Ray Lewis' Hall of Fame status makes 1996 draft a historic one
/ Ravens

By Nathan Beaucage

Though the Baltimore Ravens are a storied franchise, with two Super Bowl victories to their name in their 21-year existence, one of the most influential moments in franchise history happened before the team had even played its first game.

Just two months after the franchise was established, the Ravens took part in their first draft in April 1996. The team was so young that they had no official colors or a logo. Without any sort of real identity or brand, the Ravens had to make a mark with their first selections, for they would become the faces of the new franchise.

Armed with two first round picks, the Baltimore front office would take a young offensive tackle and linebacker at picks No. 4 and 26, respectively. No one knew it at the time, but these two young men would become some of the best to ever play the game. They’d ultimately be the catalysts for Baltimore’s success.

The careers of both men would start and end in the same places. Both Ravens for the entirety of their careers, the two would also culminate their playing days by ending up in football’s most hallowed shrine: the Hall of Fame. That young offensive tackle, Jonathan Ogden, was enshrined into the Hall in 2013. Now joining him in Canton is linebacker Ray Lewis, who was selected 22 picks after Ogden in that same draft. Lewis officially joined football’s highest echelon Saturday when he was announced as a member of the Hall’s 2018...



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