If you are a Pittsburgh Steelers fan—which is overwhelmingly likely given that you’re reading this—then you probably also know a good deal about the Baltimore Ravens. And if you know anything about the manner in which they go about the NFL Draft, it’s that they have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to making trades.
General Manager Ozzie Newsome even talked about how open they were to trades, either moving up or down even in the first round, leading up to the draft, which is something that I wrote about a couple of weeks before the draft.
And yet there were no trades. Not in the first round. Not in the seventh. So what gives? How come they didn’t make the effort? Did they suddenly turn into the Steelers—or the perception of the Steelers—and refuse to budge?
It turns out, no, not at all. In an unusually open article on the team’s website from a couple of days back, Ravens Senior Vice President Kevin Byrne published an article in which he outlined what the draft process was like, including getting some intimate thoughts from Newsome himself, with some details about a trade or two that fell through.
Byrne notes that they were on the phone with four different teams simultaneously at one point discussing possible trades, 30 minutes before they were even on the clock, with teams wanting to trade up. And the Ravens were still entertaining the notion of trading up themselves.
Right before the Ravens turned in the card with the name of Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphery, Baltimore phoned another team that they had previously discussed a possible trade with, looking to get a little better of a deal. The team rejected the offer and the pick was made.
It seems to me that the Ravens have such a fundamentally different view of the draft process than the Steelers have, which I think can be summed up in one simple quote. Eric DeCosta said that he learned from Newsome “that you always have to be ready to make a pick”.
I think such a statement would baffle Kevin Colbert. Of course you have to be ready to make a pick. You have a player that you want and if he’s there you take the player, right? Well the Ravens literally do not work that way. It’s almost as though making the selection is a last resort.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen that phrase bandied about by the Ravens. It’s an interesting and peculiar one that speaks to the sort of philosophy that drives their operation. But another quote earlier in the article also struck me in conjunction with that. “We did not anticipate that three receivers…would go in the top 12 picks”, Newsome said.
Later, he talked about a potential trade that they discussed with a team the day before. “When the Draft came, a player we coveted was still there after the first picks. But that team we had talked to now wanted more, and it was too much of a premium to pay”. I wonder what the odds are that they player was a wide receiver.