Ravens Admit Luck Plays a Part in Draft

Baltimore’s brass says it’s had fortunate breaks over the years, including drafting Ed Reed.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, April 16th, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

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Everyone knows the Ravens have a sterling draft resume. And there are many reasons for that.

They have a defined vision of what kind of player makes for a good Raven, they stay true to their draft board and they are excellent evaluators.

But there’s another element that can’t be forgotten: luck.

As the saying goes, luck is when preparation meets opportunity. General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta seem to be believers.

Here’s a perfect example, one DeCosta cited during Tuesday’s pre-draft press conference.

In 2002, the Ravens had their crosshairs on a certain player – and his name wasn’t Ed Reed.

When the player they were eyeing was drafted not long before Baltimore came to the podium at No. 24, the Ravens had to go to their next option. Surprisingly, every one of the first 23 players on the Ravens’ board had been drafted. Luckily, No. 24 was Reed.

For context, the three players taken right before Reed were tight end Daniel Graham (Patriots), defensive end Bryan Thomas (Jets) and linebacker Napoleon Harris (Raiders).

“We drafted 24th that year, and we got the best player in the Draft,” DeCosta said. “So there is an element of luck to this thing. Sometimes you need to get lucky.”

Another way the Ravens have been fortunate is when they have a certain player in mind and he, for some reason or another, just slips past other teams. Newsome shared one such story from 1999.

When at the Scouting Combine, Newsome was in the stands talking to defensive coordinators Emmitt Thomas (Packers) and Greg Blache (Bears) and then-Packers head coach Ray Rhodes. Newsome told the group he was going to select cornerback Chris McAlister with his No. 10 overall pick.

“They said, ‘What are you smoking?’” Newsome recalled. “‘There’s no way McAlister gets to 10.’ And he does.”

Six Pro Bowl players were taken ahead of McAlister, who went to three Pro Bowls himself. But linebacker Chris Claiborne was selected by the Detroit Lions one pick ahead of McAlister.

“We’ve had good fortune in our drafts – a lot of good fortune,” Newsome said. “We do a lot of preparation but we’ve had a lot of luck.”

So what’s the moral of this story? With the Ravens selecting at No. 25 this year, keep your fingers crossed (and Rabbit’s foot in hand) once again.

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