From Ray Lewis to The Bachelor: Ravens’ best, worst and quirkiest picks - Jamison Hensley
Best: LB Ray Lewis (1996). Lewis came into the league as the 26th overall pick, sliding down the first round because he was considered undersized. Seventeen years later, he retired with a legacy that was larger than life. His accolades include two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, two Super Bowl rings, 12 Pro Bowls and one Super Bowl MVP. Even though Lewis is the obvious pick here, Ogden, Reed and Terrell Suggs would’ve ranked as the best first-round picks for many other teams.
Best: RB Ray Rice (2008). The Ravens traded back 17 spots in the second round and still landed their all-time leader in scrimmage yards (9,214). While Rice’s career ended in scandal, he was a catalyst for the Ravens’ second Super Bowl title, converting a fourth-and-29 in San Diego, a play he affectionately labeled, “Hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle.”
From fan to teammate: CB Lardarius Webb (2009). In 2008, Webb idolized Reed so much that he got him to autograph a Ravens cap after Baltimore’s playoff win in Miami. A year later, he was making plays alongside Reed. Webb is the only player in Ravens history to return a punt, kickoff and interception for a touchdown.
Best: WR Jermaine Lewis (1996). The best returner in franchise history was selected in the team’s remarkable first draft. His 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown sealed the Ravens’ first Super Bowl triumph.
Best: OLB Adalius Thomas (2000). The most versatile player in team history is also the Ravens’ best player drafted after the third round. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Thomas lined up at every position on defense in 2005.
NFL Draft 2020: 7 potential Baltimore Ravens targets who make the most sense at pick No. 28 - Aaron Kasinitz
Cesar Ruiz, Center/guard, Michigan
Ruiz might be the best interior offensive lineman in the draft class, and Baltimore has used college centers like Matt Skura and Bradley Bozeman as guards in recent seasons. And during a year in which a pandemic has upended typical business, coach John Harbuagh might feel most comfortable welcoming a prospect who comes with a scouting report from his brother, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.
It’s not typical of the Ravens to reach too far for need in the draft — but there’s a decent chance Ruiz is the best player available at No. 28. That’d certainly be convenient.
Mid-Round Pass Rushers Who Fit the Ravens - Clifton Brown
Josh Uche, Michigan
Junior, 6-foot-1, 245 pounds; 33 tackles, 10.5 for loss, 7.5 sacks
His college coach, Jim Harbaugh, can provide detailed information on Uche to Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. Uche will be an undersized for his position in the NFL, but he’s explosive and could help a defense immediately as a situational pass rusher.
”I love Josh Uche, but again, he’s a unique player because he’s an undersized kind of a 3-4,” Jeremiah said. “He’s going to be a speed rusher coming off the edge who’s got a real knack and a lot of ability there, but he’s somebody that on run downs, he’s going to have a little bit of an issue. But he’s a good player.”
Trevis Gipson, Tulsa – A strong senior season with eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss puts him on the radar.
EDGE: JONATHAN GARVIN, MIAMI
Pass rushers with the traits Jonathan Garvin has are tough to find so I am confused as to why there isn’t more buzz around him. Garvin measures 6-foot-4 and 263 pounds, has 34-inch arms and logged a 36-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-5 broad jump. He’s an explosive pass rusher with good flexibility, length and strength.
His initial steps are capable of truly stressing blockers with the quickness and depth he can gain to create a half-man relationship and let his hands go to work. Garvin has the flexibility needed to bend and corner the outside hip of offensive tackles, and he closes in a hurry.
He is inconsistent and is still developing; Garvin doesn’t turn 21 until late July. His physical tools are impressive. He’s racked up 26 tackles for loss, 10 1/2 sacks and two forced fumbles over the last two seasons. Garvin has the traits for those playmaking flashes to show up in the NFL.
S XAVIER MCKINNEY, ALABAMA
Biggest Pro: Versatility
There have been only five safeties to play over 450 snaps in the box, slot and at free safety over the past two years. And only one of those five produced 70.0-plus grades at all three of those alignments: Xavier McKinney. Regardless of alignment or role, McKinney performed at a high level — he produced grades above 79.0 against the run, as a pass rusher and in coverage in each of the past two seasons. Isaiah Simmons is infamously known for his versatility, and while McKinney isn’t on that same level, he deserves more respect for this skill of his.
Biggest Con: Athleticism isn’t bad, but nothing you really get excited about
McKinney’s athleticism is nothing to get excited about or anything you’ll say “wow” to, but it’s nothing bad. As PFF’s Mike Renner has said, McKinney is fluid in coverage and has great ball skills. He has consistently performed at a high level in the SEC and is more than deserving of being taken in the first round.