Baltimore Ravens, general manager Ozzie Newsome
In what turned out to be the most offensive-minded draft in recent years for the Baltimore Ravens, general manager Ozzie Newsome and the team’s brass went in a new direction for the first time in several years. For the first time since head coach John Harbaugh took over the team in 2008, the Ravens used their first two draft picks on offensive players.
It’s something that hadn’t been done since quarterback Joe Flacco was taken with the No. 18 pick in the 2008 draft, followed by the selection of running back Ray Rice in the second round of the same draft. In fact, only one other offensive player was drafted in the first round by the Ravens since 2008, and that was right tackle Michael Oher, taken No. 23 overall in 2009.
Newsome has used most of his early round picks on restocking his team’s defense. Baltimore has always been a defensive-minded team, so no one argues with the Oz when he decides to draft defensively. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and with the Ravens desperately in need of a receiver and right end, Newsome delivered, drafting two of the most potent offensive weapons available in the 2015 NFL Draft.
After taking University of Central Florida receiver Breshad Perriman as his No. 26 overall pick in the first round, Newsome then traded up in the second round to snap up top-rated tight end Maxx Williams from the University of Minnesota. Baltimore lost veteran right end Owen Daniels to free agency this off season; their other veteran tight end, Dennis Pitta, is coming off of two major hip surgeries and may not be available to play this coming season, if ever again. At 6-feet, 4-inches and 250 pounds, Williams has the prototypical size of a pro tight end, and has soft hands and good speed to make him a legitimate threat in the Ravens’ passing attack.
“With these picks, Joe realizes that he’s got some guys he can throw to,” said Harbaugh.
Later in the draft, the Ravens shifted their focus to filling holes in the defense. Newsome used the 90th pick on defensive tackle Carl Davis of Iowa and the 122nd pick to draft pass rusher Za’Darius Smith out of Kentucky. Davis is a big body who can help replace longtime Ravens Pro Bowl nose tackle Haloti Ngata. Smith, a 6-feet, 4-inches, 275-pound lineman should help fill the void left when pass rusher Pernell McPhee departed Baltimore earlier this year via free agency.
The Ravens also needed to draft a cornerback to add depth in the secondary. They eventually took cornerback Tray Walker out of Texas Southern as their 136th pick. At 6-feet, 2-inches and 185 pounds, Walker has the length and strong athletic skills that many scouts love to see in cornerbacks.
“We scratched a lot of itches ,” Harbaugh told the media. But Newsome suggested to reporters that he still has more moves to make in free agency before the team will be ready for the start of next season.
“We’re not done putting this team together,” Newsome said.
The following is a list of each player drafted by the Ravens in the 2015 draft:
– No. 26 pick: WR Breshad Perriman, UCF
– No. 55 pick: TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
– No. 90 pick: DT Carl Davis, Iowa
– No. 122 pick: DE Za’Darius Smith, Kentucky
– No. 125 pick: RB Javorius Allen, USC
– No. 136 pick: CB Tray Walker, Texas Southern
– No. 171 pick: TE Nick Boyle, Delaware
– No. 175 pick: OT Robert Myers, Tenn. State
– No. 203 pick: WR Darren Waller, Georgia Tech