Ray Lewis Quiets Crowd
Many articles about the Baltimore Ravens draft history has focused on their first round success, as well as GM Ozzie Newsome's ability to find that star player later on the second day of the draft. However, this coming Saturday afternoon, the Ravens will be picking at the 26th position in the first round (actually, it will probably be Saturday evening before the Ravens' turn comes up). Therefore, in comparison, I decided to look at the past drafts that Baltimore has had when they picked 20th or higher in the first two rounds. Here's what I found they have been able to accomplish picking in the latter parts of each round. Remember, I'm only looking at those drafts where the Ravens picked in positions 20-32 of that round. They may have taken a player earlier in the round when they had multiple picks in a round. However, for purposes of comparison, I am only looking at the later picks in that round. So here is what and who I found:
1996: Round 1: Ray Lewis (LB - #26); Round 2: DeRon Jenkins (DB - #25) NOTE: Lewis of course, is the all time best Raven ever, and Jenkins was a bust.
1997: Round 2: Kim Herring (S - #28) NOTE: Herring was a major contributor when the Ravens won the Super Bowl, but then signed with the St. Louis Rams as a free agent and dissolved into mediocrity like so many former Ravens.
1998-2000: No picks in the 20's in either round.
2001: Round 1: Todd Heap (TE - #31); Round 2: Gary Baxter (DB - #31) NOTE: Heap went on to Pro Bowl status but has been underachieving recently while Baxter was looking to be a fixture here but then signed with the Cleveland Browns, got injured shortly thereafter in his first season there and never played again. Meanwhile the Ravens signed veteran cornerback Samari Rolle to replace Baxter.
2002: Round 1: Ed Reed (S - #24); Round 2: Anthony Weaver (DT - #20) NOTE: Reed, just like Ray Lewis, is a cornerstone of this current Ravens defense and arguably should have been the NFL's Defensive POY in 2008. Weaver was a solid performer as a reserve on the d-line but is no longer with the team.
2003-2004: No picks in the 20's in either round.
2005: Round 1: Mark Clayton (WR - #22); Round 2: Dan Cody (LB - #21), Adam Terry (OL - #32) NOTE: Clayton improved greatly in 2008 with a solid QB to throw to him, and Terry is an important piece on the greatly improved offensive line. Unfortunately, Cody hurt his knee in his first Training Camp and then re-injured himself and never really got on the field in his short career.
2006: Round 2: Chris Chester (G - #24) NOTE: Chester has been a valuable reserve and played very respectable for most of last season at RG for the injured Marshall Yanda.
2007: Round 1: Ben Grubbs (G - #29) NOTE: Grubbs started at RG as a rookie and is now firmly entrenched at LG as one of the league's best at that position.
2008: Round 2: Ray Rice (RB - #24) NOTE: Rice might have been one of the steals of the draft last season until injury and a logjam at RB limited his contributions. However, he is figured to get a significant piece of the action this season, as he brings a change of pace and excitement to the field every time he touches the ball.
So there's our picks late in the first two rounds in Ravens' team history. Hopefully, GM Ozzie Newsome will pull off another stunner that, while we might not know how significant the pick is for a couple of years, they will surely contribute right away to what is looking like a serious run at the playoffs and the Super Bowl.