There is just one draft remaining in Ozzie Newsome’s future while serving in the capacity of the general manager of the Baltimore Ravens. The only man to ever hold that post in the history of the franchise going back to its origins in 1996, he will be stepping down and taking a beat seat beginning with the 2019 season.
Widely praised for his ability to field competitive rosters for the Baltimore Ravens over the years, Newsome has managed to field some of the best defensive teams of this era, and his managing of the compensatory pick formula has netted him extra draft picks at an unparalleled rate with which to work.
But he has been far from perfect in his draft history—nobody comes close to perfection—and he knows it as well as anyone. He recently talked about some of his failings as the Ravens’ general manager when it comes to the draft as he prepares for his last one.
Baltimore’s three-year playoff drought has coincided with some big misses in the early rounds of recent drafts, most notably wide receiver Breshad Perriman in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Tight end Maxx Williams taken in the second round of that same draft has never become the player expected, either. Kamalei Correa and Bronson Kaufusi, 2016 second- and third-round picks, have struggled to get on the field.
“No doubt” he deserves the blame for the team’s recent performance in the draft, Newsome said. “Just like it was when we were having success, we were getting all the credit, and when we haven’t had the success, I need to take all the blame and it falls right on me”.
He credited the coaching staff for what it does with the players that he provides them, saying “we have to do a better job of bringing in players. Whether that’s through the draft, free agency or trades, we have to do better”. The Ravens recently released multiple players that they brought in via free agency just last year.
That included wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who when brought in was talked about as possibly being the best player at that position that quarterback Joe Flacco has ever worked with. Their one season together obviously did not support that hypothesis.
Baltimore this year has already brought in John Brown and Michael Crabtree via free agency and is still looking for more outside help at wide receiver, recently kicking the tires on veteran Eric Decker, whom they were interested a year ago when they signed Maclin as well.
While this will be the final season in which Newsome is the general manager, he will still be a part of the organization, likely for as long as he wishes. According to the Baltimore Sun, it is believed that he will largely have the power to define his own role, whether that means working in the facility or even going out on the road.