The week of the 2023 NFL Draft is upon us at last. In preparation for the first round on Thursday night, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin decided to take a look back at history and rank the top five players of all time selected with each of the top 32 picks. Despite only becoming a franchise in 1996, the Baltimore Ravens represented the list well with five players making the cut.
First up for the Ravens is quarterback Lamar Jackson. The 2019 unanimous MVP came in as the fourth-best player of all time to be selected at No. 32. Ahead of Jackson was Logan Mankins, Bob “The Geek” St. Clair, and Drew Brees, while Benjamin Watson came in one spot behind him.
Next for Baltimore was none other than Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis. It should come as no surprise that Lewis topped the list of the best players ever selected with the No. 26 pick, ahead of Alan Faneca, Joe DeLamielleure, Clay Matthews, and Dave Brown.
Up next for the Ravens is yet another Hall of Famer, as safety Ed Reed comes in second place for players selected with the No. 24 pick, behind only Aaron Rodgers and ahead of Dez Bryant, Calvin Hill, and Cameron Jordan.
The defensive trend continues as defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is up next for Baltimore. Ngata finished fourth among players selected with the No. 12 pick, ahead of Marshawn Lynch and behind Herb Adderly, Warren Sapp, and Clay Matthews Jr.
The final Raven to make the cut was yet another defensive star. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs finished third among players selected with the No. 10 pick, ahead of Jerome Bettis and Patrick Mahomes and behind Marcus Allen and Rod Woodson.
Baltimore is viewed as one of the better drafting teams in the entire NFL, and if this list is anything to go by, it is for good reason. The Ravens and general manager Eric DeCosta have a chance to add to the franchise’s legacy this week, starting with the No. 22 overall pick on Thursday night.