Ozzie tried to trade up to get an edge rusher at #13 or #14, but there were no takers. So he picked a cornerback instead—one who had been expected to be available much later in the round—Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey.
The Ravens didn’t appear in any of the “winners” or “losers” columns by pundits such as ESPN’s Mel Kiper, NFL Media’s Gregg Rosenthal, or CBS Sports’ Will Brinson. As Ravens media writer John Eisenberg, wrote, the pick isn’t sexy, but is very sound.
The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec – No grade
“The Ravens weren’t kidding when they said this offseason that they wanted to upgrade their secondary. You can never have enough cornerbacks, but there were better fits out there. I would have taken any of Humphrey‘s three college teammates: Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster or O.J. Howard. Humphrey has all the physical traits of a quality NFL cornerback, but he struggled with consistency problems at Alabama and will probably start the season as the No. 4 CB. How about a No. 2 pass rusher or a No. 1 weak-side LB?”
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley – No grade
“Why they did it: The Ravens continue their trend of building one of the NFL’s top secondaries. Baltimore takes the draft’s second-best cornerback in Humphrey after signing safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr in free agency. It’s interesting that Humphrey is often compared to Jimmy Smith, the last cornerback selected by the Ravens in the first round (2011).
“Biggest question: Why didn’t the Ravens address a more immediate need on defense? The Ravens could’ve selected two other Alabama prospects — defensive end Jonathan Allen or inside linebacker Reuben Foster — who would’ve filled voids in the starting lineup. It’s surprising Baltimore didn’t trade back in the first round and get more picks.”
Ozzie must know what he’s doing—right?
The pick even surprised the player himself:
“I did not think I had a chance of going to the Ravens at that point,” he said. “To be honest, I wasn’t even really paying attention to what was on the screen. That’s just how surprised I was when my name got called.”
Humphrey did not have a pre-draft visit with the Ravens (Baltimore had its eye on him even before he took the field at Alabama). Plus, Ozzie Newsome can get all the info he needs from his friend Alabama coach Nick Saban.
Ravens HC John Harbaugh said Humphrey “has all the tools you want in a top corner.”
With three picks Friday night (Nos. 47, 74 and 78), Newsome has valuable draft capital to plug holes on both sides of the ball. Here are some of the top players still available at key positions of need:
JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
The productive USC receiver slipped out of the first round over concerns about his speed. But he compares himself to former Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin, who also fell to the second round because of his speed.
Zay Jones, East Carolina
Jones put up huge numbers in college and caught the attention of NFL teams by shining at the Senior Bowl.
Curtis Samuel, Ohio State
The versatile weapon played all over the field at Ohio State, and he brings big-play potential with fantastic speed and elusiveness.
Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
Kupp put up 6,464 receiving yards in college, the most in Football Championship Subdivision history. He’s a big target who would give the Ravens a valuable element to their receiving group.
Cam Robinson, Alabama
Robinson was a popular projection to the Ravens at No. 16, but now they may have a chance to get one of the draft’s best offensive lineman on the second day.
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
Some analysts also had Lamp mocked to the Ravens in the first round. The small-school prospect has the versatility to play all over the offensive line.
Dion Dawkins, Temple
Dawkins was a quality starter at left tackle for Temple, but some analysts believe he projects better as a guard at the NFL level.
Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
Moton was a stellar right guard and right tackle in his college career, and he could fill the spot vacated by Rick Wagner in free agency.
DeMarcus Walker, Florida State
Walker has a knack for getting after quarterbacks, and he put up 28.5 sacks in his college career.
Tim Williams, Alabama
Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said at the combine that the Ravens would consider Williams with the No. 16 pick. They passed on him in the first round, but may have a chance to nab him Friday.
Carl Lawson, Auburn
Lawson struggled to stay on the field his first two college seasons, but he broke out last year by putting up nine sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss.
Tyus Bowser, Houston
The former college basketball player is an explosive athlete, and he showed that by collecting 8.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in eight games last season.