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Ravens taking a closer look at draft prospects’ off-field issues

Ozzie Newsome, Steve Bisciotti

Baltimore Raven’s General Manager and Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome, left, answes questions as owner Steve Bisciotti looks on during a news conference Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014 in Owings Mills, Md.(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

AP

The Ravens earned a reputation last year as a team full of off-field troublemakers, as an offseason filled with player arrests culminated in the release of the infamous Ray Rice elevator video. So it’s no surprise that the Ravens are determined not to draft any players who will add to those off-field problems.

Citing a person familiar with the team’s operations, USA Today reports that the Ravens have an increased emphasis on domestic violence issues as they prepare for this year’s draft.

That approach is wise, and the Ravens are surely not the only team that is closely scrutinizing players who have been accused of domestic violence. In fact, it would be surprising if all 32 teams aren’t paying closer attention to that issue in this year’s draft than they were last year.

However, the reality is that there’s only so much a team can know about a player before drafting him. The Ravens had no reason to think when they drafted Rice that he would some day embroil the team and the league in a domestic violence scandal. And there’s no way to know for sure what kind of off-field issues a player entering the NFL now might have six months from now or six years from now.

But suffice to say, draft prospects who have a history of domestic violence are going to be a tough sell this year. For the Ravens and for 31 other teams.