Best: Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon, First Round – When you watch teams reach for quarterbacks in the first round yet again just think of the 2006 draft. Both Vince Young (3rd) and Matt Leinhart (10th) were chosen before this monster. Ngata gobbled up running backs and ROFO chicken on his way to five Pro Bowl appearances. I thought it would be fairly bold to have chosen former sixth round pick and member of the Wolfpack, Sam Koch in this spot but he’s had this position on lock since he was drafted.
Worst: David Pittman, CB, Northwestern St., Third Round – Pittman wasn’t the team’s first choice and I can see why. He lasted barely two seasons and appeared in seven games.
Best: Marshall Yanda, OT, Iowa, Third Round – Perhaps the toughest Raven of all-time, willing to take on multiple defenders and even a taser if the situation calls for it. Six Time Pro Bowler, Two-Time First Team All-Pro and could land himself in Canton one day. He still continues to play at a high level and was recognized by Pro Football Focus as the best lineman of last season.
Worst: Yamon Figurs, WR, Kansas St., Third Round – When in doubt choose a football player instead of a track star. (see Patrick Johnson) Once Figurs lost his nerve on returns his career was toast.
Best: Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers, Second Round- The Ravens did a great job trading back (17 spots) and still getting their man in the multi-dimensional Rice. Most will remember his ignominious exit but on the field he was a multi-purpose back that was a threat to score anytime he touched the ball. He’s currently the Ravens All-Time leader in scrimmage yards. (9,214)
Worst: Tavares Gooden, LB, Miami, Third Round – He was touted as a possible Lewis replacement but he was barely able to stay on the field. Injury issues and an inability to overtake undrafted players such as Dannell Ellerbee and Jameel McClain have him hovering around the All-Time Ravens bust list. He was cut in September 2011.
Best: Lardarius Webb, CB, Nicholls St., Third Round – Physical corner who overcame two ACL surgeries to become a valuable contributor on the defense. He snagged fifteen interceptions over his nine year career in Baltimore that sadly came to a close in March. It remains to be seen if another team will come calling in 2018.
Worst: Davon Drew, TE, East Carolina, Fifth Round – It was difficult for me to make a pick here. Michael Oher was a good Right Tackle but never was the “Blind Side” long-term replacement that was expected when Baltimore made him a first round pick. Second rounder Paul Kruger was a late bloomer that used his last season here to gain big money in Cleveland. Drew is an interesting case as he couldn’t beat out converted linebacker Edgar Jones in Training Camp and was scooped up by Miami after the team signed him to the practice squad. He never appeared in an NFL game.
Best: Dennis Pitta, TE, Utah, Fourth Round – The sure handed tight end became Joe Flacco’s favorite target on third down until multiple hip surgeries forced him to retire this past season.
Worst: Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas, Second Round – His fall down a flight of stairs only four days before training camp was an omen of what his pro career was to become. He played three games for the team and registered one tackle.