John Harbaugh: This Could Be Ozzie Newsome's Best Draft in My 11 Years Here


Whether it was the sentimental nature of Ozzie Newsome's final draft as general manager, or the excitement over the team's draft class, the Ravens didn't hide their emotions Saturday night.

After making 12 draft picks over the course of three days, Baltimore's decision makers gushed about the 2018 class.

"I really, really feel very good about this class and how it came to be," Newsome said.

Head Coach John Harbaugh took that statement even further.

"This is my eleventh draft with Ozzie, and Eric, and Joe, and I told Ozzie just as we finished this thing up I feel like this is his best draft since I've been here," Harbaugh said. "Heck, maybe the best ever."

Matching Newsome's best draft ever would be a tall order considering he drafted first-ballot Hall of Famers in Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis to start the franchise, but Harbaugh's sentiment was clear.

The Ravens feel like they re-loaded the roster with difference makers.

The draft board seemed to fall to the Ravens over the course of the weekend. Newsome made six trades – five of them were to trade back – as he accumulated picks to get additional players they coveted.

By the time the weekend was over, Newsome had added a pair of tight ends and wide receivers, offensive line depth, defensive backs from major programs and a potential franchise-changing quarterback.

"We addressed a lot of areas on the football team," Newsome said. "There is no doubt in my mind, we are a better football team and this will give us an opportunity to get to not only where we want to go to, but all of our fans and everybody that wears that purple. That's getting into the playoffs and hopefully getting to another Super Bowl."

The addition of Jackson is a significant move in the team's history. Joe Flacco has been the team's starting quarterback for the last decade, and the Super Bowl MVP will remain the starter in 2018.

But Jackson is a dynamic talent who won the Heisman Trophy in 2016, and he is in line to be the long-term answer at the position. If he's able to carry into the NFL what he did in college, then getting him at pick No. 32 would be another impressive item to add to Newsome's Hall of Fame resume.

Adding tight end Hayden Hurst in the first round is a move that is expected to make an immediate impact. He was viewed as the top tight end in this year's class, and the Ravens doubled up at the position by adding Oklahoma's Mark Andrews in the third round.

Other draft picks like offensive tackle Orlando Brown, linebacker Kenny Young and wide receivers Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley will all compete for significant roles, and the injection of young talent could prove to be a pivotal moment for the franchise.

"The job that was done by Ozzie and by our scouts and by everybody involved, the coaches, it was just awesome to watch," Harbaugh said. "It's our job as coaches to make that into a reality on the field so that everybody can see it.

"I couldn't be more excited about this bunch of guys we've got coming in here to help make this football team great. I just think Ozzie and everybody in that building has done a great job."

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