OWINGS MILLS -- Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome denied the Ravens were going to pick left tackle Laremy Tunsil over Ronnie Stanley, until the gas mask video of Tunsil appeared on social media prior to the draft.
“No,” Newsome said Saturday night, when asked point blank if Tunsil would have been the Ravens’ choice, absent the video. “There’s a lot of speculation.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Ravens were going to pick Tunsil at No. 6, but picked Stanley instead after the video became public. Tunsil plummeted to No. 13 where the Dolphins took him, costing Tunsil millions of dollars.
Stanley took exception to Schefter’s report, refuting it on Twitter Saturday.
Hey Adam, you're wrong 😌— Ronnie Stanley (@IamtheGuru79) April 30, 2016
Believe who you want. But the careers of Stanley and Tunsil will now be compared even more, with both the Ravens and Dolphins hoping their rookie left tackle has the better NFL career.
After finishing 5-11 in 2015, and having already dealt with the domestic violence elevator video of former running back Ray Rice in 2014, can you blame the Ravens for passing on Tunsil? The controversy would have hovered over the Ravens and Tunsil -- baggage the Ravens don’t need, and can’t afford.
The Ravens did not shun Tunsil to reach for somebody who had no business being drafted No. 6. Some scouts had Stanley rated over Tunsil even before the video.
“He (Stanley) was right at the top row, with the top row of players,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
Newsome has admitted the Ravens tried to trade up to No. 4 to get defensive back Jalen Ramsey. But the Cowboys stayed put at No. 4 and took running back Ezekiel Elliott. After Ramsey went No. 5 to the Jaguars, the Ravens took Stanley at No. 6.
The fact Newsome was willing to disclose how badly he wanted Ramsey was revealing. Newsome is not worried about protecting Stanley’s feelings. There is already pressure on Stanley, and if he can’t handle that, he is going to struggle anyway.
Remember, Tunsil wasn’t the only top player the Ravens passed on at No. 6. Any of the next five players drafted would have addressed one of the Ravens’ primary needs - defensive end DeForest Buckner (No. 7, left tackle Jack Conklin (No. 8), outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (No. 9), and cornerbacks Eli Apple (No. 10) and Vernon Hargreaves (No. 11).
Stanley’s job is to prove Newsome made the right choice. But Tunsil’s video? That was one video too many for the Ravens.