Eisenberg: An 'Interesting' Night For Ravens


After drafting an offensive tackle in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft Thursday night, the Ravens really needed to focus on bolstering their defense Friday night.

They did just that, adding an outside linebacker, Kamalei Correa, in the second round, and a defensive end, Bronson Kaufusi, in the third round.

They didn't address the secondary, as some (me) thought they would, and they bypassed several higher-profile defensive prospects, opting to value their scouts' judgment over the combine consensus. That leaves them open to second-guessing, but know this: When the team's decision-makers took questions from the media late Friday night, it was obvious they felt the night had gone well … extremely well.

"We think we really helped the defense," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said.

"Sometimes things just work out and the guys you want are there," Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said.

But as always, there's plenty to dissect.

"An interesting night," Newsome said.

The Ravens opened the night holding an early second-round slot, the No. 36 overall pick,  putting them in position to grab one of a handful of marquee linebackers and/or pass rushers still available, such as Myles Jack, Noah Spence and Reggie Ragland. Instead, they traded back twice, ending up with the No. 42 pick. It wasn't a huge step back, but it cost them a chance to get Jack, Spence or Ragland. All three were gone by the time the Ravens were on the clock.

The player they did get, Correa, piled up 19 sacks and 30 tackles-for-loss in his final two seasons at Boise State. He's fast, versatile and described himself Friday night as "a 'see ball, get ball' player." Who doesn't like the sound of that?

Still, it's clear the Ravens valued him more than most other teams. That's why they could trade back twice, because they knew he would still be available.

Asked about their judgments, Newsome said the Ravens rated Correa higher than Spence, period. And as for Jack, a big talent who slipped out of the first round because of a knee injury, making him a classic "boom or bust" pick, Newsome said the Ravens would have taken him later, but not in the second round.

Obviously, they believe they made the right call, seeing too much risk in Spence, who failed multiple drug tests, and Jack because of the injury. But the careers of Correa and Jack in particular are inevitably going to be measured. When the Ravens gave up the No. 36 pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars used it to take Jack.

Having picked up a pair of later-round picks to move from No. 36 to No. 42, the Ravens suddenly had so many fourth-round picks (five) that it seemed likely they would package several for another pick in the second or third round. The Ravens could use a young defensive back, and this draft was deep there, with 14 cornerbacks and safeties going in the first two rounds alone.

Newsome confirmed Friday night that the team tried to trade into the later part of the second round, I'm guessing to take one of those defensive backs, but couldn't engineer a deal.

Thus, another year has passed without the Ravens taking a cornerback in the first three rounds. They've only done it once since 2010, when they took Jimmy Smith in the first round in 2011.

I'm sure they'll take a defensive back with one of those five fourth-round selections as the draft concludes Saturday. But a fourth-rounder isn't likely to come in and start.

Now you know why the Ravens locked up veteran Shareece Wright during free agency – in case they didn't draft a corner in a high round.

But again, the front office's obvious focus late Friday night was on who and what they got, not who and what they didn't get.

Correa and Kaufusi "are going to run to the ball 100 miles an hour on every play," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "They play the game the way we like to play it on that side of the ball."

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