Updated June 26 at 4:39 PM **
Lewis, Ogden and Reed Crack Top 25 Players of Decade
Lewis was listed at no. 9, Ogden at no. 11 and Reed at no. 12. Lewis was the highest-ranked linebacker ahead of Derrick Brooks (no. 15) and Brian Urlacher (no.25), but was behind other defensive players Jason Taylor ( no. 5), Champ Bailey (no. 6) and Michael Strahan (no. 8).
AFC North blogger James Walker comments that nine may be a little low for the future hall-of-famer:
*"Lewis is the top-rated linebacker of this decade with a Super Bowl victory and seven Pro Bowls since 2000. But No. 9 still seems a little low for the future Hall of Famer and one of the most dominant defenders ever to play the game." *
Ogden's place on the ranking may be considered a little low as well, as he was the second tackle on the list behind Walter Jones (no. 4). Still, as Walker notes, "his football journey will land him in Canton soon."
Reed was the first of two safeties on the list, placed ahead of AFC North rival Troy Polamalu, who came in at no. 19.
Ravens Rank Fifth in All-Decade Power Rankings
ESPN also ranked the Baltimore Ravens no. 5 out of all 32 teams in their 'All-Decade' power rankings.
Blogger Mike Sando used five variables, regular-season victories, playoff appearances, playoff victories, Super Bowl victories and Super Bowl defeats, to determine the rankings. He then consulted with the rest of the ESPN bloggers, including Walker, to determine the final rankings.
The Baltimore Ravens have 83 wins since 2000 for a winning percentage of .576. With five appearances in the playoffs, seven playoff victories and a Super Bowl trophy to their credit, Baltimore's place in the top five puts them in select company. They were behind only the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles.
Top 50 Players in 2009: Reed and Suggs in, Lewis out
Prisco says that while Reed "isn't the biggest hitter some of the other safeties can be, he's the best playmaker of them all." He also calls Suggs' rush ability "vital to the Baltimore defense."
But maybe the most noteworthy tidbit on Prisco's list is who isn't on it, namely Ray Lewis. A mainstay annual player rankings for nearly all of his career, it's a minor snub for a player who even at 34 continues to make an impact in every game he plays in.
Originally Posted June 23 at 2:20 PM
With the first decade of the 21st century nearing its end, ESPNlisted its top players of the 'naughts,' with its All-Decade Defensive and Offensive lists. Not surprisingly, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed were named to the defensive team and former offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden was listed on the offensive team.
Fullback Lorenzo Neal, who played for Baltimore in 2008, was also on the offensive team.
Lewis and Ogden and viewed as locks for the Hall of Fame, while Reed continues to make his case and is seen as a strong contender as well. All three are former first-round draft picks by the Ravens.
Ogden, who retired after the 2007 season, was inducted into the Ravens' Ring of Honor this past season and was for years viewed as the prototypical offensive tackle. The first draft pick in Ravens history, he helped set the tone and lay a foundation for Baltimore in 1996.
The second draft pick in Ravens history is perhaps the most iconic Raven of all. Ray Lewis has been the leader of the defense year in and year out, with the crowning achievement being the 2000 Super Bowl team.
"Ray deserves this honor, without a doubt," general manager Ozzie Newsome told ESPN.com. "There is no question that he plays at a Hall of Fame level year in and year out. He's as smart and instinctive a defensive player as I've ever seen. He plays hard every play – every single play.
"There is only one Ray Lewis, and the Ravens have the good fortune of having him for his entire career."
Reed is not yet seen as a lock for Canton, but he could be by the time he hangs up his cleats. He has 43 interceptions and five touchdowns in his seven-year career, and broke the record for the longest interception return on two separate occasions
2008 was an especially productive year, when Reednetted nine picks and two touchdowns, setting the tone in many games on the Ravens' way to the AFC Championship.
The trio joins some strong company on both sides of the ball. Michael Strahan, Jason Taylor, Derrick Brooks and Troy Polamalu join Lewis and Reed on the defensive team, while Tom Brady, LaDainian Tomlinson, Marvin Harrison and Tony Gonzalez were deemed the best offensive players of the decade.
It's yet one more notable mention in a series that the Ravens can hang their hats on going into 2009, as well as the decade to come.