General Manager Ozzie Newsome thought long and hard about whether there were any areas of the draft that were left unsatisfied.
“Maybe [getting] a tight end,” he finally said.
If that’s the only blemish on the Ravens’ 2013 draft class, it’s been a good year.
Newsome, Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta, Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and Head Coach John Harbaugh all expressed their pleasure with this year’s 10-player crop.
“We feel very, very good about what we’ve added to our football team for the 2013 season,” Newsome said.
The Ravens addressed just about every area of need. They got a safety, inside linebacker, defensive lineman, outside linebacker, fullback, offensive tackle/guard, defensive end, center, wide receiver and cornerback.
And DeCosta said they even did it by taking the top-rated player on their board at the time with nearly every pick.
They wanted to fortify the middle of their defense and did so in strong fashion with their first three picks of safety Matt Elam, inside linebacker Arthur Brown and defensive tackle Brandon Williams.
Then they wanted to simply add more athletic, high-character, tough players who love to play football.
They did that with defensive end John Simon, who Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer frequently referred to as the “heart and soul” of the Buckeyes and somebody he would want to name his kid after.
Baltimore added hard-nosed Harvard fullback Kyle Juszczyk, a Swiss army knife of sorts who can play all over the offense and should shine on special teams, also in the fourth round.
Offensive tackle Ricky Wagner (Round 5) and center Ryan Jensen (Round 6), are young linemen who the Ravens feel their offensive line coaches, including Juan Castillo, can develop.
Defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (Round 6) is a strong pick for the future who will have to heal from a knee injury, but has a chance to develop into a strong player.
Wide receiver Aaron Mellette (Round 7) may not be Anquan Boldin’s automatic replacement, but he’s a big-bodied, fast and productive wideout. And the Ravens feel they can never have too many corners, so they picked Marc Anthony with their final pick of the draft.
“In our minds, it has been a very productive three days. We like all of the guys that we have brought into this class,” Newsome said.
“It’s a great day,” DeCosta added.
The Ravens feel they have refined their drafting process in the Head Coach John Harbaugh era. Newsome, DeCosta and Hortiz have been doing it for more than a decade, but Harbaugh has put his stamp on the process as well.
“I think the biggest thing is I think we have a great understanding of the type of football players John wants in his locker room, that he and his coaching staff want to work with,” Newsome said. “I think when we come together, the four of us, with all those things in mind, are able to put together a draft class as we have done over the past three days that we feel very good about.”
The Ravens added college team captains throughout the class. Brown and Williams, and perhaps others, were red-star players on Baltimore’s draft board, exhibiting the quintessential personality traits the franchise desires.