BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Ravens have seven picks in this year’s NFL Draft and they need to make them count.
In previous years, some of the team’s best players were picked in the third or fourth rounds. Let’s take a look at three Ravens that went under the radar and turned out to be steals:
Adalius Thomas, OLB, 2000 sixth-round pick
Thomas was an afterthought in a draft class that was led by running back Jamal Lewis, but Thomas proved to be one of the Ravens’ best selections. In 2004, Thomas started all 16 games for the first time in his career. In 2005, Thomas had two interceptions on the year and three forced fumbles; he returned three turnovers for touchdowns, making him the NFL’s leader in non-offensive touchdowns that season. He was also named to two Pro Bowls.
Marshal Yanda, Guard, 2007 third-round pick
Yanda is widely considered to be among the best offensive linemen in football. He was selected by the Ravens in the third round (86th overall). During his rookie year, Yanda played in all 16 games with 12 starts. In 2011, the Ravens re-signed Yanda to a five-year, $32 million contract and then again in 2015, the Ravens signed him to a four-year contract extension worth another $32 million. Yanda has six Pro Bowl selections since 2011.
Jarret Johnson, Linebacker, 2003 fourth-round pick
In his rookie season he played in 15 games and recorded 18 tackles in the process for Baltimore. The following season he played in 16 games posting 30 tackles and recorded his first career interception, which he returned for his first NFL touchdown. In 2005, he played in all 16 games and this time he started 12 of them. By 2006, he played in all 16 games starting two and finished with 35 tackles. In 2007, Johnson started all 16 games for the first time in his career and finished the season with a career-high 94 tackles (59 solo), despite a broken thumb. By 2009, Johnson was named in Pro Football Weekly’s list of the ten most underrated players in the NFL. When he left Baltimore he played in a team-record 129-straight regular-season games, including 80 consecutive starts.