With the NFL draft right around the corner, Ravens fans are wondering who will be the next “gem” that Ozzie Newsome will find.
When I went on the air for my five minutes, I discussed what I think the Ravens should do with their first round pick, so in this blog I figured I would discuss the best and worst past draft picks in the history of this franchise.
Everyone believes that Ozzie Newsome is a draft genius, and his track record would indicate it, however, like all GM’s he has missed on a few picks.
Here is my list of the top 5 best and worst draft picks in Ravens history.
1. Ray Lewis, 1st round, 1996, 26th overall:
In their first draft as a franchise the Ravens selected Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis in the first round. Lewis was a tremendous talent coming out of Miami but not many people knew he would be this good. The fact that there are 25 players selected a head of him, leaves everyone scratching their head.
The Ravens saw something in Lewis that nobody else saw, and we have reaped the rewards because of it.
Ray Lewis will undoubtedly go down as the greatest player to ever don a Ravens uniform and, in my opinion, the greatest middle linebacker of all time.
2. Ed Reed, 1st round, 2002, 24th overall:
This is the only time that I ever got the best of Mel Kiper. In the months leading up to the draft, Kiper was predicting the Ravens to draft a myriad of players and Reed’s name never came up. I had been saying since the season had ended that the Ravens should and would pick Reed, they did, and the rest is history.
Reed was the second safety chosen after Roy Williams, but has been more productive then Williams has.
Reed is the best “ball hawking” safety to ever play the game. If he was not slowed by a neck injury, he would have won his second Defensive MVP award this season. Ed Reed could go down as the best Safety in NFL history, and he is a definite Hall of Famer when he retires.
3. Jonathan Ogden,1st round, 1996, 4th overall:
I remember watching this draft with my dad and getting upset because the Ravens did not draft Lawrence Phillips, and drafted a left tackle instead. It is safe to say that after watching Ogden I quickly got over this.
Outside of Quarterback, Left Tackle might be the most important position in football, and Ogden might go down as the best to ever play the game. Ogden was the Ravens first ever draft pick and will be the Ravens first Hall of Famer.
4. Peter Boulware, 1st round, 1997, 4th overall:
Boulware played in the shadow of Ray Lewis his entire career, but he will go down as one of the best Ravens to ever play.
Boulware is the team’s All- time sack leader with 70 for his career. Boulware was slowed by injury a lot his career so his numbers could have been even bigger.
The 4 time Pro Bowler is in the Ravens ring of honor and could one day, be Canton bound.
5. Terrell Suggs, 1st round, 2004, 10th overall:
I wavered back and forth between Suggs, McAllister and Jamal Lewis on who to put in this spot but ultimately I decided on Suggs.
Suggs already has 53 sacks in just six seasons and will pass Boulware as the team’s All-Time sack leader when his career is over.
Suggs was projected as a top five pick coming out of Arizona St., but a slow time in the 40 yard dash, kept nine teams from drafting him.
When Suggs got drafted in 2003, he was the youngest player to ever get drafted which says something about how great of football player he was.
His career will likely end in Canton Ohio and GMs everywhere will be kicking themselves for putting too much stock in the 40 yard dash time for a guy that only needs to run 10 yards to sack the quarterback.
It is still too early in his career to put Joe Flacco on this list, although I think by the end of his career he might go down as the best Ravens draft pick of All- Time.
5. Patrick Johnson, 2nd round, 1998, 42nd overall:
Johnson was the first receiver on the long list of receivers that were supposed to be” the guy” and then not have any results.
Johnson got picked over the likes of Joe Jurivicus, Az Hakim and Hines Ward who had better careers then he did.
Johnson ranks 19th all time on the Ravens career receiving list behind the likes of Willis McGahee, Floyd Turner, Jamal Lewis, Eric Green and Jermaine Lewis.
His lack of stats can be contributed to the ineptitude at the quarterback position, however, other receivers, were able to put up 3 times the yards that Johnson was in the same number of seasons, with the same quarterbacks.
In his most productive season he amassed only 526 yards and three touchdowns. Patrick Johnson was one of many “busts” on the offensive side of the ball.
4. Kyle Boller, 1st round, 2003, 19thoverall:
I am one of the few people out there that was Boller supporter. He made this list not just because of his stats, but because the Ravens drafted him in the first round, when he was not projected as such. The Ravens had to trade up to get Boller and gave up their 1st round pick the next season.
Boller was put in a no win situation the minute he was drafted. He was thrown into the fire from day one and should not have been named the starter the second he arrived in Baltimore. Boller’s stats coupled with the Ravens trading up to get him and the way they handled him lands Kyle Boller on this list.
Regardless of what you thought of the guy, it was a classless act to boo him when he got hurt. I wish Kyle all the best.
3. Dan Cody, 2nd round, 2005, 53rd overall:
Cody was a big time talent coming out of Oklahoma and was one of the best players on one of the best defenses in college football.
Many of the “experts” believed that Cody was a mid to late first round player, and everyone was shocked to see him fall so far.
Cody had some character and injury questions coming out of college, but people believed that his on field production would outweigh these concerns.
Cody missed his entire rookie season with due to an injury and most of 2006. His career stats are 3 games played and 1 assisted tackle.
2. Devard Darling, 3rd round, 2004, 82nd overall:
Darling was supposed to be the receiver that turned the Ravens offense and is another in the long line of wide outs that did not produce for the Ravens.
Darling was drafted over the likes of Jerricho Cotchery, Ernest Wilford and D.J Hackett all of whom have had better careers then him.
Darling had character issues that landed him at Washington St, but he had the talent to be one of the best receivers in college football.
Darling finished with 20 receptions, 331 yards and three touchdowns in 19 career games with Ravens but somehow was able to get a contract from the Kansas City Chiefs. Darling ranks 40th on the Ravens All-time receiving list.
1. Travis Taylor, 1st round, 2000, 10th overall:
Despite being the Ravens 3rd all time leading receiver, Travis Taylor ranks as the worst draft pick in Ravens history. Taylor failed to break the 1000 yard receiving mark in any of his seasons with the Ravens, finishing with 869 yards in 2002, his best season.
Receivers drafted in the 1st round that finish with 2758 yards and 15 touchdowns in five seasons with a team, go down as “busts” and that is precisely what Taylor is.
Taylor was too inconsistent and dropped too many passes to be even a number 2 receiver in the NFL, but was our “number 1” for years. Enough said.
Congrats, Travis, you are the worst pick in Ravens history. Have fun in Oakland and thanks for nothing.