Had the Cowboys not taken running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth pick in the draft, would the Ravens have taken him at No. 6 if he was still available?
That question was posed to Ravens coach John Harbaugh this week, and he did not deny the Ravens had strong interest in Elliott. They took left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the No. 6 pick, and have been very pleased with that choice. But Elliott is a special player, leading the NFL in rushing as a rookie. Was he special enough to have been the Ravens’ choice over Stanley?
“It would have been a very tough call,” Harbaugh said following Wednesday’s practice. “I think I know which way we would have gone. I was in the room. I did see the (draft) board. I don’t have clearance to be the leak. I’m an unauthorized leak on that. (General manager) Ozzie (Newsome) wouldn’t appreciate it. He’s a guy we thought a lot of. He’s a guy that would have gotten very serious consideration if he had been there.”
The Ravens will face Elliott and the Cowboys on Sunday — an intriguing matchup between the NFL’s leading rusher and the league’s No. 1 run defense.
Not only does Elliott gain yards on his own, but he runs behind a Cowboys offensive line that is generally considered the best in football. However, the Ravens interior defensive line, led by Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan and Michael Pierce, is hyped for the challenge.
“I think we are a lot more disciplined than teams they have played,” Jernigan said. “I am just putting it out there. I think we are more disciplined up front. It is going to be a different kind of challenge for them. Only time can tell how everything is going to play out.”
The Ravens didn’t get the chance to draft Elliott. But on Sunday, they will be determined to stop him.