Injury bugs, wasted draft picks, and poor free agent signings have all led to a few extremely truncated careers in Baltimore. Some were destined to be a #1 in their position but started a single game, while others never saw a snap on the field in purple and black.
Unfortunately, the proverbial ‘bust’ comes with the territory of every professional sports franchise. Some left with a whimper, while others had fans equipped with pitch forks and torches escorting them out of town.
In regards to these busts, who were the worst of the worst here in Baltimore? Who had fans shaking their heads in disappointment for a wasted high pick? Clutching their fists in frustration while the player hung out on the trainers table? Shrugging their shoulders in utter confusion when their buddies say “hey, what ever happened to _____?”
RT Leon Searcy
What happened? After Leon Searcy started 111 of a possible 112 games between the Steelers & the Jags (’93-’99) he spent the ’00 season riding pine with a torn quad. No matter, as the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens had seen his potential- Searcy was a Pro-Bowler in ’99, and an alternate the three seasons prior to that. The Ravens inked Searcy to a five-year $31.5 million contract in ’01 (back when the cap was in the mid-$60M range). Alas, Searcy never played a down for the Ravens in the regular season.
What Could Have Been: Coupled with the awful signing of Elvis Grbac (5 years, $30M), the 2001 free agency period was not kind to the Ravens. Ultimately they took a massive risk on a player who just sat out an entire season, fell for some Drew Rosenhaus trickery, and paid for it in the end. That money could have easily been allocated elsewhere to help bolster the roster. While a 10-6 season resulting in a playoff stint wasn’t a total failure, the combo of no Searcy, awful Grbac, and Jamal Lewis‘ injury had this team destined for mediocrity from the get-go.
LB Dan Cody
What happened: Oklahoma linebacker Dan Cody was selected in the 2nd Round (53rd overall) by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2005 draft. At the time, the pick was applauded, as Cody had ‘slipped’ down draft board and landed in the Ravens’ lap. His first preseason increased the hype even more, as Cody showed some serious potential… then it all came crashing down. Cody missed the entire 2005 season, played only two games in the 2006 season (starting none) and that’s all she wrote for the once high prospect.
What could have been: Since the Ravens had already opted to take Mark Clayton (Rd1/22) over Roddy White (RD1/27), it’s only logical to assume they wouldn’t be interested in a guy like Vincent Jackson, (RD2/61) who was taken eight picks after Cody. And honestly, I can’t blame the Ravens here. Cody was expected to do well, and was sidelined by injuries. He likely would have been a solid player on the defense had he not been as fragile as the ego of a [insert whichever political party you oppose].
What Happened: Nothing. That’s what happened. The Ravens traded a 4th round pick to the Buffalo Bills in 2011 in exchange for the veteran receiver to help bolster the offense. Instead? The Ravens wasted a 4th round pick on a receiver who started only two games, racked up a whopping four receptions for 74 yards, and never saw pay dirt in his lone season with the Ravens.
There was a whole dropped TD catch in the playoffs or something too I think, but for some unknown reason, that whole part of the season is a blur for me, as if I have subconsciously blocked it out…
What could have been: You can look at this from two angles. The first angle, focuses on Evans’ dropped TD. The Ravens would have moved on to Super Bowl XLVI to face the Eli Manning-led New York Giants. The franchise could potentially be sitting on a 3rd Lombardi right now…
(repress the anger, control the animosity)
On the flip side, had the Ravens never traded for Evans at all, they would have kept their 4th round pick. While the draft beyond that 4th rounder was essentially devoid of talent, I’m sure Ozzie could have paired it up to trade up the board into the early 4th (they would have had three 4th rounders) to make magic happen.
What happened: The Ravens selected Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle with their 1st selection (43rd overall) in the 2010 NFL draft. Not long before training camp, Kindle fell down the stairs in his home, fractured his skull, and was never the same. He missed the entire 2010 season, along with the first three weeks of 2011. Beyond that he was, at best, a practice squad player, who was inevitably cut a few years later.
What could have been: The Ravens originally had the 25th pick in the 2010 draft before trading with the Denver Broncos, and dropping back to the 43rd pick, where they took Kindle. Had they kept their selection at 25, the Ravens would have had their choice of DT Dan Williams (ARI), CB Devin McCourty (NE), or some TE who goes by Gronk (NE) who was selected with the 42nd pick- right before Kindle.
Arthur Brown of the Baltimore Ravens looks on at training camp.
What happened: With the great Ray Lewis riding into the sunset with a Lombardi Trophy en tow, the Ravens had a dire need to fill 52’s void at inside linebacker. As such, with the 54th selection in the draft, they nabbed Arthur Brown from Kansas State. Brown’s sideline-to-sideline speed was a topic of conversation at the draft table, with rumbling of Lewis comparisons abound. Alas, Brown failed to become anything more than a blip on the radar due to sure, injuries, but more so ineffectiveness and a reported inability to grasp the playbook. He was released by the Ravens in September 2016. Since then he has been a member of the Jags (then cut), Jets (then cut), and currently resides on the Seahawks roster.
What could have been: With Ed Reed headed out of town after the Ravens decided not to bring him back, the team needed safety help. BAD. This draft fell before the Ray Rice fiasco that terrified the Ravens organization from ever taking a player with any question marks. They were still risk takers, and as such, should have drafted Tyrann Matthieu (ARI @ 69) instead of Matt Elam @ 32 (wasn’t the most popular pick at the time either). Tight end was also a bit of a liability at the time as well, and Travis Kelce (KC @ 63) was sitting there for the taking.
That’s my list. Tell us me who I missed in the comments!