Which Ravens Are Bound For Canton?
On February 3rd the Ravens Roost within the confines of the Pro Football Hall of Fame gained a new member with the induction of #52 ILB Ray Lewis.
He joins his fellow draft mate and longtime teammate #75 LT Jonathan Ogden as the first two Ravens to wear a yellow jacket. The first two drafts picks, and first round picks, in Ravens history are now first-ballot hall of famers.
This is simply momentous and likely to go unmatched in the future.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) February 4, 2018
Ravens current GM Ozzie Newsome struck gold with the selection of these two men that only adds to an already distinguished career and likely strengthens his own resume for candidacy for induction into Canton as a contributor.
Astute Ravens fans know, these two icons are not the only two pieces of gold in Ozzie’s treasure chest of 181 draft selections.
What other homegrown Ravens will likely join Ogden and Lewis in Canton one day?
On the immediate horizon is #20 S Ed Reed, a first round draft pick in 2002, who will be the 3rd member to join the roost in his first year of eligibility in 2019.
His brief first-ballot worthy resume: 9-time Pro Bowler, 5-time 1st Team All-Pro selection, and 2004 AP Defensive Player of the Year.
Here are their brief Hall of Fame resumes:
Terrell Suggs – 1st round draft pick in 2003, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2003), 7-time Pro Bowler, 1st Team All-Pro selection (2011), and AP Defensive Player of the Year (2011).
Marshal Yanda – 3rd round pick in 2007, 6 straight Pro Bowls (2011-2016), 2-time 1st Team All-Pro selection; an injury shortened his 2017 season to only two games and he might need another year or two to solidify his selection.
Are there any others?
Former Raven and 2006 first round pick #92 DT Haloti Ngata might be considered a candidate by some fans.
He is a 5-time Pro Bowler and 2-time 1st Team All-Pro selection. Unfortunately, his resume for Canton falls short on honors when compared to DTs already inducted like Joe Greene, John Randle, Randy White, Cortez Kennedy, and even Warren Sapp, which puts him in the ‘hall of the very good’ but, very likely, not in the Hall of Fame.
Honestly, the next player that comes to mind is #9 K Justin Tucker who wasn’t even drafted. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl twice and a 1st Team All-Pro selection twice. He currently is the most accurate kicker in history after his first 5 years.
Certainly, Tucker has had a great start to a potential Hall of Fame resume but he will likely have to kick for another 15 to 20 years to build a body of work comparable to Morten Anderson, who is one of two place-kickers with a yellow jacket – the other being Jan Stenerud.
In addition, his selection in part could also depend on whether other kickers get elected in. Still way too early for Tucker to make travel arrangements, but he is still young.
The casual fan might bring up 4-year pro 2014 1st round pick #57 ILB C.J. Mosely.
Yes, he is talented and has made the Pro Bowl 3 out of his first 4 years, but does he pass the eyeball test as a consistent dominant force and game-changer?
For C.J. to get serious consideration he is going to have to raise his game up to another level to warrant distinguished honors like a DPOY award (or two), 1st Team All-Pro selections, and Pro Bowl selections.
Not impossible, but unless he ramps it up C.J. is likely destined for the ‘hall of the very good’.
Like Tucker he is young, so time is still on his side.
That is it folks. There are no other potential candidates on the current roster.
After Suggs and Yanda follow Reed into the Ravens Roost in Canton, there will be a large gap of time until another Ravens draft pick is announced for enshrinement. [Queue the crickets]
The question is, why?
We only need to look towards the six-year period from 2008 to 2013 where the Ravens failed to draft any impact players. There’s your culprit. Poor drafting!
The six-year drought has not only left the Ravens without consistent game-changing star-studded players, but has left the roster without sufficient depth that has in part lead to their 41-41 record since the beginning of 2013.
Maybe, just maybe the Ravens are starting to climb their way out with the selections of promising young first round picks like #79 LT Ronnie Stanley (2016) and #29 CB Marlon Humphrey (2017).
Wouldn’t it be fitting for Ozzie to hand over the keys to his successor at GM, Eric DeCosta, with a few pieces of gold from his last draft class this year, similar to how his very first draft class started?
The Ravens Roost in Canton will grow over the better part of the next decade and then we’ll have a waiting period.
In the meantime, we will see if Eric DeCosta mines some gold of his own from drafts beginning in 2019.
If so, not only could there be more gold jackets off the field sometime in the future, but more importantly, there may be more wins on it.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) February 4, 2018
[All stats and information courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com]