- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Ravens reporter
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The Ravens selected the draft's fastest wide receiver in the first round and traded up in the second round to steal away the consensus top tight end from their biggest rival. By the end of Friday night, the Ravens brought in Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman and Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams to significantly upgrade a passing attack that lost Torrey Smith and Owen Daniels in free agency.
Flacco didn't find out who the Ravens drafted until he received a call from coach John Harbaugh. As Harbaugh put it, Flacco was following around his three sons and not the draft.
"He was fired up," Harbaugh said.
The Ravens acknowledged that they sweated it out for Perriman to fall to them at No. 26 on Thursday. A day later, Baltimore wasn't about to take the chance of Williams lasting until the No. 58 pick.
After the New Orleans Saints surprisingly passed on a potential Jimmy Graham replacement at No. 44, the Ravens smartly jumped ahead of the Steelers by trading one of their three fifth-round selections to Arizona to move up three spots to No. 55. According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers were ready to draft Williams at No. 56.
General manager Ozzie Newsome insisted that the Ravens did not trade up to specifically slide in front of their fiercest AFC North rival. He said he has no idea who the Steelers are planning to pick.
“We get to a point where we feel it’s time to go get a player, we wait through three or four picks and then I get a little antsy,” Newsome said. “When you’ve got ammunition, you just go and get the player. It wouldn’t have mattered who was picking at that spot for us to move up and get the guy.”
No one should really be surprised that the Ravens made this move. In early April, owner Steve Bisciotti told season-ticket holders that the Ravens might move up in the second round if Williams fell into the second round.
Ravens officials just didn't think that was a possibility. This was the latest the first tight end has been drafted since 1994, when Lonnie Johnson went 61st overall to the Bills.
"Quite honestly, I never dreamed that he would be there for us, even in that range of players," assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "We thought he'd be gone. We thought conceivably in the first round but definitely top 40 picks in the draft."
This marked the first time that the Ravens have used their first two picks on offensive players since 2008, when they drafted Flacco and running back Ray Rice. After going heavy on defense in recent drafts, the Ravens have invested in young targets who can stretch the field for their strong-armed quarterback.
"I think with both picks, [Flacco] realizes that he's got some guys that he can throw it to," Harbaugh said.
The Baltimore Ravens know it's the perfect start to a draft when quarterback Joe Flacco is smiling and the Pittsburgh Steelers are cursing them.