This week, I want to take a look into the 1996 NFL draft. In this draft, the new Baltimore Ravens had two picks in the draft and selected guard Jonathan Ogden with the 4th pick and linebacker Ray Lewis with the 26th pick. Yup, possibly the scariest, most passionate man to put the pads on went 26th. It wasn’t like he wasn’t a dominant player, he simply fell when teams thought he was too small for linebacker (Yes, the man who makes the gym his bitch). Many teams could’ve used Lewis, but the Denver Broncos in particular, fucked up and could’ve had possibly the best linebacker of all time in Mile High.
Some are probably thinking he wasn’t the best and the murder charges hurt his reputation as a stellar linebacker. Two things, off the field issues don’t tarnish what a player did off the field. And being a lawyer’s son, I’ve learned that the facts are facts and no evidence points to Lewis on the crime. Yes, I hate the Ravens as much as the next guy, but you have to respect greatness and tossing out horseshit accusations that happened almost twenty years ago. But I digress…
In the 1995 season, the Broncos understood that Elway’s last chance to win a Super Bowl was getting closer. Elway couldn’t do it all, so they decided to build up the defense by picking linebacker John Mobley. This proved to not be too bad, Mobley was a one time all pro who deflected Brett Favre’s pass in the Super Bowl to help seal the win in 1998, but something tells me Ray Lewis MIGHT have done better all around at linebacker than Mobley. Yes the Broncos had a promising linebacker in Allen Aldridge, but again, something tells me Ray Lewis would have beat him out and proved better. If Lewis was taken and put in the middle linebacker position by Denver, he would’ve controlled the defense like he did in Baltimore. Bronco’s defensive coordinator Greg Robinson ran a 4-3 just like Marv Lewis did in Baltimore. Lewis surely would’ve dominated in this defense and controlled the field.
If Lewis was picked, it would have been a major upgrade for the Bronco’s defense and maybe even helped the Broncos win a Super Bowl before ‘98 and ‘99 where they had to cheat and bend the salary cap for it (see Bronco’s Capgate). Even if not, Lewis would solidify the Bronco’s defense for a long time even after Elway retired. Who knows, maybe Lewis could have helped Jake “the snake” Plummer win a Super Bowl (probably not but it’s a nice thought.)
(Image from zoneofsuccess.net)