Over the next two weeks, we are revisiting each Ravens draft class of the past 10 years. Looking back at past drafts is always entertaining; hindsight is always 20/20, and every team's draft history includes some hits and misses, some gems and some busts.
Let's have a look back.
2006 Ravens draft class:
1st round – Haloti Ngata, defensive tackle, Oregon
2nd round – Chris Chester, guard/center, Oklahoma
3rd round – David Pittman, cornerback, Northwestern State
4th round – Demetrius Williams, wide receiver, Oregon
4th round – P.J. Daniels, running back, Georgia Tech
5th round – Dawan Landry, safety, Georgia Tech
5th round – Quinn Sypniewski, tight end, Colorado
6th round – Sam Koch, punter, Nebraska
6th round – Derrick Martin, cornerback, Wyoming
7th round – Ryan LaCasse, linebacker/defensive end, Syracuse
Coming off two subpar draft classes in a row as well as a 6-10 season in 2005, the pressure was on Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens front office to deliver in the 2006 draft.
They knew they had to beef up the defensive line – something Ray Lewis had also expressed publicly – and they took no chances. Thinking Cleveland might take Haloti Ngata at No. 12, the Ravens traded up one spot, giving up their No. 13 pick and a sixth-rounder for the Browns’ spot at No. 12, which the Ravens used to grab Ngata.
The Ravens second pick in the draft, offensive lineman Chris Chester, had a solid five-year run with the Ravens but never quite developed into the standout that they might have hoped, and he went to Washington as a free agent after the 2011 season.
The Ravens came up with two gems later in the draft in safety Dawan Landry in the fifth round and Sam Koch in the sixth.
Landry, taken 146th overall in the draft, became a starter right away and finished his rookie season with three sacks and five interceptions. He was hurt most of 2008 but started every game in 2007, 2009 and 2010 before leaving for Jacksonville as a free agent.
Koch, just the second punter ever drafted by the Ravens (Dave Zastudil was a fourth-round pick in 2002) continues to be an anchor of the Ravens special teams.
The Ravens continued their search at wide receiver, taking Demetrius Williams in the fourth round. He had an inconsistent four-year run with the Ravens, but one other wide receiver proved to be the steal of the draft.
The Saints took an unheralded wideout from Hofstra with the 252nd pick – three spots away from Mr. Irrelevant. He has since topped 1,000 receiving yards six times in seven seasons and has 58 career touchdown catches. His name: Marques Colston.
Ngata, Landry, Chester, Koch all contributed as rookies, and even backup tight end Quinn Sypniewski made a couple of starts. After two underperforming draft classes, the Ravens braintrust delivered in 2006. The Ravens addressed needs in all three phases, and several players taken in April played key roles as the Ravens went 13-3 and won the AFC North.