Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston talks about the Ravens' selection of third-round picks, Orlando Brown and Mark Andrews. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
It just made too much sense.
In his final draft before he steps aside following next season, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome turned to a familiar name. After not having a selection in the second round and twice trading back early in the third round, the Ravens used the first of their two third-round picks at 83rd overall on Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. He is the son of Orlando "Zeus" Brown, who was the team's starting tackle for six seasons.
Three picks later in the third round, the Ravens grabbed Brown's college teammate, pass-catching tight end Mark Andrews, who suddenly joins a crowded tight end corps that includes first-round pick Hayden Hurst and veterans Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams and Vince Mayle.
The Ravens exited Friday with two more offensive players and an additional three picks, giving them seven total selections on Saturday's final day. It marked another busy 24 hours for the Ravens who introduced their two first-round picks, Hurst and quarterback Lamar Jackson, early Friday afternoon and then didn't make their first selection on day two of the draft until well over three hours after it restarted.
When Newsome called Orlando Jr. to inform him that the Ravens were selecting him, his response was, "You're not kidding me, are you? Is this for real?"
Brown Jr. spent part of his childhood in Baltimore and used to spend time with his father at the team facility. He's dedicated his NFL career to his father who died in 2011 because of complications from diabetes. Newsome revealed that Brown Jr. wrote him a letter to tell him how special it would be to play for the Ravens.
"I'm all over the place, man," Brown Jr. said in a conference call Friday night. "I'm so incredibly blessed to have this opportunity with y'all, specifically y'all. I was born in 1996, the first year, when my dad came over with Cleveland. And then to be there part of the early 2000s with him, on throughout my younger life, to the point where he passed.
"Man, it's an incredible, blessed opportunity to be here and to be able to play in the NFL, especially for a team that, like I said, I grew up loving. I got a ton of pride and a ton of respect for that franchise."
Brown Jr. is expected to compete for the Ravens starting right tackle job with James Hurst. Once considered a potential first-round pick, Brown's stock took a major hit after a really poor performance in the NFL scouting combine, where his conditioning, focus and professionalism were called into question.
However, he certainly fits the NFL profile. Brown is 6-foot-8 and 345 pounds and he was dominant at times in college. He made 40 career starts at left tackle for the Sooners and was a two-time Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year. He was also a unanimous first-team All-American in his final season at Oklahoma.
"The fact that we took him, the type of kid that he is, he's going to give us everything he has," said Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta. "We want players that are going to be invested in our program and nobody is going to be more invested in the Ravens than him."
The Andrews pick was a little more surprising because the Ravens again eschewed drafting a wide receiver and they had already taken Hurst on Friday. However, Newsome said that the Ravens don't want to be left short-handed at tight end, a position they've been particularly vulnerable at because of injuries.
"I hope Joe [Flacco] enjoys the tight ends as much as I like the tight ends," Newsome said.
Andrews is not known for his blocking, but he was an extremely reliable downfield option at Oklahoma for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went first overall Thursday night to the Cleveland Browns. Andrews had 112 catches for 1,765 yards and 22 touchdown receptions in 35 college games spanning three seasons. He's Oklahoma's all-time leader at tight end in receiving yards.
After sitting out the second round because they used that pick as part of the package they sent to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up and select Jackson in the first round, the Ravens were on the clock with the first pick of the third round. DeCosta said they had pinpointed five players they were interested in with that selection but all were taken before the Ravens were on the clock.
So the Ravens traded the 65th overall pick to the Oakland Raiders for three selections. In return, they got the pick No. 75 in the third round, pick No. 152 in the fifth round and pick No. 212 in the sixth round.
But as they were on the clock with the third-round pick acquired from the Raiders, the Ravens made their fifth draft trade. They sent the 75th pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for the 86th selection and the 122nd pick, which falls in the fourth round.
It marked the fifth trade the Ravens had made in three rounds. DeCosta joked that team executives should stop answering their phones.
The draft concludes Saturday with rounds four through seven. The Ravens will head into the day with seven more picks. They have three selections in the fourth round (118, 122, 132), one in the fifth round (152), two in the sixth round (190, 212) and one in the seventh round (238).
The Ravens are still in the market for a pass-catching running back, a receiver and a center. On defense, they could look to add an interior pass rusher, an inside linebacker and a few defensive backs.
"We got seven picks tomorrow, so you guys are in for a long day tomorrow," Newsome said. "We still think we'll be able to add some quality football players to our roster."