Ozzie Newsome: Grading Every Ravens Draft Class
1997 NFL Draft:
Draft Grade A
- Round 1: Peter Boulware, LB (FSU) 4th Overall Pick
- Round 2: Jamie Sharper, LB (Virginia) 34th Overall Pick
- Round 2: Kim Herring, SS (Penn State) 58th Overall Pick
- Round 3: Jay Graham, RB (Tennessee) 64th Overall Pick
- Round 4: Tyrus McCloud, LB (Louisville) 118th Overall Pick
- Round 5: Jeff Mitchell, C (Florida) 115th Overall Pick
- Round 6: Steve Lee, FB (Indiana) 167th Overall Pick
- Round 6: Cornell Brown, LB (VT) 194th Overall Pick
- Round 7: Chris Ward, DE (Kentucky) 205th Overall Pick
- Round 7: Wally Richardson, QB (Penn State) 234th Overall Pick
- Round 7: Ralph Staten, S (Alabama) 236th Overall Pick
- Round 7: Leland Taylor, DT (Louisville) 238th Overall Pick
Here you can see the Super Bowl XXXV team beginning to form. In the 1997 NFL Draft the Ravens first three draft picks ended up being starters for the legendary 2000 defense. Peter Boulware was the Ravens first great pass rusher. Jamie Sharper was an athletic linebacker that fit perfectly in the Ravens defense. Kim Herring was a physical safety that doesn’t get enough credit for his contribution to the team.
The Ravens had some of these picks fizzle out but that is life in the NFL Draft. At the end of the day the Ravens drafted three starters of a championship defense. They also drafted their starting center during the 2000 Super Bowl run in Jeff Mitchell. The Ravens obviously knew what they were trying to build. In their first two drafts, the Ravens drafted 7 key players to a championship team.
The Ravens quickly became respected as one of the best drafting teams in the NFL. It isn’t hard to see why. Ozzie Newsome started out on fire with the Ravens drafting.
Next: 1998 NFL Draft