Ozzie Newsome’s Ace in the Hole

April 26, 2009 |

Disclaimer: Though I am currently an employee of the Baltimore Ravens, I have no insight or inside knowledge on the offseason moves, past, present or future, of General Manager Ozzie Newsome or Head Coach John Harbaugh. I’m just an intern, people. And with that, on to the blog post.

(Deep Breath)…. OK. The Draft is over. What a weekend.

There’s been a significant lack of posts here lately, and I’ll be honest about that: after spending most of my day immersed in the sports world, the earliest opportunity I have to write is by about 9 pm. And as much as I love the sports world, I do need other forms of stimulation to maintain a balanced semblance of sanity. And lately, the blog has taken a back seat to the likes of Jack Bauer, Tommy Gavin, James “Sawyer” Ford and Michael Scott (as well as the occasional likes of Don Draper on DVD). What can I say? At least I’m not blabbing on about who’s going to win Dancing with the Stars.

But I digress. The thing on everybody’s mind is of course, the Ravens’ draft picks, which serve as an ample distraction from the slowly slipping away Orioles season (but didn’t we all see that coming. Random aside: I was at the game on Sunday, and was a little discouraged at the number of people hating on George Sherrill. He may have blown it, but he’s made enough saves in the past to earn a little forgiveness. Also, Koji played great. I’m really starting to like him.)

Sorry for that bit of stream of consciousness. I promise I’ll talk football now.

Anyway, it seems that despite all the pundits’ analysis and fans clamoring for one, the Ravens did not draft a big-play wide receiver. They took the safer and smarter route, taking Michael Oher, a top-fifteen pick who luckily fell to Baltimore in typical Ozzie Newsome fashion.

Here’s the thing people tend to forgot: a quality tackle will help the passing game. A stronger offensive line will mean less blockers, equaling more receivers on the field. Joe will have more time to throw, and Mason and Clayton will have more time to run their routes and create separation.

It’s a great pick in another solid draft. (Second aside: Oher is a fascinating story. Heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.)

But I understand the notion of getting that big name wideout. It’s sexy, it’s exciting. But ultimately, how much faith do you have in Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt? There are no guarantees with any draft pick, but receivers are hard to peg. And while I’m not saying neither of these guys won’t be stars in the NFL, there wasn’t anything about them to to firmly suggest they would make a real impact. We have to think about what the first-round pick is worth, and while it may have been a deep class for receivers, it isn’t necessarily a strong class.

Ozzie may have felt the same way. Thus the Oher selection.

But he’s too smart not to have thought this out. And for those who are still clamoring for Anquan Boldin, I would say that if he is traded (I’m not convinced it’s an inevitability) Baltimore has firmly entrenched itself as the lead candidate, along with possibily Miami. Philly has Jeremy Maclin now. New York got Nicks, and Tennessee got Britt.

Ozzie is going to evaluate the team from here on out an make decisions as he feels necessary. He did it three years ago when we traded for Steve McNair. He did it just before the 2008 season began when he signed Willie Anderson. So let’s keep the motto “In Ozzie We Trust” alive, and see just what else the Wizard of Oz has up his sleeve this offseason.