Four top Alabama prospects sat on the board when the Ravens were on the clock at No. 16.
There was cornerback Marlon Humphrey, defensive end Jonathan Allen, tight end O.J. Howard and linebacker Reuben Foster.
Newsome didn’t say so afterward, but he must have been drooling.
In the end, he made Humphrey the first Roll Tide player drafted, adding depth and talent to the cornerback corps after seeing injuries ravage the position and hamper the Ravens’ playoff chances the last several years.
The move may surprise fans considering most mock drafts projected the other three Alabama prospects ahead of Humphrey, but Newsome didn’t bat an eye.
“He was by far the best player that we were going to take,” Newsome said.
With that said, Newsome began Thursday’s press conference by saying the Ravens’ war room got “a little hectic.” Baltimore tried to trade up, then had offers to trade back.
Due to an early run on offense, a slew of top defensive talents tumbled down the board. Eight of the first 12 picks were on offense, including three widouts and three quarterbacks. That was a bit surprising to the Ravens.
Suddenly, Temple linebacker Haason Reddick, Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett and Ohio State safety Malik Hooker were all still on the board in the teens.
Newsome said he tried to trade up in the teens, but wasn’t willing to give up what was being asked for. It’s unclear which of those players, exactly, the Ravens wanted.
“We tried to trade up. We did,” Newsome said. “And it did not work out.”
Once the Ravens were on the clock, they knew they wanted Humphrey. But several teams were calling to move up to pick No. 16. Always looking to add more picks, and with just seven in this year’s draft, Newsome was willing to listen for “an offer that we couldn’t refuse.”
Newsome said no team offered compensation that would be fair according to the NFL’s trade chart. The Ravens, meanwhile, were looking for an even sweeter deal than the chart would suggest.
The other problem was that the teams who wanted to move up were picking near the end of the first round. The Ravens didn’t really want to go back that far.
“We didn’t want to go back to a point where we didn’t feel we would get a player we would be comfortable with,” Newsome said. “So we weighed all of the options.”
The Ravens also tried to trade up two spots in last year’s draft to select cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who ended up being picked one spot ahead of Baltimore by the Jacksonville Jaguars. This year, Baltimore stayed put and got a talented cornerback in Humphrey.
It’s not a pick any of the most prominent mock drafts projected, but it’s one that matches up with Baltimore’s long-term needs and draft board.
“It’s definitely a need pick for us, but it’s also a player ranked higher than the pass rushers,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.