OWINGS MILLS – At Tuesday’s pre-draft press conference, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and assistant general manager Eric DeCosta conceded it was fair to second-guess some of the team’s recent draft choices.
The 2013 draft has been singled out for criticism, when the Ravens picked safety Matt Elam in the first round, and linebacker Arthur Brown in the second round. Neither has lived up to expectations.
The Ravens can’t afford misses at the top of year’s draft. Not coming off a 5-11 season. Not with the No. 6 pick overall, and with seven picks in the first four rounds.
Newsome has a long track record to be proud off, as the architect of two Super Bowl winning teams. However, Newsome is still pushing himself to be better.
“I would say it’s not up to my standards and not up to Eric’s standards and not up to the Ravens’ standards when you compare it to what we did very early on,” Newsome said of recent drafts.
Of course, Newsome set the bar high from the start. With the first two picks in franchise history in 1996, Newsome took left tackle Jonathan Ogden (No. 4), followed by linebacker Ray Lewis (No. 26). Ogden is already in the Hall of Fame, and Lewis will be. Drafting safety Ed Reed with the 24th pick in 2002 was another masterful move.
The Ravens need to find immediate help in this draft, like they did in 2015, when inside linebacker C. J. Mosley (17th pick) made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. DeCosta believes the Ravens are ready to cash in.
“Honestly, I’m proud of our draft classes,” DeCosta said. “We have won the Super Bowl fairly recently (three years ago). We made the playoffs a lot of years. You look at all those draft classes, with the exception of one, we’ve had at least two or three quality starters. I think we’ll get back to being a really good team soon.”