts, Pass Completions and Passing Yards).
Michael Oher in 2009 provided some solid service in the offensive line for a few years, Jimmy Smith (2011) is a good cornerback, Matt Elam (2013) is a starting safety two years in a row anf their 2014 pick, C.J. Mosley, was named to the 2014 Pro Bowl and second team All-Pro, and looks like another excellent addition to their linebackers crew.