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Friday, 27 February 2015

Baltimore Ravens: Biggest Draft Day Regret In Franchise History

It’s hard to believe that given a chance to name the best draft picks in the history of the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis was not listed among the top five. Seriously? C’mon. How can you not put one of the greatest middle linebackers in the history of the NFL on the list of best all-time draft picks of a franchise that has won two Super Bowls in the past 14 years?

Coincidentally, names like Ed Reed, Joe Flacco and Jonathan Ogden made the list. But Lewis is not to be found.

When it comes to naming a bad draft pick from this organization and general manager Ozzie Newsome, it really does take a bit of thinking. This is a team and franchise that has worked tirelessly over the years to find the right pieces to the puzzle that result in playoff berths and potential Super Bowl runs.

The biggest comparison to a bad draft pick might be the 2001 NFL Draft. The Ravens had two picks in the top 10 of the Draft. While Newsome hit a homerun with Jamal Lewis, a running back from Tennessee, he whiffed mightily with Travis Taylor, a lanky wide receiver from Florida.

In the 2003 season, Lewis led the NFL in rushing with 2,066 yards, falling just 39 yards short of the all-time single season rushing record, which remains Eric Dickerson's 2,105 yards in 1984. Lewis joined Dickerson, Terrell Davis, Barry Sanders, and O. J. Simpson as the only backs in the 2,000 rushing yards club. In 2009, Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans, would also surpass the 2,000-yard mark by rushing for 2,006 yards. In 2012, Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings finished with 2,097 rushing yards, the second-most ever for a running back in a single season.

On September 14, 2003, Lewis also broke Corey Dillon's single-game rushing record of 278 yards by running for 295 yards against the Cleveland Browns.

Lewis was rewarded by being named NFL Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. Lewis's single-game rushing record was later broken by Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings on November 4, 2007, when he ran for 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers.

Taylor proved just to be the opposite.

After four seasons in Baltimore, the former Florida receiver would play for, among others, the Vikings. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or bad thing, but the fact he was on a certain infamous cruise with his Minnesota teammates was more memorable than anything he did in Baltimore

Taylor would only make twenty-eight catches for 278 yards in nine games as a rookie in 2000. That season, Taylor showed early promise for himself and for his team by scoring two touchdowns in the second game of the season, a shootout victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars—a team the Ravens had never beaten. In 2000, the Ravens would go on to win Super Bowl XXXV. Taylor's best season with Baltimore came in 2002, when he compiled sixty-one catches for 869 yards and six touchdowns.

Baltimore released Taylor after a lackluster 2004 season.


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