Ozzie Assesses Wideout Situation

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For six shorter than anticipated rounds of the 2009 NFL Draft, analysts expected and fans eagerly awaited Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome to select a big-play wide receiver for Joe Flacco.

It didn't happen.

Instead, the Ravens focused on the trenches, solidifying the offensive line with the addition of tackle Michael Oher and adding defensive end Paul Kruger to bolster the pass rush on the first day of the Draft. The selection of Oher was generally praised by NFL pundits, but still left others scratching their heads as to why the Ravens did not address what was viewed by many to be their biggest need.

Newsome doesn't see it that way.

"I will again say this: we went to the AFC Championship game with the guys that we had," Newsome said Sunday, referring to current Ravens wide receivers Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton. Newsome was confident that the return of Demetrius Williams from injury would also strengthen the passing game.

"With the way we're going to able to protect [Joe Flacco], the way Joe can throw it, the way our running backs can run it, and the way we play defense and special teams, we'll be around at the end of December and January just with the team we have right now. I feel very good about that."

Newsome expressed confidence in his current wide receiver corps, as well as the coaches evaluating them. "The Wizard of Oz" will continue evaluating the receiver roster himself during OTAs and mini-camps and did not discount the possibility of adding a wide receiver later.

The Ravens have a history of staying busy and adding players throughout the offseason. In June 2006, Newsome traded for quarterback Steve McNair from Tennessee, brought Lorenzo Neal in during Training Camp in 2008, and signed tackle Willie Anderson just days before last season began.

"You know my track record," Newsome affirmed. "The job is never done as far as I'm concerned. We just finished a big phase of it. Part of that phase was there was not a receiver that was the best player when we picked.

"But I'm sure between now and the time we play Kansas City that someone could become available that we would be attracted to and someone that can come in and help our football team."

The Ravens traded the 26th pick to New England for the 23rd where they selected Oher, but there were receivers available at that position. North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks went to the Giants at 29, and Rutgers receiver Kenny Britt to the Titans soon after at 30. Baltimore worked out both players leading up to the Draft.

But Newsome stayed true to his gut, drafting the best possible player for his team.

"Going into the offseason...when I looked at our football team, I felt securing a tackle for the future was No. 1," Newsome commented, reiterating the importance of keeping Flacco upright.

Baltimore also had opportunities to add another receiver in the offseason prior to the Draft. Former Pro-Bowler Torry Holt was released by the Rams several weeks ago, but recently signed with Jacksonville. There have been multiple trade rumors for some of the more productive wideouts currently in the league, including Braylon Edwards of Cleveland, Chad Ocho Cinco of Cincinnati and Anquan Boldin of Arizona.

Boldin's name has been linked to the Ravens more than any other. The Baltimore Sun reported last week that the Ravens had expressed an interest in acquiring Boldin. In the days leading up to the Draft, it was reported that the Cards' asking price for Boldin, a first- and third-round pick, was too high, and was lowered to either a first- or second-rounder and other considerations, such as players. AZCentral.com recently reported that Boldin was likely to stay in Arizona despite the rumors. Arizona has reportedly only received one offer for Boldin from an unidentified team, which they rejected.

Newsome remains confident with his team as of right now, but will keep his options open.

"With me, if the opportunity presents itself, and it's the right thing for us to do, that fits into the structure of our football team that allows us to continue to build and keep some of our good, young talent... we've got to look at that, " Newsome commented when asked about the possibility of trading for Boldin. "So, if all of that falls into place, then yes. But that's a tough thing."

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