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Ozzie Newsome Thrilled With Talent Collected In 2016 Draft


The 2016 draft didn't start exactly how the Ravens wanted.

Baltimore tried to trade up with the Dallas Cowboys to get Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Cowboys balked, and Ramsey, the top defensive back in the class, went to Jacksonville, one pick before the Ravens were on the clock.

When Ravens brass spoke with the media afterwards, there wasn't a ton of excitement in the room. Make no mistake, they're very happy with the player they got in Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Stanley was at the top of their board and received one of their best grades in the class. But things didn't pan out how Baltimore drew it up.

Over the next two days, however, things changed. They fell the Ravens' way. And after Baltimore made its 11th and final pick, there were a lot of happy people in the Ravens' war room.

"It's been a really, really good three days," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. "I don't know if I've ever felt as good about the collection of talent."

That's saying a lot for a general manager that just completed his 21st draft and is known for assembling some of the best draft classes in the NFL.

"The board came off, basically, the way we thought it would," Newsome said.

Sometimes the players the Ravens want fall to them. Sometimes they get snapped up right before the Ravens are on the clock. Sometimes positions of need are weak at times when Baltimore is looking to pick them.

Sometimes it seems every other team has the Ravens' draft board in their shirt pocket.

Not this year.

Known for his long, detailed draft recaps that often include a baseball metaphor, exhausted Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta simply said, "I'm just thankful that we got the guys we wanted."

Here's the Ravens' draft class as a review:

Round 1 (6): OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
Round 2 (42): OLB Kamalei Correa, Boise State
Round 3 (70): DE Bronson Kaufusi, Brigham Young
Round 4 (104): CB Tavon Young, Temple
Round 4 (107): WR Chris Moore, Cincinnati
Round 4 (130): OT Alex Lewis, Nebraska
Round 4 (132): DT Willie Henry, Michigan
Round 4 (134): RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
Round 5 (146): OLB Matt Judon, Grand Valley State
Round 6 (182): WR Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Round 6 (209): CB Maurice Canady, Virginia

Baltimore came into the draft looking for playmakers and Newsome said he's confident he got it on both sides of the ball.

Correa notched 20 career sacks while Kaufusi had 26.5. Young has seven career interceptions and Moore was one of college football's best deep ball threats. Dixon and Reynolds duked it out over their careers for the all-time NCAA touchdowns record and Judon had the most sacks in college football last year (20).

"We added some speed. We added some toughness. We added some size, athleticism and guys that have made some game-changing plays on the collegiate level," Newsome said. "We feel really good about the collection of talent that we have."

The Ravens also addressed all of their needs except inside linebacker, where veteran Daryl Smith departed.

Baltimore needed a long-term left tackle and younger pass rushers with Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil in their twilight years. They needed a nickel cornerback and some more youth at receiver. The Ravens added a potential returner and even got the long, big-bodied cornerback fans wanted with its final two picks, respectively.

"We were able to get some good young talent to come in here and compete to make this roster," Newsome said. "Right now, the Baltimore Ravens are a much better football team."

DeCosta entered Day 3 saying the pressure was on to nail the team's five fourth-round selections. It was the most picks in one round among the first five rounds in NFL draft history, per ESPN Stats & Information. Even Owner Steve Bisciotti put the heat on, saying in March that he wanted starters at every pick in the fourth.

That's where it seemed that Baltimore picked up its momentum in this draft, and it carried throughout the rest of the day.

Baltimore added another fourth-round selection and one in the fifth through two trades back in the second round. Suddenly, they had a lot of ammunition at their fingertips.

The Ravens went to bed Friday night with Young on their mind and were able to get him with the sixth pick of that round, and it kept going from there. Moore came three picks later. The Ravens had three picks within five slots near the end of the round and got Lewis, Henry and Dixon.

"I just think that the excitement that was rolling through the room as we were making those picks – guys were feeling good about each other and the players that we were getting – I won't say 'electric,' but it was a different atmosphere than I had been involved in," Newsome said.

Harbaugh compared it to a scene from Star Trek. Newsome was steady-handed Jean Luc Picard. DeCosta was the analytical Spock. Trade guru Pat Moriarty was the doctor with his calculator. Harbaugh, of course, was the battling James Kirk.

"Just watching these men, and the way they work in the heat of battle, under fire, was really something to behold," Harbaugh said.

"This was a critical part of our draft – the fourth round," DeCosta said. "It became a mission for all of us to do the best we could and get the best players we could. It fell that way today."

The Ravens' second-to-last pick of Reynolds brought tears to the eyes of those in the Ravens' war room. Baltimore still made one more selection, but the Reynolds pick was like an exhale of emotion after three long days.

DeCosta delivered his baseball analogy at the end of the press conference.

"It's extra-innings, I can tell you that," he said, sending the room into laughter. "Because I'm very tired, and we got a lot of picks. We didn't play nine innings. We played 11 innings."

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