The Ravens very first draft pick is still probably their very best, considering what could have been.
As the Ravens prepared to make their first-ever draft pick at No. 4 overall in the 1996 draft, owner Art Modell had his eyes on talented but troubled running back Lawrence Phillips. But Modell's 40-year-old vice president of player personnel, Ozzie Newsome, had a different target.
Newsome esablished what would become one of the central tenets of the Ravens team-building strategy -- take the best available player, regardless of need.
Although the Ravens needed a running back more than they needed an offensive lineman, Newsome had an offensive lineman on the top of his board.
So Newsome and the Ravens selected hulking Jonathan Ogden out of UCLA, and the rest is history.
Over the course of 12 seasons, all with the Ravens, Ogden developed into one of the finest tackles in NFL history. He was named to the Pro Bowl 11 straight times from 1997 to 2007. Only four offensive linemen ever have been named more often.
At 6-foot-9 and 345 pounds, Ogden was blessed with both size and remarkable athleticism. Time and again he stone-walled the opposing pass rush, and was a major force behind Jamal Lewis' 2,066-yard rushing season of 2003.
He started 176 games in his Ravens career, second in franchise history to Ray Lewis (227).
In short, he set the bar by which all other Ravens tackles will be measured.
Offensive tackles don't rack up the stats, but Ogden's place in Ravens history is indisputable. He was not only the franchise's first draft pick, but in 2013, he became its first home-grown Hall of Fame inductee.
"He’s part of the foundation of this franchise, part of the reason why we have two Super Bowl wins here," Newsome said at the time of Ogden's Hall of Fame induction. "If you’re taking a journey, the first steps are the most important steps you have to take, and taking Jonathan was our first step.”