RAVENS DRAFT HISTORY: Round 1

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Photo by Kenneth K. Lam/Staff 9/1/96

1996 (4): Jonathan Ogden

The original Raven, Ogden made his mark on the league for years. The massive lineman went to the Pro Bowl 11 times, missing just one season, his rookie year. There’s no doubt that he was the best offensive lineman in Baltimore Ravens history – did the current Hall of Famer do enough during his career to be named the best first-rounder of all time? GRADE A+

1996 (26): Ray Lewis

You might know who this future Hall of Famer is. Lewis was a member of both Super Bowl teams (2000, 2012) and was a 13-time Pro-Bowler. Lewis was a three-time AP AFC Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. GRADE A+

1997 (4): Peter Boulware

The linebacker was a four-time Pro-Bowler and won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 1997. Boulware led the AFC in sacks in 2001, as he registered 70 total sacks during his career in Baltimore. Throughout his entire career, he was a Raven (1997-2005). GRADE B+

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1998 (10): Duane Starks

Starks would play a big role in the Baltimore defense through the Super Bowl XXXV. After the 2001 season he was able to test the free agent market, eventually playing for three other teams before retiring in 2007. He was never a Pro-Bowler. GRADE C

1999 (10): Chris McAlister

McAlister, who had 26 career interceptions, had an up-and-down ride with the Ravens. While thriving early in his career, he became injury prone and a locker room malcontent during his final season in Baltimore. He had a short and unforgettable stint as a member of the Saints. His career faded quickly as teams shied away from a player who didn’t respect the game. McAlister had three Pro Bowl appearances and was a member of the Super Bowl XXXV team. GRADE B

2000 (5): Jamal Lewis

Lewis, who rushed for 10,000+ yards during his career, will be best known for his 2003 record-breaking season in which he ran for over 2,000 yards. He was a Pro-Bowler, All Pro and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in ‘03. GRADE B+

2000 (10): Travis Taylor

Taylor will always be remembered as Ozzie Newsome’s first first-round bust. The highly-touted receiver was never able to live up to his pre-draft projections, spending just five seasons in Baltimore before being released. GRADE D

2001 (31): Todd Heap

Heap, a fan favorite, will go down as one of the better tight ends in Ravens’ history. The two-time Pro-Bowler made a big impact in the purple and black, scoring 41 touchdowns and six 500+ yard receiving seasons. GRADE B+

2002 (24): Ed Reed

“Reeeeeeeed” is the best playmaking safety the Ravens may ever have and arguably the league’s best ball hawk in the modern era. He led the NFL in interceptions three times, made the Pro-Bowl nine times, and earned AFC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2004. He owns several NFL records including most career interception return yards. GRADE A

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2003 (10): Terrell Suggs

Suggs is still on the Ravens active roster and is the franchise’s all-time sack leader. It’s safe to say the Ravens struck gold when they drafted him out of Arizona State. He has reached the Pro-bowl six times, won AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, and helped the team win a Super Bowl in 2012. GRADE A-

2003 (19): Kyle Boller

Yeah… about this…

Boller was clearly not the quarterback the Ravens had hoped for when they selected him in 2003. It might be best if we just forgot about this one. Clearly this was an extreme case of reaching for need. GRADE F

2005 (23): Mark Clayton

Must we remember this one, as well?

Clayton was never able to thrive in his five seasons with the Ravens. His best year with the team was in 2006 when he had five touchdowns during his 67 grabs. Clayton was released after the 2009 season, one where he had just 34 catches for 480 yards. GRADE C-

2006 (12) Haloti Ngata

Ngata has become a crucial part of the Ravens defense throughout his time in Baltimore. Named to five Pro-Bowls, the five-time All-Pro has made an impact in every season in the NFL. Ngata has 23.5 total sacks thus far in his career. GRADE A-

2007 (29): Ben Grubbs

Grubbs became a mainstay on the interior line during his time with the Ravens, missing only a handful of games through five seasons. He would go on to sign with the New Orleans Saints before 2012, just missing out on the Ravens’ second Super Bowl win. Grubbs was selected to two Pro-Bowls. GRADE B

2008 (18): Joe Flacco

This one turned out pretty well.

Flacco has been the franchise’s best quarterback of all-time, leading the team to an incredible 5 consecutive playoff runs and a Super Bowl title. He also shows up to work every day and has not missed a game in his 6 seasons. Despite the criticisms he regularly receives, the Ravens wouldn’t have had recent success without him. GRADE B+

2009 (23): Michael Oher

Oher’s play in Baltimore will always be controversial due to lack of consistency. Despite “The Blind Side” being his tagline throughout his time as a Raven, Oher failed to produce on the left side early, forcing the coaching staff to move him over to the right, a move that didn’t last long. Oher and the Ravens have now parted ways and it’s unclear if his career will ever justify his first round status. GRADE D

2011 (27): Jimmy Smith

While it’s early to tell if this was a solid selection, Smith did appear to find his groove during the 2013 season. He finally found a knack for playing well in pass coverage and it’ll be interesting to watch him grow during the next few years. GRADE C+

2013 (32): Matt Elam

It’s early, but Elam appears to have a spot on the Ravens defense for a while. He’ll have to get his pass coverage duties in order going forward, but Elam should live up to his first-round selection if he continues to improve. GRADE B-

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About Joe Wedra

Joe Wedra
Joe has a passion for the Ravens and spends a great amount of time analyzing and often scrutinizing the various moves within the organization. He is an NFL Draft enthusiast and spends much of his free time studying tape of upcoming prospects. Although he’s young, he’s committed to absorbing as...more

10 Raves on “RAVENS DRAFT HISTORY: Round 1

  1. Allan on said:

    Some of your grading is pretty harsh.

    Ed Reed is a slam-dunk future Hall of Famer. A+ all the way.
    McAlister was a stud and deserves more than a “B”. A-
    Ngata was an A.
    Flacco is at least an A, he’s won more games than anyone over 6 years, playoff record, SB MVP etc. etc. Seriously, a B+…really?
    Oher was a 5-year starter that never missed a game. He’s a C, nothing less.
    Elam is “Incomplete”.

    • Ellicottraven (@ellicottraven) on said:

      Ed Reed = A+
      Suggs – A
      Ngata – A-
      Flacco – B to B+ (depending on if he improves with all these new weapons, otherwise a solid B)
      Oher – C-
      Jimmy Smith – B
      Boulware – A-

      Totally unbiased grading in my opinion.

    • Unkledaddy on said:

      I think Orr’s grade should be C-…. Heap, Clayton and Jamal Lewis had their careers shortened by poor Boller play…..

    • Mike Z on said:

      Wow!! Over rated….that is a new one. Especially considering that his peers say he is one of the best:
      2nd round picks include:
      Ray Rice
      Paul Kruger
      Torrey Smith
      Kelechi Osemele
      Courtney Upshaw
      Arthur Brown
      Jaimie Sharper
      Gary Baxter

      All contributors to the success of this team…..

  2. Mike Z on said:

    My real only disagreement is Jimmy Smith….while the entire jury is still out……I think he showed enough improvement last season to be slightly higher than the C range.

    • Ebuhuel on said:

      I agree with mike, Jimmy Smith should be rated higher. He started warming up in 2012 season allready. Also you have to factor in he gets way more balls thrown his way cause ladarius webb is on the other side and he manages to shutdown a lot of players. In 2013 he was even ranked in the top 10 of cornerbacks of the league according to PFF

      Drafting well is very hard and after round one it is hit and miss talentwise, Ravens are on the correct way then for getting as many picks as you can to increase chances to find the diamonds in the rough. Lot of current big names where late round selections for example:
      - Tom Brady (6th)
      - Arian Foster (Undrafted)
      - Richard Sherman (5th)
      - Matt Birk (6th)
      - Shannon Sharpe (7th)

  3. Vince on said:

    Pretty solid analysis, but i agree with others that grading is a bit harsh. You also have to factor in when each player was selected in the first round, as a top 10 pick obviously has higher expected value then a pick from 20-32…

    - Reed is obviosuly an A+, 1st ballot HOF at pick 24
    - McCallister to me is a B+, perennial pro bowler, the abrupt end to his career keeps him from being an A (just like Boulware)
    - Heap is an A- to me, multiple time pro bowler at pick 32, injuries keeping him from higher grade
    - Suggs is an A, above Heap and Jamal but slightly below Ray and Ed
    - Flacco is an A, franchise QB at pick 18
    - Oher is a C, considering pick 23 for a 5 year starter

  4. Cheri on said:

    I would had screwed this Ravens team in 96 as I first wanted Phillips instead of Ogden and then after we passed on Phillips I wanted Mcleroy(sp) the RB out of Texas AM for those who remember the draft back then instead of Ray Lewis .YIKES.I remember loving the Boulware, Sharper duo of 97 and just loving those 2 picks. 1999 I was torn between McAlister and David Boston glad it went to Chris. 2000 I wanted to take with our 2 first round picks instead of Lewis and Taylor I wanted Plaxico Burress at 5 and Shaun Alexander at 10.Might give myself the edge there over the Ravens.Though Lewis was a beast.Loved the Heap pick in 01. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs wanting Ed Reed I was more excited about his pick then the Ravens themselves as they really wanted that LB that the Raiders took his name is slipping my mind right now. I wanted Reed so bad that I remember muting the sound and watching the scroll on the bottom hoping that would bring luck instead of listening to Tags call out the name Thank God it did and we picked him. 03 Remember being torn on Suggs or Leftwich but leaning towards Leftwich as I thought QB was more important then pass rusher glad I was wrong on that one. Trading up for Boller I had mix emotions about it. 2005 At the time I loved the Clayton pick Loved it.Opps ..Liked the Ngata and Grubbs picks. Flacco pick I remember being so so on him as I really wanted us to find a way to trade up for Matt Ryan.. 09 I wanted Oher or B. Pettigrew the TE for the Lions. Loved the Smith pick in 2011 but I was getting a liittle antsy with D. Bowers falling and thinking now my decision is a little harder between Smith and Bowers.Glad the Ravens were right.2013 wanted Manti Teo and Keenan Allen with my first 2 picks instead of Elam and Brown we shall see.

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