It is always wise to give Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome the benefit of doubt when it comes to the draft. Very few executives can maneuver through the college draft as deftly as Newsome does.
But when the Ravens rolled out of the two-day draft without a speedy wide receiver, it begged the question, "What's up?"
Getting Michael Oher in the first round was still another case of a good player dropping. The Ravens were proactive, going up to get him. All well and good. Jared Gaither and Oher could form one of the best tackle tandems in the NFL before long. That helps everybody, running backs, quarterback, receivers.
No knock on the rest of the picks, either. If Newsome and Eric DeCosta picked them, they must bring something special to the table. I won't quibble over any red flags at this point.
But where was the vertical threat that will boost the passing game? Where was the wideout that's going to stretch the field?
Is he on somebody else's roster right now? Is he out on bail somewhere?It would help to eliminate the options that aren't likely to materialize first.
Let's scratch Anquan Boldin. The Cardinals rejected a second-round pick from the Bears on Saturday (No. 49 overall), according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Seems like it'll take at least a first-round pick to pry him loose. Then you've got to sign him. Oh, and did we mention, he wants $8- to $10 million on a new deal? OK, forget him.
Let's not even entertain Braylon Edwards. Would the Browns trade a potential playmaker within the division? George Kokinis wouldn't. So he's out.
Don't even bring up Plaxico Burress. He's without a team right now, unless you consider his potential prison team. Shoot yourself in the leg in a crowded restaurant in New York City and you need time to reflect on things. He's not an option now, not until he's cleared all his legal hurdles. But keep him in mind.
So, who's the guy?
To listen to Newsome, the Ravens already have him. Got him in 2006, fourth round, out of Oregon. Name of Demetrius Williams.
He's fast, he's big, he's talented. He's scored three touchdowns in five starts and 32 games with the Ravens. Two of them went for 70- and 77-yard touchdowns.
The downside is he played only 16 games the past two seasons because of ankle issues. Staying on the field has been the hard part so far. Here's what Newsome said on Sunday about the lack of a wideout in the draft:
"I will again say this: We went to the AFC championship game with the guys that we had, and Demetrius was not healthy. We get a healthy Demetrius Williams back -- and he's working toward that -- then with the way we're going to be able to protect it, the way Joe [Flacco] can throw it, the way our running backs can run it, and the way we play defense and special teams, we'll be around at the end of December and January just with the team we have right now. I feel very good about that."
Newsome also alluded to the fact there will be more players who become available before the season, just as tackle Willie Anderson was last year. That makes sense, too. But anybody good enough to elevate a whole offense is going to cost a lot of money. And that starts trouble with an established group.
Looks like Demetrius Williams, then.