With the Ravens 14th year being a part of the NFL Draft coming this weekend, I thought it be nice to share with every Ravens fan who I think are our all time greatest picks in each round of the draft. Since coming into the National Football League in 1996, the Baltimore Ravens have cemented themselves as one of the elite organizations at trandsceding college standouts into top-notch professional players. No matter what round or what pick it may be, Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and the rest of our front office have had unheard of accomplishments in creating "football players." This is our rounds one through seven all time greatest draft picks that have wore the beloved purple and black. Lets break it down.
- 1st Round: LB, Ray Lewis - Miami, 1996: It is safe to say that the Ravens are the best in the league at not missing on their first round picks. As hard as it is for many of us to make the pick it here, I think it is a no brainer that Ray Lewis deserves this honor. Over his 13 year career, all with Baltimore, Ray has recorded 1625 tackles (1245 solo), 33.5 sacks and 28 interceptions. Not only is Ray one of the best Linebackers to ever play the game, but he is arguably the best Middle Linebacker to ever play the position. The face of our franchise and our leader of this team. Ray has solidified his spot in Canton with 2 DPOY awards and Superbowl XXXV MVP. This organization is not where it is today without the selection of Ray Lewis and he will always have a place in our hearts.
- Runner-Ups: Jonothon Ogden, Peter Boulware, Chris McAlister, Jamal Lewis, Todd Heap, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Joe Flacco
- 2nd Round: LB, Jamie Sharper - Virginia, 1997: Sharper played a very important role in our 2000 defense being considered one of the best of all time. Jamie was a solid tackler and was able to clean up the tackles that Ray could not get because of the double teams that others put on him. Sharper went on to have a some what successful season on the expansion team, Houston Texans when he was taken in the expansion draft.
- Runner-Ups: Kim Herring, Anthony Weaver, Chris Chester, Ray Rice, Adam Terry
3rd Round: QB, Chris Redman - Louisville, 2000: With the 3rd round considered being a rather high pick, it is strange that we have not had too many players make contributions like Redman did. The Ravens have not drafted in the 3rd round 5 out of 13 years, so that could be a reason. Redman gets the edge hear because he did QB our offense to some solid wins and was the QB when Todd Heap was a pro bowl player. Redman is actually one of the all time passing leaders in NCAA Div.1 football history believe it or not. I did not want to give the spot to Tavares Gooden or Tom Zbikowski, yet. I feel Gooden will turn out to be our best 3rd round selection disregarding what we do in the draft this year. This is a spot that can be debated.
- Runner-Ups: Musa Smith, Casey Rabach, Marshal Yanda, Tavares Gooden, Tom Zbikowski
- 4th Round: LB, Edgerton Hartwell - Western Illinois, 2001: Jason Brown and Jarret Johnson could be argued here but Brown did not have enough time in purple to show us he deserves this spot and Jarrett has yet to put up numbers that Hartwell did. So be it, Ed Hartwell is one of the most overlooked Ravens ever. It may be because he had a drastic fall off once leaving Baltimore, but Ed was able to perform at a high level for the Ravens during his time here. Very good tackler and played next to Ray Lewis very well.
^Very Close 2nd^: Le'Ron McClain: Had a break out season last year with putting up pro bowl numbers and being a huge piece in moving our offense into scoring positions. In a few more years, Le'Ron should be taking Hartwell's spot.
- Runner-Ups: Jarret Johnson, Jason Brown, Bradon Stokely, Edwin Mulitalo, Le'Ron McClain
- 5th Round: WR, Jermaine Lewis - Maryland, 1996: A lot of us will make a case that Dawan Landry deserves this spot and he will take over one day as well. But Rayisyourdaddy had me change my original choice of Jeff Mitchell, stating "In 6 years with us, he had 16 recieving TD’s, and 1983 receiving yards, including 2 years with around 700 yds and 6 tds. He also had 3200 kick return yards and 2750 punt return yds and 6 punt return td’s. And in 320 combined kick and punt returns, he only had 12 fumbles."
- Runner-Ups: Jeff Mitchell, Ovi Mughelli, Dawan Landry
- 6th Round: DE, Adalius Thomas - Southern Mississippi, 2000: In 2006, Adalius Thomas was considered to be the best all around defensive player in the league. A freakish athlete that literally played every position on the field in Rex Ryan's chaotic defense. Thomas was drafted out of college in 2000 as a Defensive End and transferred over to one of the games premier Outside Linebackers. Was a stud on Special Teams and made pro bowls in that position. When his name was called, he stepped up to be a dominating OLB. A great Raven, a mediocre Patriot.
- Runner-Ups: Chester Taylor, Sam Koch, Haruki Nakamura,
- 7th Round: DE, Dwayne Missouri - Northwestern, 2001: You are asking yourself, Who? Well, there are not really any guys that I even remember playing on the Ravens that were 7th round picks. If any of you got some, tell me. But the only reason I put him here is because he was a feature on our HBO series, "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Baltimore Ravens." Did it for a laugh. He never amounted to anything, so don't get too worked up over this round. Nothing really here.
- Runner-Ups: N/A
- Undrafted Free Agent: OL, Mike Flynn - Maine, 1997: Bart Scott is a runner-up here in my opinion because Flynn is one of the all time great Ravens. Started in 115 games of 134 played. A great piece in our offensive line and a reliable guy to snap the ball. Just an all-around great person and great Raven. Screw Bart Scott.
- Runner-Ups: Bart Scott. Priest Holmes
- Supplemental Draft: OL, Jared Gaither - Maryland, 2007: Filling in for the best Left Tackle of all time, Jon Ogden is very tough to do. But Jared Gaither has stopped us from worrying about Flacco's blindside. The man is bigger then Ogden is and works with J.O during training camp nearly every practice. I see great things to come from this young man.
- Runner-Ups: N/A
Thanks for reading if you got this far. This is my favorite part of the Off-Season and it is going to be a really exciting weekend. Go Ravens!