Another NFL Draft is in the books, and most pundits have given the Ravens high marks for their nine-player haul. Of course, as is always the case, a draft grade will be much more complete in two or three years once it's determined whether these players live up to potential.
Still, in the short term the Ravens draft has to be considered a success, just based on this fact: With each of their first three picks -- the ones who can be assumed to have the greatest impact -- the Ravens were able to get a player they had rated much higher than where they were picking.
* Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens had wide receiver Breshad Perriman ranked in their top 15 overall, and they got him at No. 26.
* Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said they had tight end Maxx Williams rated in the top 40, and they got him at No. 55 after trading up three spots. (They obviously didn’t want to push their luck and wait until they were picking at No. 58.) "Maxx Williams was way ahead of anybody that we had on the board when we picked him," general manager Ozzie Newsome said.
* Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis was viewed by many as a late first-round or second-round talent, and the Ravens had a second-round grade on him. Yet they got him late in the third round, at No. 90 overall.
The Davis selection, as much as anything, has all the earmarks of the classic Ozzie Newsome mantra of “best available player regardless of need.” It can be argued that cornerback represented a larger need than defensive line. But Newsome and Co. must have taken one look at their board, seen a second-round talent in Davis still sitting atop the board and pounced.
"Could we have taken a corner in the first round? We probably could have," Newsome said. "In the second round? We probably could have. But at the point when we were picking, it wasn’t the best player."
As always, the Ravens stayed true to their board.
It’s been Newsome’s way ever since his very first Ravens draft pick, when he took tackle Jonathan Ogden instead of running back Lawrence Phillips, despite the Ravens need at running back.
Granted, none of these new draft picks has even played an NFL down yet. But consistently getting higher ranked players at lower-ranked slots, and staying true to a system that has worked for 20 years, is how you win the draft.
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