The Baltimore Ravens are widely regarded as one of the best teams in the league in terms of adding talent to through roster via the NFL Draft. General Manager Ozzie Newsome, who completed his final class in that role earlier this offseason, is also credited with being very proficient in manipulating the compensatory pick formula and moving up and down the draft board via trades.
While he has still managed to recoup those comp picks and bundle up a number of selections every year—they ended up making 12 selections during the 2018 NFL Draft, despite trading back into the first round—the actually results of his recent picks have been less than stellar.
Let’s start with the class of 2015. The Ravens were awfully pleased with their top two draft picks that year, but by the time the 2018 regular season rolls around, it’s entirely possible that neither of them will be on the roster simply by virtue of not making the team.
First-round wide receiver Breshad Perriman has been nothing short of a bust, regardless of the fact that his rookie season was lost to injury. Second-round tight end Maxx Williams also dealt with injury, but that still does not fully explain his inability to be a meaningful contributor over the course of his first three seasons.
All you need to know about those two draft picks is that the Ravens just signed three wide receivers in free agency, even adding them as unrestricted free agents (one as a restricted free agent with an original-round tender as a former UDFA); and for the tight end position, they just used first- and third-round picks there.
Let’s zip ahead to 2016. While sixth-overall selection Ronnie Stanley has solidified the left tackle position—quite frankly it would have taken effort to actively screw up that selection—both their second- and third-round picks are looking to be on their way out the door already.
Kamalei Correa at linebacker and Bronson Kaufusi along the defensive line have each failed to establish themselves into any kind of regular role, and when it comes to drafting, the team has continued to move on without them.
All four of these players named above have been listed in an article on the team’s own website as veterans who are in danger of being cut this year. Imagine if the Steelers, in one fell swoop, cut four draft picks within their first four seasons who were selected in the first three rounds.
Now, to be fair to the Ravens, they have also found several quality players in later rounds, even if their success on the first two days has been less than desired. Guys like Tavon Young and Alex Lewis had strong rookie seasons in 2016, though they are each coming off of injuries that prevented them from playing at all last year.
And let’s be honest—it happens to everybody. From 2013 to 2015, for example, the Steelers drafted Jarvis Jones in the first round, Senquez Golson in the second, and Sammie Coates and Dri Archer in the third.