"Then that third year most players make the biggest jump. The light goes on. They figure out they belong in the league and have an understanding of what it takes to be in this league. There's a maturity level that occurs in that third year for every player, where they start to match their physical abilities with the intellectual aspect of playing the game."
That's especially noteworthy because the 2008 draft class, now entering its third season, was one of Newsome's finest in his long tenure as Baltimore's general manager.
That class included Flacco (first round), Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice (second), inside linebacker Tavares Gooden (third), safety Tom Zbikowski (third), offensive tackle Oniel Cousins (third), wide receiver Marcus Smith (fourth), offensive lineman David Hale (fourth), safety Haruki Nakamura (sixth) and wide receiver Justin Harper (seventh).