As any diehard football fan knows, the game is generally won or lost in the trenches. Since 1996, the Ravens have had immense success drafting their share of big-bodied defensive linemen. This success is no coincidence with Ozzie Newsome at the helm, and the Ravens’ scouting department has proven over the years that they love imposing, yet mobile, men up front. So let’s take a look at three of the best defensive tackles that the Ravens have ever drafted.
3. Brandon Williams
Although this ranking may be a bit premature, there is no denying Williams’ natural talent. Drafted in the third round of the 2013 draft (94th overall), Williams stands at 6-foot-1 and a mammoth 335 pounds. Despite a relative lack of experience, once he comes into his own, there is every reason to believe that Williams will be a presence that opposing offenses must account for come gameday. Although his rookie season statistics don’t show it, he showed multiple flashes last season and the Ravens hope to increase his workload with Arthur Jones in Indianapolis and Terrence Cody on the open market. Look for Williams to be a key contributor for this year’s Ravens defense.
2. Aubrayo Franklin
Although not a household name to most, Franklin was an important part of the defense during his three-year tenure with the Ravens. Drafted in the fifth round back in 2003 (146th overall), Franklin was most well known for his strength. It seemed as though he was always in on tackles, and he represented a valued member of the Ravens’ tenacious defensive line. Despite no longer being in Baltimore, Franklin is still in the league, currently residing in Indianapolis with Chuck Pagano. And even though his career arch is more journeyman than superstar, Franklin was an important contributor in his time as a Raven, especially for a fifth rounder .
1. Haloti Ngata
Without a doubt the greatest defensive lineman drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, and the good news is, he is still playing. Taken in 2006 with the 12th overall pick, this former Oregon Duck has been a powerhouse for the Ravens ever since. Known for his strength and nimble feet, Ngata, when healthy, has been a dominant factor up front and creates problems for opposing offenses like wildfire. His career statistics include 414 total tackles, 23.5 sacks and an amazing three interceptions. Ngata continues to be a key cog in the Ravens’ machine, however this season will be an important one for the fan favorite, as his cap number is the highest of any player. Surely though, the Ravens will do their best to keep Ngata in purple and black for as long as he’s willing.