Biggest Winners Of Ravens 2017 Draft
The NFL Draft is in the books, so let's start looking ahead to how the Ravens' seven picks may affect those who were already in Baltimore.
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec named seven people who he believes are the biggest winners of this year's draft:
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Pees sure didn't hide his excitement over the weekend. During first-round pick Marlon Humphrey's introductory press conference, Pees opened with a lengthy statement describing all that the cornerback would bring to the defense. He even looked over at Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt and said, "I know I am taking a little of your time, Chris, but, I'm telling you, I'm so excited." The Ravens followed up the Humphrey selection by taking four more defenders in the draft, and Zrebiec wrote that the Ravens "should now be deeper on defense than they've been in years."
RB Terrance West
West started 13 games last year and led the Ravens with 774 rushing yards, and Zrebiec expects him to open the 2017 season as the starter. "Despite it being one of the deepest running back classes in recent memory, the Ravens did not select another ball carrier for just the second time in the past seven drafts," Zrebiec wrote. "John Harbaugh has already backed West, the former Towson standout, as the starter. The draft was the latest indication that the team is plenty content with him in that role."
WRs Michael Campanaro, Chris Moore
General Manager Ozzie Newsome's decision not to use one of his seven draft picks on a receiver is a sign that the team has high hopes for Campanaro and Moore. "The Ravens will still add a receiver at some point before the regular season. However, they clearly believe that Campanaro and Moore are ready to become bigger pieces on offense," Zrebiec wrote.
OL John Urschel, Ryan Jensen
The Ravens used the third day of the draft to solidify the offensive line by selecting San Diego State's Nico Siragusa and Texas A&M's Jermaine Eluemunor. The fourth- and fifth-round picks, respectively, will compete for starting jobs, and Harbaugh specifically said they'll look at Siragusa as an option at center. "However, it's hard to believe they'd be comfortable with a rookie, who said he hasn't played center since intramural football, starting at the position in time for Week One," Zrebiec wrote. "Unless the Ravens sign veteran Nick Mangold, and that's still a possibility, it looks like Urschel and Jensen will get a chance to compete for the starting job this summer."
LB Kamalei Correa
The starting inside linebacker spot next to C.J. Mosley opened this offseason when Zachary Orr was promptly forced to retire because of a congenital neck/spine condition. The Ravens didn't sign a linebacker in free agency or take one in the draft, which Zrebiec sees as a vote of confidence in last year's second-round pick. "As of now, Correa is the favorite for that job ahead of veteran Albert McClellan and Patrick Onwuasor," Zrebiec wrote.
Williams Reminds Former Giant Of Lawrence Taylor
Baltimore's selection of Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams has been praised as one of the great value picks in this year's draft. If Ray Perkins' comparison for Williams comes to fruition, the pick will eventually be regarded as the biggest steal of the draft.
Perkins, the former head coach of the New York Giants (1979-82) and University of Alabama (1983-86), sees similarities between Williams and Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
"I'm not saying he's quite there yet, but Tim Williams reminds me a lot of our No. 56 in New York, Lawrence Taylor," Perkins told AL.com before the draft (via ESPN.com). Perkins drafted Taylor with the No. 2-overall pick in 1981.
Taylor is regarded as one of the best defensive players of all time and was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
"Williams, right now, is an impact player that can do things Lawrence did," Perkins said. "How he comes off the edge, affects the pass protection, getting to the quarterback, chasing him down. You couldn't run away from Lawrence because he had the speed to chase you down. Williams has that kind of speed and he plays with that kind of passion."
CB Wright Signs With Buffalo
Former Ravens cornerback Shareece Wright has found a new home.
After being released by the Ravens this offseason, Wright signed with the Buffalo Bills Monday. He followed former Ravens Secondary Coach Leslie Frazier to Buffalo, as the Bills hired Frazier as their defensive coordinator this offseason.
"He made that phone call to me and told me he felt like it's a great opportunity for me to come here and add something to this defense," Wright told Chris Brown of the Bills website. "I trust in him and we went from there."
Wright played in 23 games for the Ravens over the last two seasons. He made 16 starts and had 78 tackles, 11 passes defensed and no interceptions. The Ravens cut Wright in March as they freed up salary-cap space just before free agency.
"After weighing my options out during that process, I really felt like this was the best opportunity to come here," Wight said. "Going on my seventh year in the league and just looking at the roster, the opportunity was there for me to be able to come in and add something to this defense."
Flacco Honored By Arena Football League Team
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has become buddies with ESPN analyst and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski over the years. Flacco and Jaworski teamed up to purchase a New Jersey golf course last year, and over the weekend Jaworski had Flacco as a guest for his Arena Football League team's home opener.
Jaworski owns the Philadelphia Soul of the AFL, and Flacco was the honorary captain for the game.
Ironically, the Soul played the Baltimore Brigade, and Philadelphia won, 69-34.