Looking back: Ravens 2008 draft class

Looking back: Ravens 2008 draft class
April 8, 2013, 5:15 pm
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Over the past two weeks, we have been 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.

You can find access links to the draft classes from 2003 to 2007 here. How did the Ravens fare in 2008? Let's have a look back.

2008 Ravens draft class:

1st round –- Joe Flacco, quarterback, Delaware

2nd round -- Ray Rice, running back, Rutgers

3rd round -- Tavares Gooden, inside linebacker, Miami

3rd round -- Tom Zbikowski, safety, Notre Dame

3rd round -- Oniel Cousins, tackle, UTEP

4th round -- Marcus Smith, wide receiver, New Mexico

4th round -- David Hale, guard/tackle, Weber State

6th round -- Haruki Nakamura, safety, Cincinnati

7th round -- Justin Harper, wide receiver, Virginia Tech

7th round -- Allen Patrick, running back, Oklahoma

The Ravens war room should have been equipped with seatbelts in 2008, as Ozzie Newsome and company went on a wild ride that included a slew of trades, including two in the first round.

The Ravens were scheduled to pick at No. 8 and had their eyes on Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan -- especially since quarterback Steve McNair had abruptly retired just two weeks before the draft. But after Ryan went to the Falcons with the No. 3 pick, the Ravens traded their No. 8 pick to Jacksonville and picked up the No. 26 pick in the first round and three additional mid-round selections in return.

Before it was time to pick at No. 26, though, the Ravens dealt again. Hoping to land the other quarterback the Ravens viewed as top-tier talent, and worried he might not be there at No. 26, they traded with Houston, moving up eight spots to pick at No. 18, giving up one of the third-round picks that they had just received from Jacksonville.

And with the No. 18 pick, the Ravens grabbed a tall, strong-armed quarterback out of Delaware named Joe Flacco.

In hindsight, Ryan and Flacco do indeed appear to have been the class of the 2008 quarterback draft class. The next quarterbacks taken were  Brian Brohm (56th overall) and Chad Henne (57th).

Getting a marquee, franchise-level quarterback would probably have been enough to rate the 2008 draft class a success. But the Ravens scored again in the second round when they selected an undersized running back from Rutgers named Ray Rice. That came after executing yet another trade, this time with Seattle, which produced an additional third-round pick.  

When the dust settled and the phones stopped ringing, the Ravens had made 10 picks, including three in the third round -- linebacker Tavares Gooden, safety Tom Zbikowski and offensive lineman Oniel Cousins. They had varying degrees of success with the Ravens, but all three played for the Ravens for at least three seasons.

In another deal, the Ravens traded a fourth-round pick to Oakland for cornerback Fabian Washington. It was viewed as a major upgrade to the secondary at the time, but Washington's career with the Ravens was somewhat disappointing. He ended up with just one interception in three seasons with the Ravens. He missed much of the 2009 season with an injury and lost his starting job in 2010.

Still, for a fourth-round pick, it seemed a good trade at the time, and if the Ravens were doing anything in that war room in 2008, it was making deals.