OWINGS MILLS Md. — John Harbaugh, Baltimore's coach, had one question about Notre Dame safety a few weeks backDuring his predraft visit to the .
“What are you doing here?” Harbaugh asked.
The Ravens had the No. Hamilton was the No. 14 overall selection, and Hamilton was seen as a lock for being taken in top 10. Some thought he was one of the top players in this draft.
After a year in which Baltimore had the worst luck in terms of injuries, the Ravens couldn’t believe their good fortune on Thursday night, when a run on pass-rushers, wide receivers and offensive tackles caused Hamilton to fall to them at No. 14.
“I never dreamed in a million years that he would be there,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said.
Hamilton’s surprising slide — which can be chalked up to teams either not wanting to use a high pick on a safety or not liking his slower-than-expected 40-yard dash time — led to the most revered class in this year’s draft, one that has been applauded for its unbelievable value.
It also started the Ravens’ wildest three-day ride of their 27-year draft history, from a secret trade to an influential second-round smile to a historic fourth round.
The Ravens always believed this draft would play a critical role in helping them bounce back from last season’s finish and lead them back to the playoffs. Officials felt exhausted by the season.
“I’m pretty tired right now,” DeCosta said. “It’s just … I’m glad it’s over. This has been a lot of work. I think we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this draft and the opportunity that it presents.”
Tim Hasselbeck explains why Lamar Jackson may not have been told by the Ravens about trading Marquise brown before time.
The secret trade: Just when you thought Baltimore’s drafting of Hamilton was a shocker, the Ravens delivered a real jaw-dropper when they announced they had traded wide receiverThe . Baltimore was awarded a late first round pick and a late 3rd-round draft pick in exchange.
DeCosta indicated that the deal had been in place for about a week. He said that there was a strategy to keep it confidential until after Ravens' first-round selection. Baltimore was most likely trying to grab No. 14's top wide receiver prospect. 14 when it was not expected that the Ravens would be on the market for one. But, And All were taken before Baltimore had the clock.
DeCosta didn't hide his anxiety about this trade. Brown, who requested a trade at the end of the season because he was unhappy with the Ravens’ run-first offense, was DeCosta’s first pick as general manager and one of his favorite players.
• Winners, losers: |
“It was something that I anguished over for a long time,” DeCosta said. He would tell you that we had many conversations during the spring. “The club must win,” I always tell them. [the trade], and this was a situation where it was going to be impossible for the club to truly win, but we do what we think is best for the player.”
Brown, the Ravens' first-round pick (No. 23 overall) into two selections. 23rd overall) into two selections (Nos. Baltimore, likely not going to have Brown as a member of its team after 2023, used the picks to acquire two players who could be here for the next decade: Iowa centerPenn State punter .
The second round smile: The Ravens’ two picks in the first round — Hamilton and Iowa centerThese players were among the most talented at their respective positions and were no-brainers. The second round selection of Michigan outside linebacker A spontaneous exchange sealed the deal.
DeCosta made a walk around the draft room, pointing out the end where Mike Macdonald, defensive coordinator, was sitting.
“What do you think?” DeCosta asked Macdonald.
Macdonald is known for being serious and dry, but he smiled and gave DeCosta an arm bump.
Macdonald was the Michigan defensive coordinator last year and is well-versed in Ojabo's world, which makes him an invaluable resource for a highly debated prospect. Ojabo is one the most skilled pass-rushers in draft, but he tore the left Achilles in March.
Macdonald smiled and fist bumped any doubts about Ojabo.
“For Mike, that’s a lot of emotion,” DeCosta said. “It made me feel really good about it, because we haven’t taken a lot of these kinds of players — with the injury. This is a pretty big injury, so that was one thing that gave me confidence that this was a really, really good thing to do.”
Historic fourth roundThe Ravens had six picks in Day 3 and had the busiest start to the day. That’s the most selections in a single round in the first five rounds in NFL history.
The unofficial record for the most ringing phones was also set in this round. The Ravens held 16% of all picks in the round. Teams were always calling to try and trade up.
“We maybe discussed it once or twice, but we just decided, ‘You know what? We’ve got six picks; let’s use them,” DeCosta said.
The Ravens’ half-dozen picks in the fourth round were more than what three teams had for the entire draft: theAnd Each had five choices, There were four.
Baltimore ended up being the largest NFL combine player in at least 16 year (6-foot-8, 384 pound Minnesota offensive tackle)), two cornerbacks (Alabama’s and Houston’s ), two pass-catching tight ends (Iowa State’s and Coastal Carolina’s ) and a punter (Penn State’s ).
The round was going smoothly until the Ravens called a player that they were going to draft and it was actually the agent’s number. The agent then couldn’t find the player’s number, and the Ravens were on the clock with five minutes to make the pick. Baltimore was able, however, to get in touch with the player within a matter of minutes.
“There was a little — I wouldn’t say confusion — just anxiety, but it was fun,” DeCosta said.
Value picksDeCosta believes Baltimore gets the best player, and that is what this draft will prove. Hamilton was selected by the Ravens despite having two starting safetyties. They chose Linderbaum over Hamilton, even though they hadn't taken a center before in the first round.
All it comes down to is value. This Ravens’ draft was as much about quality as it was about quantity.
Hamilton, who was Mel Kiper Jr.’s fourth-best prospect, was taken with the No. 14 overall selection. Linderbaum was ranked 21st and was picked at No. 25. This trend continued for the three next picks: Ojabo (26th best prospect) was drafted at Number. 45; defensive tackle(46th) was picked at No. 76, and Faalele (81st), was selected at No. 110.
Why was the Ravens able to achieve such incredible value? DeCosta referred to Warren Buffett's investment philosophy.
“If you think the player’s value is greater than where he is available, you take him. That’s what we do,” DeCosta said. Sometimes, we miss out guys. It happens all the times. It has happened many times. It’s a horrible feeling. But every once in a while, you get really good players that fall to you, and it’s an exciting thing.”