Throughout the course of the Baltimore Ravens' history, we have had our fair sure of booms and busts in the draft. Whether it be drafting two Hall-of-famers in the 1996 draft, as we will discuss later in the post, or taking Kyle Boller with the 19th pick of the 2003 draft, we've certainly had our ups and downs. So where do we begin in our evaluation of the Baltimore Ravens' draft history? Well from the beginning, of course!
The year was 1996, and the Cleveland Browns had just relocated to Baltimore amidst a slew of controversy (which resulted in the NFL and representatives from Cleveland ultimately agreeing upon plans for the Browns to be reinstated "no later than 1999"), and the new Ravens of Baltimore were looking to start off their franchise's history with a bang. So let's review the 1996 draft, analyzing each player the Baltimore Ravens drafted in chronological order.
(More after "The Jump"...)
1st Round (4th overall): Jonathan Ogden (LT): With the first ever pick of the Baltimore Ravens history, Ozzie Newsome selected Jonathan Ogden; the monstrous wall of a human out of UCLA. Jonathan Ogden would go on to serve as the Ravens' offensive-corner stone to build around for years to come, while paving his way to the Hall of Fame (probably out of the crushed dreams of defensive lineman).
1st Round (26th overall): Ray Lewis (LB): At the time it didn't seem like a good pick. What crazy person would draft an undersized MLB in the first round of the NFL draft? That crazy person would be Ozzie Newsome. Ray Lewis has solidified himself as quite possibly the best linebacker in NFL history over the course of his 16 year career, and was the centerpiece of the defense that led the Baltimore Ravens to their first Super Bowl victory.
2nd Round (55th overall): Deron Jenkins (CB): Well, you know what they say; "two out of three ain't bad". Deron Jenkins went on to start only 30 of his 63 games with the Baltimore Ravens, amassing 202 tackles, 2 interceptions, and a sack during his less than stellar tenure. Deron Jenkins eventually went on to play for the Charger and Titans before finally leaving to play in the Arena Football League. Little bit of a fun (and slightly depressing) fact; Brian Dawkins, Terrell Owens, and Tedy Bruschi were all available at the time of this selection.
5th Round (153rd overall): Jermaine Lewis (WR): While Jermaine Lewis never became a dominant receiver for the Baltimore Ravens, he was an elite kick-off/punt returner. He made the Pro-bowl twice in his tenure with the Ravens as a returner, and led the league in various return statistics in several seasons. Most of us remember him most by his inspired performance in the Super Bowl victory over the Giants following the birth of his still born child, Geronimo. Over the course of his time with the Ravens, Lewis was a solid returner, but unimpressive receiver.
6th Round (172nd overall): Dexter Daniels (LB): Dexter Daniels played in 4 games with the Baltimore Ravens in the 1996 season, collecting zero statistics and failing to stay with the team after the season. And while you can't exactly call a 6th round pick a bust, he was just about as disappointing as it gets.
6th Round (186th overall): James Roe (WR): James Roe played for the Baltimore Ravens for 3 years, starting 7 games, collecting 15 receptions, 239 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Despite what his Wikipedia page may have you believe, he is not the best player ever. At least set foot on the field though, which brings me to Jon Stark.
7th Round (238th overall): Jon Stark (QB): Who? Exactly. It's pretty hard to be less impressive than Dexter Daniels, but Jon Stark proved that anything is possible. He spent one season with the Baltimore Ravens, and never set foot on the field once.
In conclusion, the Baltimore Ravens 1996 draft certainly had it's share of both studs and duds, but I say any draft where you pick two future Hall of Famers is a successful one.