History was made this past Saturday night as Jonathan Ogden became the first player ever that was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ogden being drafted to the Ravens was in thanks to general manager Ozzie Newsome and former owner Art Modell’s belief in Newsome.
In 1996, Modell had visions of the team drafting Laurence Phillips with the No. 4 overall pick. Newsome, on the other hand, wanted Ogden. Modell said to Newsome, “Do you really want him [Ogden]”, and of course Newsome said yes, which led to Modell saying, “Okay then, draft him.” The rest is history. Ogden was one of the greatest left tackles of all time, absolutely dominating and now is a Hall of Famer. Phillips is member of the group I like to call “Scumbags that are always in trouble.” Ogden set the tone for what the Ravens would be in the future.
The Ravens of 1996-99 were pretty forgettable for the most part, but everyone remembers the 2000 Ravens, not just because they won the Super Bowl but for having one of the greatest defenses of all time, led by Ray Lewis who was drafted 22 picks after Ogden. The offense of that team was mediocre at best, but the one bright spot of that offense was the running game led by rookie Jamal Lewis. Lewis ran for over 1,300 yards that year. Who was he running behind most of that time? You guessed it, Ogden.
In my humble opinion, the Ravens don’t win that Super Bowl without Ogden or either of the Lewis’. The only thing that’s kind of a shame was that Ogden never really played in a great offense. The Ravens were always the defense with Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and too many more to mention. Offense always played second fiddle until a few years ago. Still, Ogden made sure all the below average quarterbacks like Kyle Boller were protected.
It’s only right that Ogden was the first drafted Raven to make it into the Hall of Fame, since he was picked first after all. We all know Lewis and Reed will be soon to follow, and of course, well deserving themselves, but Ogden deserved to have the spotlight to himself.
Congratulations, Jonathan Ogden. You’re the greatest left tackle in NFL history as far as I’m concerned.