It’s just that time of the year for Ravens fans.
Free agency is over. The draft is over. Preseason doesn’t start until August. Now what?
The NFL has recently started revealing players that have made the Top 100 for this year, but that’s about the most noteworthy thing going on right now.
Because of this, I’ve dug all the way back to 1996 (when the Baltimore Ravens became a franchise) to rank the five best players to ever dress in a Baltimore Ravens uniform:
No. 5 — Jamal Lewis, RB
Jamal Lewis served as the team’s bell cow back for the six seasons he played with the team.
In Super Bowl XXXV, he rushed for 102 yards and one touchdown, effectively becoming only the second rookie ever in NFL history to rush for 100+ yards in the Super Bowl. His best statistical season came in 2003 when he rushed for 2,066 yards, which fell 39 yards short of Eric Dickerson’s record that was set in the 1984 season.
He also rushed for 14 touchdowns that season and named the 2003 AFC Player of the Year.
Lewis is also the Baltimore Ravens all-time leader in rushing attempts (1,822), yards (7,801), and most importantly, touchdowns (47 total).
No. 4 — Joe Flacco, QB
Before you try to refresh this page for fear that you have read this name wrong, don’t.
That’s right, Joe Flacco is the fourth best Raven in the history of the franchise. Why? That would be because he plays big in big games.
Flacco has never been one-and-done in the post-season.
He also has led the Ravens to the playoffs in six out of his eight seasons in the league. The team has made it at least to the divisional round of the playoffs in each of those six seasons.
In 2012, he helped take down the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots on the road and punch a ticket to Super Bowl XLVII.
You have to beat the best to be the best. Beating Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on their own turf justifies that.
In the Super Bowl, Flacco played lights out, completing 22 passes for 287 yards while tossing three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Flacco is only one of two Ravens to ever be named Super Bowl MVP.
He is also the Ravens career leader in passing touchdowns (162), passing yards (28,322), pass completions (2,479), and wins (75).
No. 3 — Jonathan Ogden, OT
Offensive lineman don’t get a lot of spotlight unless you make a mistake — and that’s not the kind of spotlight you exactly want.
However, Ogden managed to find a way to get good spotlight on the Ravens offensive line.
If you’re looking for a stat sheet on Ogden, he has started in 176 of the 177 games he’s played in.
He has also recovered 10 fumbles and recorded 10 tackles.
Ogden was named to the Pro Bowl in 11 of the 12 seasons that he played in the league, being a first-team All-Pro in five of those seasons. He helped pave the way for Jamal Lewis’ recorded setting tenure while protecting the quarterback’s blind side.
Ogden struck fear in to the eyes of any defender that was unfortunate enough to have to go up against him.
No. 2 — Ed Reed, S
“When the ball touches his hands, it’s a pick. Period.” – Brian Dawkins.
The eye in the sky never lies. Neither do the stats. If you don’t have the opportunity to watch his highlight reel, then, please do yourself a favor and take a look at his statistical record.
Let’s just say he has returned an interception for 108 yards before. Reminder, a football field is 100 yards.
During his career with the Ravens, he recorded 605 tackles, defended 109 passes, snagged 64 interceptions (while running back all of those interceptions for 1,541 yards total), found the end zone 13 times, and forced 11 fumbles.
He was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times during his prolific career. He also led the league in interceptions in 2004, 2008, and 2010, and was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2004.
It was not advised to throw the ball anywhere Reed could get a hand on it.
No. 1 — Ray Lewis, LB
If this comes as a surprise to you, then, you need a history lesson on Baltimore Ravens football.
Ray Lewis has changed the linebacker position forever and is known as the face of the Baltimore Ravens franchise.
He was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXV and has been selected to 13 Pro Bowls during his 16-year career.
Lewis was also voted to be a first-team All-Pro seven times in his career while being named AFC Defensive Player of the Year three times.
During the course of Ray’s career, he recorded 1,336 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 67 pass deflections, 31 interceptions, 17 forced fumbles, and three touchdowns.
His performance on the field wasn’t the only thing that made him great. It was his ability to lead others and bring people together.
Let’s not forget those epic pregame squirrel dances he used to perform, either.
Lewis has set a standard in the NFL and has served as an inspiration to younger athletes all over the country.