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Ravens draft history: Best and worst DB picks

Ravens safety Ed Reed celebrates his team's 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans.
Ravens safety Ed Reed celebrates his team's 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, in New Orleans. (Matt Slocum / AP)

Who were the best picks and biggest mistakes of the Ravens' 20 years of drafts? Columnist Mike Preston breaks it down by position. Today he examines defensive backs.

Best pick: The Ravens selected Miami safety Ed Reed with the 24th overall pick in the first round of the 2002 draft. The often-moody Reed will eventually become the third Raven chosen to the Hall of Fame, joining left offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and middle linebacker Ray Lewis (Lewis is eligible in 2018; Reed is eligible in 2019). Reed had outstanding range, but was also one of the best tacklers in the NFL throughout most of his career. He finished with 64 career interceptions, which ranks seventh in NFL history, and his 1,590 INT return yards still stands No. 1. Reed scored 14 touchdowns in his career and is the only player in NFL history to score TDs off a punt return, blocked punt, interception and fumble recovery. He finished his career with 699 tackles, six sacks, 154 passes defensed, 12 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries.

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Worst pick: Safety Matt Elam would be in consideration, but he is still playing for the Ravens. So far Elam, the team's first-round pick in 2013, hasn't played up to potential. But to be fair, we give this distinction to cornerback DeRon Jenkins, the Ravens' second-round pick in 1996 out of Tennessee. Jenkins spent four years with the Ravens, starting 30 of 63 games and recording 178 tackles, two interceptions and a sack. He wasn't very physical in run support and the Jaguars, with receivers Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, made a habit of going after Jenkins. He became such a victim that his nickname was DeRon "Third And Long" Jenkins.

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