When the three-day draft ended and the Ravens had made the last of their nine selections, there was just as much talk about what needs they didn't address as those they did.
Despite saying there is a wide receiver the Ravens could take in every round, general manager Ozzie Newsome didn't select one with any of his original eight picks, though the team did trade for a seventh-round pick and select local product Michael Campanaro (River Hill).
Despite the perception that offensive tackle was their biggest need, the Ravens drafted a guard-center in the fifth round but no tackles. And despite having only four cornerbacks on the roster, the Ravens ignored the position.
Instead, the Ravens didn't overreact and stuck to their board, continuing to strengthen the middle of the defense while adding depth at key offensive spots.
"We are excited," said assistant general manager Eric DeCosta. "You never know what kind of shape the draft is going to take. We go into it blind. This just ended up being a draft about substance. We got guys that are going to be here for a long time that are going to help us win games."
The Ravens' first pick on Day 3 was Virginia defensive end Brent Urban, whom they considered taking in the second round but were happy to see on the board in the fourth.
They used their final five selections on offensive players: Coastal Carolina running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (fourth round), Penn State guard-center John Urschel (fifth), Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning (sixth) and Wake Forest's Campanaro in the seventh. The Ravens, intent on getting a wide receiver in the draft, acquired that final pick from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a 2015 sixth-round selection.
Four of their first five picks were defensive players and the final five were offensive players.
"It just worked itself out that way," Newsome said after finishing up his 19th draft with the organization. "We did not just go into today just saying we were going to draft offensive players. We were just going to draft the best players available, and they just happened to be offensive players."
DeCosta joked Thursday that the Ravens were being contrarians by going defense-heavy early.
"I think it just seemed like everybody was drafting offense and we were drafting defense," DeCosta said. "It's just really the matter of fact that we draft the best player available when we got to pick."
Newsome and DeCosta said they were pleased with what they accomplished over the three days. They feel they added potential immediate starters with the selections of Alabama middle linebacker C.J. Mosley in the first round and Florida State safety Terrence Brooks in the third. After losing starting defensive tackle Arthur Jones in free agency, team officials expect Florida State's Timmy Jernigan, a second-round pick, and Urban to immediately contend for starting roles.
"We felt like we were getting a potential starter down the road as a five-technique [defensive lineman]," Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said of Urban.
The Ravens also fulfilled their goals of adding more depth at tight end — they selected Colorado State's Crockett Gillmore in the third round Friday — and at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and along the interior line with their final four selections Saturday.
Newsome called it a "really, really good three days," but vowed, "we're not done as far as building this football team."
With plenty of roster space available, the Ravens were already working on putting together their class of undrafted free agents. They traditionally add one or two undrafted players who become key contributors, with wide receiver Marlon Brown and kicker Justin Tucker being the most recent examples.
The Ravens also have a history of signing a post-June 1 free agent who winds up filling a major need. Middle linebacker Daryl Smith signed in June last year and went on to lead the team in tackles and play all but a couple of snaps.
In the days ahead, the Ravens will be looking into adding an offensive tackle and a cornerback. But Newsome expressed confidence in young tackles Rick Wagner and Jah Reid and reiterated that the team could shift Kelechi Osemele to right tackle.
"The way the board was stacked, it wasn't stacked very well in that case. We were not going to just reach down and just take a player at the tackle position," said Newsome, who is looking to replace departed free agent Michael Oher. "We have three tackles here. We've got these young guys and we need to give [them] a chance. I think guys should fail on the field. We feel real good about them."
The Ravens have just four cornerbacks on the roster with projected starters Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith, and relatively unproven backups Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson. It was not a strong cornerback class, and Newsome said the Ravens had only one under consideration and that was in the first round.
Urban was born in Canada and was a youth hockey star. But when he was 6 feet 6 and 260 pounds at age 16, he decided to focus on football.
Urschel, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, is working on his second master's degree after graduating from Penn State in under three years with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in mathematics.
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