Smith, in 1996, picked three very good players in 1996 draft class: Jonathan Odgen, Ray Lewis, and Jermaine Lewis. Jonathan Odgen was a very tall person, 6’9″ and 245 pounds. He was labeled as one of the best lineman to play in the game. He only missed one game in his career and announced his retirement in 2007, at the age 32. He looks to be a future Hall-of-Famer.
Meanwhile, Ray Lewis is still playing and everyone thinks of him as the best linebacker to play in the NFL. He is less than 400 tackles away from reaching 2,000! He, like many other Ravens players, is going to be another future Hall-of-Famer because of his passion and pride for the game. He is a strong and determined linebacker and ferocious makes it infectious.
Jermaine Lewis is labeled as one of those great return guys. In the Super Bowl win over the New York Giants, he had 84-yard return, which 84 is his number on his jersey, for a touchdown. It was for his son. Lewis will always be remembered, to me, as one of the best punt/kick returners and is probably the best Ravens one. You’ll be seeing him in the Ravens Ring of Honor like Peter Boulware. And speaking of Boulware….
In 1997, Boulware was drafted by the Ravens. He won a Super Bowl and the made the Pro Bowl a couple of times. He was inducted to the Ravens Ring of Honor. This guy is one of my favorite linebackers. He produces a lot of sacks, having 70 in his career! He also had 399 tackles and will be a remembered Baltimore Raven.
Many other Ravens in the 1997 class were behind Boulware: Jamie Sharper, who was 18 tackles away from reaching 900; Kim Herring, who had close to 500 tackles in his ten seasons in the NFL as a safety; and Jeff Mitchell, who started 118 of his 119 games played in.
The 1998 class was a little lonesome, though: Duane Starks, who had 200 tackles and 25 interceptions in his ten seasons in the NFL as a cornerback; and Patrick Johnson, who was a very speedy receiver and another great kick returner.
1999 got better when Chris McCalister, Brandon Stokley, and Edwin Mulitalo joined the squad. McCalister had over 300 tackles and 20 interceptions and is right now a free agent; Stokley, who is listed as one of the best slot receivers to play in the game; and Mulitalo, who only missed four games in his career as a blocker for the o-line.
2000 was much much more dominant: Jamal Lewis, Travis Taylor, Chris Redman, and Adalius Thomas. Lewis, who had over 2,000 rushing yards in 2003 and is now looking to be a future Hall-of-Famer with over 10,000 rushing yards and close to 60 touchdowns; Taylor, who is an okay receiver who has over 300 catches for 4,017 yards and 32 touchdowns; Redman, who is labeled as a versatile backup quarterback; and Thomas, who is hybrid that can play many positions and is a sack-master machine.
2001 got lower with Gary Baxter and Todd Heap. Todd Heap is still on the squad and has over 300 catches for 4,003 yards and 27 touchdowns, while Baxter, who is a free agent right now, had close 300 tackles, three sacks, five forced fumbles, and eight interceptions in his career.
2002 had four players in it’s class, one who is just a major beast: Ed Reed, Anthony Weaver, and Dave Zastudil, and Chester Taylor. Ed Reed, we all know how this guy does: when he gets an interception, you know it’s going to turn into points; Anthony Weaver, who is an okay defensive end who is right now a free agent but was released after a year with the Texans. He has over 300 tackles and has 15.5 sacks. Then you got Dave Zastudil as a pretty good punter, but punters don’t deserve to play in the game (sorry Gary Anderson, all-time points leader); and then we end with Chester Taylor, who he and Adrian Peterson make a solid one-two punch run game right now.
2003 just gets better: Terrell Suggs, Kyle Boller, Musa Smith, Ovie Mughelli, and Gerome Sapp. Suggs, who is just a beast at linebacker and just got tagged; Boller, who might compete for a starting job with Marc Bulger and who started for the Ravens for a couple of seasons but was okay; Musa Smith, who is an okay running back who has close to 500 rushing yards and was most notably known as a pretty good second-third string running back; Ovie Mughelli, who is standout fullback blocker for Michael Turner right now; and Sapp, who is an average cornerback but never deserved a chance and is right now a free agent.
So you pretty much get the people. Here are all the other awesome Ravens that “The Wizard of Oz” got from 2004-2008: Mark Clayton, Jason Brown, Derek Anderson, Haloti Ngata, Dawan Landry, Demetrius Williams, Ben Grubbs, Yamon Figurs, Troy Smith, Joe Flacco, and Ray Rice.
So you know those guys. They are all good, no doubt. So you get my facts of how good Ozzie Newsome is at picking guys in the draft. Who will he pick next? A list of players have been mentioned:
- Brandon Pettigrew
- Darrius Heyward-Bey
- Kenny Britt
- Hakeem Nicks
- Percy Harvin
- Ramses Barden
- Cornelius Ingram
Who will it be? It might not even be a wide receiver or tight end. Comment below and see how will it be! It doesn’t even have to be on the list I put above. I labeled the facts. Who will Ozzie Newsome pick next?
I say Darrius Heyward-Bey out of Maryland. A fast and reliable receiver that can literally help out Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton. His hands may not be excellent but this guy can do stuff and punt and kick return game probably. They can even get the 6’6,” 230-pound Ramses Barden in probably the third round. If that happens and it turns out good, Ozzie is literally a wizard.
And again, I am also letting you decide fans!
So that’s Ozzie Newsome: The Wizard of Oz, no doubt about it.