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Ravens Favorite Draft Picks In Franchise History

Posted May 5, 2014

Excluding Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis, who do the guys in charge of making picks like most?

General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s track record is as impressive as anyone when it comes to making draft picks. 

His first two picks ever were Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden and future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, and he has been the key architect behind the Ravens’ two Super Bowl champions.

In his 18 drafts, Newsome has brought in 17 Pro Bowlers that have combined to earn 69 Pro Bowl selections. He has also selected three Defensive Players of the Year, an Offensive Player of the Year and two Super Bowl MVPs.

Ogden and Lewis will forever be tied to Newsome’s success, but outside of them, the Ravens general manager has two other picks he considers his favorites: running back Jamal Lewis and cornerback Duane Starks.

“The guy that has been with me the longest is [Assistant General Manager] Eric DeCosta, and if you were to ask him that question he would say you’d have to debate between Jamal Lewis and Duane Starks,” Newsome said during an interview leading up to this week’s NFL Draft.

“I think those would probably be my two favorite picks if I was just to look back. I’ve had some great choices over the years, but I think those two are right at the top.”

The Ravens took Starks with the 10th-overall pick in 1998 and selected Lewis with the No. 5 pick in 2000. Both players went on to play critical roles in the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV victory.

Starks played four seasons in Baltimore, and was a starting cornerback on the 2000 team that featured one of the best defenses in NFL history. The Ravens allowed just 10.3 points per game that season, and Starks also made a critical interception to seal the Super Bowl victory over the Giants.

“Probably the fun guy, the guy that I enjoyed being around the most, was Duane Starks,” Newsome said. “He was maybe 5-10, 5-11, 175-pounds soaking wet. But he played bigger. And in the Super Bowl in 2000 he came up with the big pick.”

With Lewis, the Ravens picked a bruising running back that became the focal point of the offense during his six years in Baltimore. He rushed for 1,364 yards and six touchdowns during his rookie campaign, and he was the most dangerous offensive weapon on the Super Bowl team.

Newsome has said on previous occasions that the Ravens would have been in the running to win back-to-back Super Bowls if Lewis had not torn his ACL in 2001. He eventually returned from that injury and rushed for a franchise-record 2,066 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2003.

Lewis is now in the Ravens Ring of Honor.

“With Jamal, we were able to trade our second-round pick the year before to get the fifth pick in the [2000] draft, and then of course he went on to rush for over 2,000 yards,” Newsome said.

 

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