- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Ravens reporter
- 0 Shares
When it comes to hitting on two picks in the first round, few teams can beat what the Baltimore Ravens did in their first draft. In 1996, the Ravens selected offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden with the No. 4 overall pick and took linebacker Ray Lewis at No. 26.
Has any team had such a memorable first round? According to Sports on Earth, only the Chicago Bears had a more successful first round with multiple picks. In 1965, the Bears drafted Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers and Steve DeLong with the third, fourth and sixth overall picks.
The rest of the top five was: 1965 Los Angeles Rams (Roman Gabriel and Merlin Olsen), 1978 Cleveland Browns (Clay Matthews and Ozzie Newsome) and 1995 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks).
While everyone knows how the careers of Ogden and Lewis played out, not many know that the success of the Ravens' draft can be traced back to J.J. Stokes. In 1995, Ozzie Newsome first saw Ogden when he was studying Stokes at UCLA.
"When you’re watching tape, there was another really good player that you couldn't help but go, ‘Who is that guy?’ And that guy was Jonathan Ogden," said Newsome, who was the Browns' director of pro personnel at the time. "So, you start asking questions to your area scouts, going, ‘Why is he not coming out [as a junior]?’ Well, Jonathan wanted to go to the Olympics [for track and field]."
In the 1995 draft, the Browns' last before moving to Baltimore, Cleveland traded the No. 10 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for their first-, third- and fourth-round picks in 1995 and first-rounder in 1996.
The 49ers selected Stokes, who averaged just 38 catches a year over nine seasons. A year later, Newsome drafted Ogden with the Ravens' first pick and used the 49ers' first-round pick to take Lewis, a 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker who won two Super Bowls for the Ravens.
When it comes to hitting on two picks in the first round, few teams can beat what the Baltimore Ravens did in their first draft. In 1996, the Ravens selected offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden with the No.