Heading into the draft, Las Vegas does not view the Ravens as a Super Bowl contender. Vegasinsider.com gives the Ravens 35-1 odds to win Super Bowl 51, tied with the Raiders for 15th best in the NFL.
At the Ravens’ pre-draft luncheon, general manager Ozzie Newsome was asked how close the Ravens were to being contenders. Newsome said it was too early to answer, though he was pleased to acquire wide receiver Mike Wallace, tight end Ben Wallace, and safety Eric Weddle during free agency.
“I think I can probably answer that better after the third preseason game,” Newsome said.
“It will be around the third or fourth preseason game (before I can answer that question). And then, if you listen to some of the other people in the business, it normally takes you through the first four games before you find out what team you really have. So we will take that same path in trying to find out where this team is going to be. Based on our acquisitions so far and hopefully the health we’ll get back, we should be better. We lost a lot of close games last year, and maybe guys can make a play or two to help us out and we can win some of those games that we lost.”
The Ravens own the sixth pick in the draft because they had the worst record (5-11) in coach John Harbaugh’s eight-year tenure. The Ravens view last season as an anomaly. They expect to bounce back like they did in 2014, when they finished 10-6 and reached the divisional round of the playoffs, following an 8-8 season in 2013.
It’s reasonable to expect the Ravens to be healthier next season, and that alone could make them better. But jumping from 5-11 back into the playoffs? They need a strong draft to improve the odds of that happening.
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