Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said at the scouting combine in February that the team would consider drafting Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams in the first round if he were available.
Baltimore ultimately got Williams, but it came later than No. 16.
The Ravens drafted the Alabama product in the third round with the No. 78 overall pick, giving them tremendous value for one of the most explosive pass rushers in the draft.
"We've seen him play many, many times," DeCosta said. "He's a tenacious guy. Outstanding motor. Outstanding physical skills as a pass rusher, and he really fits our defense."
The 6-foot-4, 252-pound linebacker comes from the vaunted Crimson Tide defense, and he put up over 18.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss over the last two years. He's a natural fit as a pass rusher in Baltimore's system.
"He's a really good scheme fit for us as a 3-4 outside linebacker, and those guys are hard to find," DeCosta said. "We think he's hungry. We think he's passionate."
Taking Williams continued Baltimore's trend of beefing up its defense with this year's draft picks. The Ravens took four-straight defenders to open the draft – cornerback Marlon Humphrey, pass rusher Tyus Bowser and defensive end Chris Wormley – and Williams joins Humphrey on the Alabama-to-Baltimore pipeline.
Williams and Humphrey played big parts in establishing Alabama's defense as one of the best in the nation, and they won a national championship together during the 2015 season.
"We both have that championship pedigree," Williams said on a conference call Friday night. "We're really good friends, and just to see that he's going to be there also is a great feeling."
Williams and Humphrey will join fellow Alabama alum C.J. Mosley, who also won a national title with the Crimson Tide. The incoming rookies both looked up to Mosley when they were young players at Alabama, and now they'll follow his lead again with the Ravens.
"I always wanted to model my work ethic after C.J. Mosley," Williams said. "I looked up to him a lot, and I know they have those types of players on the roster that are going to grind hard and work hard."
Williams will compete with Bowser for a starting outside linebacker job, and he will also give the Ravens another valuable pass rusher. The Ravens came into the draft in the market for pass rushers after releasing Elvis Dumervil and trading Timmy Jernigan to the Eagles.
While Williams has talent, he dropped to the third round after some off-the-field issues. He admitted at the combine to failing multiple drug tests in college, and he was arrested on a misdemeanor gun charge last year.
The Ravens looked into Williams' background and General Manger Ozzie Newsome's close relationship with Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban allows him to get honest information about Crimson Tide players. The Ravens also brought Williams to Baltimore on a pre-draft visit to talk further with him about the issues.
During that visit, Newsome appreciated Williams' honesty in their conversation about his past.
"He was very up front about it," Newsome said. "At the end of the day, when we were talking with him on the phone, he understands that. He will accept that challenge as to not allow that to happen, but I can't sit here and guarantee it."
During his meeting with reporters at the combine, Williams attributed the failed drug tests to making mistakes as a young player. He said at the time that he had to own up to those decisions, and he reiterated Friday that he had to be up front with the Ravens about his past.
"They saw that I was very truthful," Williams said. "They saw that I was a very, very passionate guy. I'm not a liar. I've never lied about anything and they really respected me for that."