2012 NFL Draft: Baltimore Ravens Top 5 All-Time 1st-Round Draft Picks

John Jenkins@jjenksIIContributor IIIApril 24, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Baltimore Ravens Top 5 All-Time 1st-Round Draft Picks

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    With the 2012 NFL draft just around the corner one cannot help but think about the past, well at least a little.  Since 1996, the Baltimore Ravens have made 17 first-round draft picks.  Most of those picks have worked out well for the Ravens.  Ozzie Newsome will hope to continue his success in the draft this week.

    It is a tough call to name just five of the best first-round picks for the Ravens.  This list will take into account the success of the player taken and also the value.  So here is the top five.

No. 5: Defensive Tackle Haloti Ngata

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    Does everyone remember when Mark Schlereth blasted the Baltimore Ravens for drafting Haloti Ngata at No. 12 overall in the 2006 NFL draft?  I am paraphrasing here but he basically labeled Ngata as a bust because he allegedly took plays off.

    Well if he takes plays off most Ravens fans have not noticed.  Neither have the Pro Bowl voters.  The Oregon product has started 92 games for the Ravens while collecting 17 sacks, three interceptions and 316 total tackles.  He has made three Pro Bowls and has been a major contributor to five Ravens playoff teams.

No. 4: Outside Linebacker/Defensive End Terrell Suggs

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    Who could forget the 2003 NFL draft?  The Ravens had their eye on Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich and tried to trade picks with the Minnesota Vikings.  The Vikings had issues with their phone lines and the rest is history.  The Jags got Leftwich, the Vikings wound up with defensive tackle Kevin Williams and the Ravens grabbed a young pass-rusher by the name of Terrell Suggs.

    Imagine what would have happened if the Ravens completed the trade.  They would have drafted a quarterback who would have been a complete bust...oh wait...

    Suggs has been one of the best players in the NFL since he was drafted.  Last season was one of his best, which is why he was named the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

    The Arizona State product has made five Pro Bowls.  He has played 141 games while compiling 82.5 Sacks.

No. 3: Offensive Tackle Jonathan Ogden

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    When the Ravens held their first draft in 1996, Art Model and many experts thought that Ozzie Newsome should select running back Lawrence Phillips out of Nebraska.  Newsome decided to draft the best player available.  Even though the Ravens were already set at tackle with Wally Williams, the Baltimore Ravens made Jonathan Ogden their first ever draft pick.

    Philips never lived up to his potential and all Jonathan Ogden did was make 11 Pro Bowls.  Jonathan Ogden started 176 games and dominated almost every defensive end who came his way.  Ogden was also a member of the Ravens 2000 Super Bowl Championship team.

    We will see Ogden in Canton, Ohio in the near future.

No. 2: Safety Ed Reed

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    It was 2002 and the Baltimore Ravens were in rebuilding mode.  What was their first major move in the rebuilding effort?  The Ravens drafted a ball-hawking safety from the University of Miami named Ed Reed at 24th overall.  He was the second safety drafted after Roy Williams was selected by the Dallas Cowboys at No. 8 overall.

    Reed is one of the greatest playmakers in NFL history.  He was the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was named to eight Pro Bowls.  Ed Reed holds the longest interception returned for a touchdown, which stands at 109 yards.  His 57 interceptions have him tied for 11th all time.

No. 1: Middle Linebacker Ray Lewis

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    Future Hall of Famer and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis was selected 26th overall in the 1996 NFL draft.  Let us say that again, 26th overall.  It is not quite the steal that Tom Brady was some years later, but it was a steal none the less.

    Lewis combined with teammate Jonathan Ogden to make one of the all-time best drafts by one team.  Both are future Hall of Famers and both went in the same round, 22 picks apart.  Three linebackers were drafted before Lewis and none had the career that he did.

    He was the 2000 Super Bowl MVP, where he led one of the greatest NFL defenses ever.  Lewis has been selected to 13 Pro Bowls (a record for middle linebackers) and is the only player to have at least 40 sacks and 30 interceptions.

    See you in Canton, Ray.