When Jonathan Ogden walked across the stage and shook Paul Tagliabue’s hand for the first time after being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, a strange thought ran through my mind.
This kid is going to get bigger.
It’s hard to say that about an offensive tackle, but he looked lean, thin almost for his size and that was even commented by analysts of ESPN.
Jonathan Ogden did get bigger and he did get better. His accolades speak for themselves.
11× Pro Bowl (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001,2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
10× All-Pro (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002,2003, 2004, 2006)
Super Bowl champion (XXXV)
NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year (2002)
Unanimous All-American (1995)
Outland Trophy (1995)
UPI Lineman of the Year (1995)
Jim Parker Award (1995)
Morris Trophy (1995)
UCLA Bruins No. 79 retired
NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor
The many awards are testament to his success and his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month proves how great he really was. In an era where everyone from 1995-2002 was compared to the great Tony Boselli of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Ogden is one of the few players who lived up to that hype and then exceeded it.
The fact he was a first ballot selection also proves he truly is one of the greats of all time.
"It's like going to the hospital with your wife to have a baby," he said in a story in Newsday. "You can't do anything about it. You hear everybody say you're a first-ballot for sure, but you never really know. A lot of good, well-deserving guys didn't get in on the first ballot."
Ogden with be honored in Canton, Ohio with Larry Allen, Cris Carter and Warren Sapp; veterans selections Curley Culp and Dave Robinson; and coach Bill Parcells. Ogden, Allen and Sapp are all first-ballot Hall of Famers.
Ogden was on Baltimore’s first ever Super Bowl team in 2000. His being selected to Canton came the day before the Ravens won Super Bowl over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Ravens drafted Ogden No. 4 overall in the 1996 draft out of UCLA. With the addition of linebacker Ray Lewis 22 picks later, they pulled off one of the great first rounds in NFL Draft history and laid the foundation for their success in Baltimore. Lewis hung up his cleats after last season and like Ogden, is almost assured of being a first-ballot selection when his time comes up for consideration.
Through his career, Ogden blocked for running backs Jamal Lewis and Willis McGahee, who were instrumental in the team’s playoff and regular season success.
The success of Ogden and the success of the team seemed to go hand in hand, so much so, current team owner Steve Bisciotti shared in the franchises pride of Ogden’s honor.
“I am so proud that Jonathan is the Ravens’ first Hall of Famer,” said owner Steve Bisciotti in a statement. “My pride also extends to Ozzie (team general manager Ozzie Newsome), because his first-ever draft pick became our first-ever Hall of Famer.”