2008 RAVENS DRAFT
Executive vice president and general manager Ozzie Newsome maximized the 2008 Baltimore Ravens draft, coming away with 10 rookies and a veteran cornerback, plus the team has a promising second-year tackle who represents this year's fifth-round choice.
Newsome and Eric DeCosta, the team's director of college scouting, drafted 10 players, seven on offense, including No. 1 pick QB Joe Flacco, and three for the defense. The Ravens traded a fourth-round choice to the Raiders for CB Fabian Washington, who started 28 games and played in 45 since being Oakland's No. 1 draft selection in 2005. Last July, Baltimore used a fifth-round supplemental pick to take T Jared Gaither, who started two games for the Ravens at LT last season. (Gaither's selection took away the Ravens' fifth-round choice in the 2008 draft.)
"We got bigger, faster, added toughness and intelligence and took a quarterback who we believe will be a long-time starter for us," Newsome said. During the draft, Newsome made four trades, including moving down from the eighth spot in the first round (to the 26th), and then back up to the 18th slot to grab Flacco. "Maneuvering the draft is like playing a giant chess game, and I think Ozzie did a tremendous job with it. Plus, we have a great scouting staff, and all of our picks came from our top 120 players," DeCosta added. (The Ravens do not subscribe to a scouting combine service.)
The Ravens entered the draft with nine selections. "With the two trades we made during the first round, we were better able to control the draft. Those trades gave us flexibility to focus on certain spots where we could select targeted players," Newsome explained.
One of those targeted players, of course, was Flacco, the 6-6 signal caller from Delaware. Joe threw for 4,263 yards (331 of 521) as a senior when he completed 23 TD passes with just five INTs. "We'll let Joe come in and compete with Kyle Boller and Troy Smith for our starting job. Whoever gives us the best chance to win on opening day will be our starter," new head coach John Harbaugh said.
The Ravens selected RB Ray Rice, the leading rusher in Rutgers history, in the second round. Rice ran for 4,926 yards on 910 carries with 49 TDs as a three-year starter for the Scarlet Knights. "The whole country had the opportunity to watch Rice on national television the last couple of years. They got to see what our scouts did – a powerful, highly-productive back, who loves to play," DeCosta explained. "We think he'll contribute immediately for us."
The first defensive player grabbed by the Ravens in the 2008 draft was ILB Tavares Gooden, who adds to the collection of standout Miami players on the Ravens. Other "U" products wearing Baltimore's purple are Pro Bowlers Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Willis McGahee. "He's like our other players from Miami," Newsome said. "He brings great passion to the game. He loves to practice and play, and he'll fit right in with our attacking defense."
Listed below are the Ravens' draft picks: