Ravens back in the Ray Lewis territory of the draft
By Jamison Hensley
Apr 28, 2011 at 6:00 AM
The last time the Ravens selected 26th in the first round, they took a chance on an undersized linebacker named Ray Lewis. He has gone on to become the face of the Ravens' franchise and lead a Hall of Fame career.
While no one can expect to find another Ray Lewis, teams have failed to have the same luck when it comes to this spot.
Since Lewis was drafted, the No. 26 slot has produced just three Pro Bowl players (guard Alan Faneca, cornerback Lito Sheppard and linebacker Clay Matthews). It's a point in the draft where such busts as quarterback Jim Druckenmiller, defensive end Erik Flowers, running back Chris Perry and defensive tackle John McCargo were selected.Here's a look at the 12 players drafted with the 26th pick since Lewis:
1997: Jim Druckenmiller, quarterback, San Francisco. He will go down as one of the biggest first-round quarterback flops. His career stats: one touchdown pass, four interceptions and a 29.2 quarterback rating.
1998: Alan Faneca, guard, Pittsburgh. He has become one of the best guards of his generation. The eight-time Pro Bowl lineman was an anchor for the Steelers for years.
1999: Fernando Bryant, cornerback, Jacksonville. He never reached Pro Bowl status, but he was a dependable nine-year starter in the NFL.
2000: Erik Flowers, defensive end, Buffalo. He recorded five sacks and six starts in his forgettable six-year NFL career. Keith Bulluck, a two-time All-Pro linebacker, was drafted four spots later.
2001: Jamar Fletcher, cornerback, Miami. This is how much the Dolphins coveted him: They sent him to San Diego to complete a trade for wide receiver David Boston. He has been a journeyman since.
2002: Lito Sheppard, cornerback, Philadelphia. A two-time Pro Bowl defender, he was an integral part of a talented Eagles secondary. He has 19 career interceptions.
2003: Kwame Harris, offensive tackle, San Francisco. He was a longtime starter for the 49ers, but he built a reputation for being soft. Nnamdi Asomugha, who is considered one of the top cornerbacks in the game, was taken with the 31st pick.