Jerry Coleman: Ravens Draft 9, But Was It Enough?
The Ravens did not waste anytime making improvements on the defensive side of the ball, selecting Alabama’s leading tackler C.J. Mosley with the 17th overall pick in the NFL draft. This pick decided on a coin flip back at the NFL combine. If the Ravens would have won the coin toss many speculate that organization would have leaned towards OT Zack Martin from Notre Dame, a crucial need for the team heading into the draft. That did not happen, and the brass had to make the next best decision in either trading their 17th pick, or address another position. General Manger Ozzie Newsome said unless they had a “bonanza” of an offer, they were not going to trade the number 17th pick, being it was the highest draft position for the Ravens since 2008.
LB’er C.J. Mosley comes into a system that molded Ray Lewis into a two-time Super Bowl champion and pro bowl athlete at the tender age of 18. Now that he is first since Ray Lewis to be taken in the first round at his position, he has the mentality of a contributor and is not concerned about being compared to Ray Lewis.
“I’m not trying to go in there and be the next [No.] 52 or anything like that. I’m going in there to be C.J. Mosley and help the team win,” Mosley said.
After the Ravens drafted Mosley to bolster their defense, they did not waste anytime adding NT Timmy Jernigan and FS Terrance Brooks both from Florida State. These two additions are essential especially since Matt Elam the young second-year player who is still only 24 will most likely be playing alongside Brooks at Strong Safety. Regardless of his youth, the Ravens still want to give Elam some help on the other side in order to take off some pressure. Brooks is looking forward to helping the defense in anyway possible and playing alongside Elam, even though he was a former Gator.
“All I’ve got to say is we don’t play for those teams anymore. We’re working together now to get one common goal and set a certain standard out there. I can’t wait to play with him. It’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait.”
The Ravens closed out the 2nd day of the draft by drafting a TE. Crockett Gillmore, out of Colorado State, this is a kind of surprising choice, given that club just signed Owen Daniels during the offseason to compliment Dennis Pitta, but Daniels noted during his press conference after he signed with the team, that Gary Kubiak likes to utilize a lot of three TE sets. Daniels only signed a one-year contract, and Newsome and the rest of the brass has to be considering that he might not be the long-term solution behind Pitta if Daniels cannot remain healthy, or if does not return after the 2014 campaign.
Teams can’t win games with the draft, but they can certainty set their franchises back. The Ravens know that when it comes to the NFL draft, a team is not just picking players that can help a team for the upcoming season but in the future as well. That is why Baltimore drafted QB Keith Wenning, out of Ball State. Given that Tyrod Taylor is going into the final year of his contract, Newsome, and the Ravens wanted to be prepared if he does not return after this upcoming season.
“Part of my job is to not only look at 2014, but I’ve got to be looking at 2015 and 2016 and 2017 and how the roster is going to shape itself. And you add into that our salary cap and guys that we’ve got the opportunity to retain or not retain. player based on our salary cap.”
Baltimore was heavy on defense, but they ended the evening by trading back into the draft. They acquired a 7th-rounder and gave Cleveland, a 6-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft. This would allow the Ravens to draft the only wide out taken by them in the draft, Michael Campanaro. He is a local talent from River Hill High School, who played college football at Wake Forest. This adds more depth to the wide receiver position and also hinting that even the Ravens went out and signed Steve Smith to a three-year contact, he is in the tail end of his career, and not going to be a long term solution.
“It just shows that they really wanted me to be a part of their team, and they traded back into the draft [to get me]. I’m just excited and I’m ready to come in and go to work. It’s awesome, being the only receiver drafted in this class. It’s awesome.”
The 2014 draft might be over, but the work at the Under Amour Performance Center is not. Despite the Ravens being pleased with the draft, the team addressed the corner and offensive tackle position among the un-drafted free agents, by adding Sammy Seamster CB out of Middle Tennessee and OT James Hurst. In recent years, the team has looked to players to fill certain voids on the roster. WR Marlon Brown, and K Justin Tucker are two examples of successes from the “Wizard”. Even though a Right Tackle was never taken.
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