When it was the Ravens turn to pick with the 17th overall selection in the first round, Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley was the highest-rated player on the board. Given the amount of time invested by the Ravens to do their due diligence on their future players and their consistent success, it's hard to ever question their pick.
However, I don't know if Mosley was the perfect fit for the Ravens' need at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to see Mosley line up next to Daryl Smith, but I thought some of the talent at safety remaining on the board was too good to pass up.
Mock drafts are nothing more than conversation pieces, but I don't know if many would have had both Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix still on the board by the 17th pick. Conventional wisdom was thought to be that whichever player was still on the board, that's who the Ravens would pick.
The rest is history as the Ravens took Mosley and the New York Jets took Pryor with the very next pick. Surprisingly, Clinton-Dix slid to the Green Bay Packers at 21.
Personally, I would have been happy with either Pryor or Clinton-Dix. Jets head coach Rex Ryan may be a media spectacle, but he's one heck of an evaluator of defensive talent. When the Jets swooped up Pryor immediately after the Ravens pick, I had a gut feeling that the Ravens may have missed an opportunity at a major upgrade to their defense.
It's unfair to even criticize Mosley, especially because he hasn't even played a snap in the NFL. It's likely he'll have a great NFL career but I just would have rather seen the Ravens pick a safety. Possibly the most upsetting part of picking Mosley falls more on last year's second round pick Arthur Brown. Clearly, Brown struggled adapting to the NFL and the Ravens picking Mosley all but confirmed they were disappointed with Brown's first professional season.
The Ravens needed to add another linebacker, but I feel they could have done that at a later round. Brown should have already been competing for the starting job at will linebacker after Jameel McClain's departure. Brown would have also been battling with Josh Bynes, a former undrafted free agent who has moved his way up the depth chart and has starting experience.
The biggest hole on the defense wasn't at linebacker, it was at free safety.
To the Ravens' brass, maybe they believe there's a minimal drop-off between Pryor, Clinton-Dix or someone they could select tonight in the second or third round. But, as it stands right now, there isn't much depth at free safety and I'd have to think that Jeromy Miles is the on-roster favorite to start as of now.
The Ravens clearly have a formula and it has worked for them in the past. For those like me who would have rather seen Pryor or Clinton-Dix on the team, we'll just have to continue to say "trust in Ozzie" and move on.
After all, these guys do know what they're doing. I'm just a guy in front of my keyboard that has a few fantasy football championships under my belt.