Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 5/31/12
1. Ray Lewis (1996-present)

This was by far the easiest selection of the list. Lewis was drafted by the Ravens in the first ever Ravens draft of 1996, and is the last remaining player from the Ravens inaugural team. Surprisingly, Lewis was the fifth linebacker selected in the draft at pick number 26. Lewis  is a 13-time Pro Bowler, 10-time All-Pro, two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, three-time AFC Defensive Player of the Year, member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and a Super Bowl champion and MVP (XXXV). His 13 Pro Bowl appearances are an all-time NFL record for an inside linebacker. Lewis is the only player of the last three decades to record over 40 sacks and 30 interceptions in his career.
There is no question that Lewis is one of the best linebackers of all time. Even if not the best of all time, many would argue that Lewis is the best middle linebacker of his generation. His contributions to the Ravens cannot be understated, and no player has been more synonymous with the Ravens franchise. If there is one player that’s been more responsible than any other for the success of the Ravens in their first sixteen years in the league, that player is Ray Lewis. Although 2012 will be Lewis’ 17thseason and he has lost a step, he still remains one of the most intense and consistent players in the game.
2. Jonathan Ogden (1996-2007)

The fourth overall choice in the 1996 draft, Ogden was the first ever draft pick made the Baltimore Ravens. He went on to be named to 11 Pro Bowls and nine All Pro teams during his 12 year career. Like Ray Lewis, Ogden also cracked the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. At 6’9” 345 lbs, Ogden was one of the most physically imposing left tackles to ever play the game. Ogden was ranked at number 72 on the NFL Network’s list of the top-100 players of all-time.
Along with Walter Jones and Orlando Pace, Ogden is considered to be amongst the best left tackles of his generation. Ogden’s reach and athleticism for his size made him special, but he always played with a level of nastiness that struck fear into opposing players.
3. Ed Reed (2002-present)

Ed Reed was selected by the Ravens with the 24thoverall pick of the 2002 draft. Talk about a steal. After Troy Polamalu, Reed is the best safety of his generation. He has been selected to eight Pro Bowls and is an eight time All-Pro selection. Reed won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2004, and is yet another Ravens member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
Reed has led the league three times in interceptions, and has 57 interceptions thus far in his career. Remarkably, one of these seasons was 2010 in which Reed only played in 10 games due to a hip injury. Reed is also notable for some of the longest interceptions returns in NFL history, such as his 107 yard touchdown return against the Eagles in 2008. He is the first player in NFL history to return an interception, punt, blocked punt, and fumble for a touchdown. Reed also has eight career postseason picks. He frequently plays extremely deep even for a safety, earning him a reputation as one of the best center-fielders to every play the game. Reed was ranked 88thon the NFL Network’s list of the top-100 players of all-time.
4. Haloti Ngata (2006-present)

Haloti Ngata is a vastly underappreciated player. He’s one of the very best players in football right now, easily in the top 20. Ngata was the 12thoverall pick of the 2006 draft. Since that time, he’s developed into the best nose tackle in the game. Yet Ngata’s abilities transcend his position. Traditionally, the great nose tackles have been players who excelled at eating up blockers, holding their ground against double teams, and freeing up the linebackers behind them to make plays. Ngata, on the other hand, is truly disruptive. It’s impossible not to notice him on the field.
Ngata has been to the Pro Bowl the past three seasons and was an All-Pro selection the last four. His ability to frequently cause disruption in the backfield against both the run and the pass make Ngata the best interior defensive lineman in the game today in my opinion. Last season, Ngata had 64 tackles (36 solo), five sacks, two forced fumbles, and five passes defended. Nose tackles just don’t put up those kinds of numbers normally. Now that Ray Lewis is nearing the end of his career, I would argue that it’s now become Ngata who is the key ingredient to the Ravens defensive success.
5. Terrell Suggs (2003-present)

Suggs was drafted 10thoverall in 2003 out of Arizona State, and it didn’t take long at all for him to develop into one of the most feared pass rushers in the game. Suggs is a five-time Pro Bowler and was the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year. He is the all-time Ravens sack leader with 82.5 sacks thus far in his nine-year career.
Suggs has never been the best pass rusher in football, but he is amongst the elite group for sure. In terms of pure pass rushing, right now I would rate him behind Julius Peppers, Jared Allen, Mario Williams, DeMarcus Ware, and James Harrison. Still, Suggs is certainly in the conversation, and it’s not really fair to compare 3-4 outside linebackers to 4-3 defensive ends. It will be interesting to see how much the Ravens miss Suggs while he’s injured. There is no doubt that there pass rush will not be the same. Courtney Upshaw is going to be a good player, but he’s not going to step in and replace Terrell Suggs.

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