Even with a few more misses in recent years than we had grown accustomed to, the Baltimore Ravens have one of the best NFL Draft track records in league history.
But, of course, no team is infallible. Ahead of this year's draft, we're revisiting some of the rougher picks in team history and considering what else the Ravens could have (reasonably) done with their selection. (We only considered first- and second-round picks for this list because mid- and late-round selections are significantly more of a crapshoot and can't really be judged as "misses.")
Here are the 15 "Ravens Draft Do-Overs."
1996: Round 2, Pick 55
Pick: CB DeRon Jenkins
Could Have Been: S Brian Dawkins (Pick 61)
Obviously, the Ravens' 1996 draft goes down as one of the greatest in football history thanks to their selections of Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis in the first round. But could you even imagine how much more insane it would have been had they selected the future Hall of Fame safety who went just six picks after Jenkins?
1998: Round 2, Pick 42
Pick: WR Patrick Johnson
Could Have Been: WR Hines Ward (Pick 92)
Two of the four players who were selected just after Johnson turned into high-level NFL defensive backs, including Samari Rolle, who ultimately ended up in Baltimore. But the eighth receiver selected after Johnson was a player who had originally been considered a first-round talent but dropped significantly because it was discovered he was missing an ACL in his left knee. Apparently he didn't need it.
2000: Round 1, Pick 10
Pick: WR Travis Taylor
Could Have Been: DE John Abraham (Pick 13)
This stings because Taylor was one of just five players selected in the top 17 that year who never made a single Pro Bowl. And also because the Ravens traded up from the 15th pick but still missed out on a five-time Pro Bowler (Abraham) who finished his career with 133.5 sacks. And 189 picks after Taylor, some quarterback from Michigan went to New England who turned out OK.
2003: Round 1, Pick 19
Pick: QB Kyle Boller
Could Have Been: DT Vince Wilfork (Pick 21 in 2004)
For what it's worth, the Ravens needed a quarterback in 2003 and after Carson Palmer (No. 1 overall), not another signal caller selected that year even ended up being a Pro Bowler. But they dealt their 2004 first-round pick to New England in order to select Boller, and that very pick turned into a five-time Pro Bowler who could end up in the Hall of Fame.
2004: Round 2, Pick 51
Pick: DT Dwan Edwards
Could Have Been: DT Darnell Dockett (Pick 64)
Edwards actually managed to have a decade-long NFL career, but the next defensive tackle off the board that year just so happened to be a three-time Pro Bowler who finished with more than twice as many sacks as the player taken 13 spots ahead of him.
2005: Round 1, Pick 22
Pick: WR Mark Clayton
Could Have Been: QB Aaron Rodgers (Pick 24)
As if losing out on Wilfork wasn't enough, remember that when the Ravens committed to Boller as their starter they had essentially zeroed in on selecting a receiver for him. That means they weren't even considering the quarterback who may well be the most complete player to ever play the position and went just two picks later. Making matters worse, the next receiver drafted was Roddy White, a four-time Pro Bowler.
2005: Round 2, Pick 53
Pick: DE Dan Cody
Could Have Been: DE Justin Tuck (Pick 74)
While Cody finished his NFL career with one total tackle, Tuck -- the next edge rusher selected that year -- totaled 66.5 sacks while reaching two Pro Bowls and helping the Giants win two Super Bowls.
2005: Round 2, Pick 64
Pick: OT Adam Terry
Could Have Been: RB Frank Gore (Pick 65)
This, of course, also serves as a reminder of how miserable the 2005 draft was for the Ravens. (Although, to be fair, fourth-round pick Jason Brown became a reliable NFL center.) Jamal Lewis' run in Baltimore was nearly finished at this point, and the selection after Terry ended up being a player who currently sits fourth all time in career rushing yards.
2010: Round 2, Pick 43
Pick: LB Sergio Kindle
Could Have Been: WR Dez Bryant (Pick 24) or TE Rob Gronkowski (Pick 42)
As you'll remember, the Ravens held the 25th pick, only to watch the Cowboys trade up a spot before them to nab Bryant. The Ravens chose to move back to 43, watching the future Hall of Fame tight end go off the board a spot before their ultimate selection. The team claimed Gronkowski wasn't even on their board because he had failed their physical. He probably should have been.
2012: Round 2, Pick 35
Pick: LB Courtney Upshaw
Could Have Been: S Harrison Smith (Pick 29)
Baltimore originally held the 29th pick in 2012 but dealt it to Minnesota, which used the selection to nab Smith, a four-time Pro Bowler. Upshaw did help contribute to a Super Bowl title team, but the Ravens have been forced to spend an extraordinary amount of money at the safety position the last few years when they could have had one of the league's best free safeties.
2013: Round 1, Pick 32
Pick: S Matt Elam
Could Have Been: TE Zach Ertz (Pick 35)
Elam didn't start a game after 2014 and was out of the league entirely by 2016. Ertz has made the last two Pro Bowls and set the record for most catches by a tight end in a single season in the process. The Ravens have spent five draft picks on tight ends since missing on Ertz. Oh, and it gets worse.
2013: Round 2, Pick 56
Pick: LB Arthur Brown
Could Have Been: TE Travis Kelce (Pick 63)
Yeah, so this isn't great, either. Brown finished his career with 20 total tackles, while Kelce has become the closest thing to Gronkowski in the NFL. Thankfully, the Ravens found Brandon Williams in this same draft or this could be a "30 for 30."
2015: Round 1, Pick 26
Pick: WR Breshad Perriman
Could Have Been: CB Byron Jones (Pick 27)
What was a much-ballyhooed receiver class in 2015 has not proven worthy of said ballyhooing. Outside of Amari Cooper, the other receivers taken in the top two rounds were Perriman, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Phillip Dorsett, Devin Smith, Dorial Green-Beckham and Devin Funchess, all of whom grade somewhere between "ehh" and "eww." But Jones, the very next selection after Perriman, has blossomed into a top NFL corner. He was named an All-Pro in 2018.
2015: Round 2, Pick 55
Pick: TE Maxx Williams
Could Have Been: WR Tyler Lockett (Pick 69)
And if the Ravens had gone with Jones in Round 1, perhaps they would have wanted to take a receiver in the second round. Not only has Lockett been an exceptional returner, he's coming off his best NFL season, finishing just shy of 1,000 receiving yards and catching 10 touchdowns in 2018.
2016: Round 2, Pick 42
Pick: DE Kamalei Correa
Could Have Been: WR Michael Thomas (Pick 47)
Correa made just four tackles in two seasons before the Ravens bailed on him, while Thomas has quickly become one of the league's top receivers. Making matters worse, picks 45 (running back Derrick Henry) and 46 (defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson) also appear to have been significantly better than Correa. So this has been fun.
Issue 253: April 2019
Originally published April 15, 2019