The 2016 NFL Draft will be an integral part of the Baltimore Ravens future. The team holds the No.6 overall pick and is slated to pick high in each of the seven rounds. General Manager Ozzie Newsome is known for being a good talent evaluator. His reputation will be on the line and he needs to hit big in this draft.
“We feel the pressure, honestly, regardless if we’re picking sixth or 32. We’ve picked both. I think the players are better, but we still feel the same pressure. We felt pressure last year when we picked 26th last year; we felt the same pressure,” Newsome said. “Honestly, we’re looking at a different level of ability in some respects. I’m actually probably feeling more pressure at pick 36 than I am at six. I feel like if you’re picking sixth, you really only have to look at four or five players, and you’re just going to have to iron those guys out and you rank those five players.”
Newsome noted how there are many more players to consider when the team is picking at 36. The Ravens need to land an impactful player with their top two picks. Newsome said there are a number of defensive players the team is confident in taking with the 36th pick.
The most important factor will be how the draft board falls and whether or not those particular players are available to the Ravens. The team will have to be ready for any scenario that may arise.
“At 36, there’s a lot more volatility. There [are] a lot more different players you’re going to be looking at— a lot more combinations. So, I’ve been spending a lot more time thinking about 36 actually in the last couple of weeks, because there could be a lot of different players,” Newsome said. “We have to look at these guys and study these guys and scrutinize these guys on the field, off the field, the intangible work ethic, durability, football intelligence, ability, all of these different things to make sure we nail that pick.”
Typically, when a team is able to pick in the top 10, it’s because they didn’t finish the season with a good record. The Ravens first-round pick, Breshad Perriman was unable to contribute last year. He missed the season with a knee injury. The team struggled to get any major contributions from anyone other than fourth-round pick, Za’Darius Smith. Newsome admitted that the draft was not up to his usual standards.
“Now we’re back in the Top 10 again. But I would say it was not up to my standards, was not up to Eric’s standards and not the Ravens’ standard when you compare to what we did very early on.” Newsome said. “We’re at a position at [pick No.] 6 where we think we’re going to get a very, very good player.”
The Ravens have worked to modify their evaluation process and make it more accurate over the past years. At the end of the day, there is no better tool than film when it comes to evaluating prospects. This has not been lost on Newsome.
“I think we’ve tried to make the process better over the years, but I think the one thing that the four of us will agree upon— and all of our scouts and our coaches— eventually you have to watch them play. The tape doesn’t lie,” Newsome said. “I know in the past three or four weeks, there’s a lot of tape being watched in this building to see how they play, because eventually, they have to play on Sunday, and that’s really the telltale.”