Ravens, Newsome work their magic
April, 23, 2010
By James Walker | ESPN.com
Mitchell Layton/Getty ImagesOzzie Newsome and the Ravens have reason to smile after Day 2 of the NFL Draft.Despite a stellar track record as one best talent evaluators in the NFL, some questioned general manager Ozzie Newsome when the Baltimore Ravens traded their first-round pick to the Denver Broncos.
Not only was it the first time in franchise history the Ravens traded out of the first round, but quality prospects such as cornerback Kyle Wilson and defensive linemen Jared Odrick and Dan Williams were available at No. 25. Any of those players could have been good fits for the Ravens.
But 24 hours later, no one should be doubting Baltimore after acquiring three extra picks and taking highly-touted linebacker Sergio Kindle and defensive lineman Terrence “Mount” Cody on Friday. Both players are first-round talents that Newsome and his staff found at a tremendous value in the second round.
After improving the offense in free agency, particularly with the Anquan Boldin trade, the Ravens stocked up on defense with their first two picks of the 2010 draft.
"We're a team that historically has been built through the draft, and we knew back in September this was going to be a strong draft," Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said following Thursday's trade. "It's proven to be a strong draft, and we wanted more picks. Our scouts and coaches are very excited."
The Ravens took Denver’s second-, third- and fourth-round picks Thursday. The Broncos wound up selecting former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow at No. 25, a move that has been heavily criticized by the national media.
But few can argue with Baltimore’s draft approach. The same GM who hit home runs with Michael Oher (2009), Ray Rice (2008) and Joe Flacco (2008) the past two years may have done the same with a pair of second-rounders.
Kindle, who was taken with Denver’s second-round pick, was a very productive force at Texas, where he recorded 16 sacks the past two seasons. He fell to Baltimore in the second round because teams were worried about his history with an injured knee. But in terms of talent, he is often compared to Terrell Suggs as a player who could seamlessly translate to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense and become a disruptive force.
"Getting to the quarterback is my specialty, and I can only get better learning from Suggs and guys like that," Kindle said. "The sky's going to be the limit once I get there and get in the system."
Cody is one of the biggest prospects in this year’s draft, which is filled with quality defensive linemen. The Ravens felt comfortable that they could get a quality depth at the position later in the draft, which is part of the reason they made the trade with Denver.
With the exception of Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata, Baltimore’s defensive line is getting long in the tooth. Cody should fit in well, teaming with veteran defensive tackle Kelly Gregg, 33, and eventually should become his replacement.
"I had a real good feeling this is where I would be going," Cody said. "It took longer than I thought it would, but at the end of the day I’m a Baltimore Raven and proud to be one."
Baltimore also selected Oregon tight end Ed Dickson in the third round, which was another pick acquired from Denver. Dickson should help with depth at tight end behind longtime starter Todd Heap.
The Ravens will forever be linked as the other party in the highly controversial Tebow deal. Denver is on the hook for a major project at quarterback who could be a boom-or-bust player. But Baltimore did its part by drafting multiple quality players across the board who should help the team in the long and short term.