The NFL Draft came and went over the weekend, and it was certainly a notable one for the Baltimore Ravens. Unlike last year, 2014 and 2013, Baltimore took four-straight offensive players in the draft.
While neither were at wide receiver, they did double-dip at tight end, trade up for their future franchise quarterback and snag a right tackle capable of starting right away. General manager Ozzie Newsome, in his last draft, is trying to go out with a bang, but his successor revealed the original pick at 16 could’ve gone a lot differently. Not to mention in an all-too-familiar direction.
Eric DeCosta revealed on BaltimoreRavens.com’s podcast, The Lounge, with Garrett Downing and Ryan Mink, that Florida State safety Derwin James was going to be the selection at 16 if they would’ve stayed.
Eric DeCosta joined "The Lounge" podcast this morning and told us safety Derwin James would've been the pick at 16 and it was tough to trade away from him. DeCosta thought he was one of the best players in the draft. Much more great insight in an episode coming soon.— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) May 3, 2018
Mink also answered a fans question on Twitter as to why they didn’t select James, who was one of the better players in this draft.
Because they felt the draft was really strong in the 3rd and 4th rounds this year and wanted to acquire picks while also targeting more of a need with a late first-round offensive selection.— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) May 3, 2018
What Mink said turned out to be the case, as Baltimore traded down twice from 16 and 22 to snatch up Hayden Hurst at 25. They then followed up by trading back into the first round and acquiring Lamar Jackson at 32, which secures a fifth-round option for the franchise. Newsome was very busy on Day 2, also, as he was able to acquire picks for Saturday, while keeping the coveted extra third-round pick after trading his only second-round selection.
As for James, he would end up going to the Los Angeles Chargers with the 17th overall selection. Only hindsight will determine if this was the right course of action by the Ravens. Many, I’m sure, were happy Baltimore didn’t take a defensive player for the fourth time in the last six drafts, but such a prospect will be tough to not fawn over, that is, unless Hurst and Lamar Jackson don’t also become staples of the Ravens’ offense for years to come.