Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Ozzie Newsome leaves no stone unturned for No. 16 pick

April 05, 2018 - 10:32 am

By Joe Schiller

For the second season consecutive season, the Baltimore Ravens sit smack dab in the middle of the first round at pick No. 16. Predicting selections for Ozzie Newsome and the front office can be like predicting the weather, as it’s never a sure thing who the Ravens will select in the NFL draft.

In 22 years at the helm, Newsome has built a strong reputation through his drafting. Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis were Hall of Fame inductees. Safety Ed Reed will complete the trio as he’s expected to be a first-ballot inductee next season.

Needless to say, those three picks alone speak to Newsome’s storied career.

Now entering his curtain call as general manager, Newsome and the Ravens are stuck at a crossroads. Baltimore has missed out on the postseason for three consecutive seasons, an unprecedented mark for the franchise.

Glaring needs on the offensive side of the ball project the Ravens to pursue an offensive-minded approach in the early rounds of the draft but Newsome left that notion in question in the team’s pre-draft press conference yesterday.

“You might be surprised at who we pick at 16 this year – if we pick at 16.”

The Ravens have never been a team to shy away from the best-player-available mentality and the 2017 draft was the perfect example.

Baltimore took the defensive approach with their first four picks, selecting Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey in the first round. Signing free agents Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson didn’t warrant a dire need in the secondary at the time but Humphrey’s selection proved to be vital in replacing an injured Jimmy Smith.

Eric DeCosta, the general manager in waiting, backed Newsome’s comments, giving pundits similar answers on the draft topic.

“We’ve got to make a pick at 16 – there’s got to be somebody there that we like. We’ll have a good player there...It might be a wideout, it could be tackle, it could be a defensive lineman, it could be a quarterback, it could be a corner. Whatever it is, we’ve got to make a pick. I think that the wide receiver class … Is there a Julio Jones in this draft? I don’t know. We didn’t think there was an Antonio Brown when Antonio Brown was selected. So, you never know. The biggest thing we have to do is find guys that we like – good football players – and whoever we pick across the board, we’ve got to find the right guys.”

If the draft does go quarterback-heavy in the first 10 picks, the Ravens could see talented players like Derrius Guice, Derwin James, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Josh Jackson available at pick No. 16.

While these players don’t necessarily fill obvious needs, the BPA strategy hasn’t halted the Ravens before and we shouldn’t expect that to change come draft night.