King: Ravens Best Drafting Team In NFL

Peter King believes that the Ravens draft better than any other team in the league.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Categories: 2012 NFL Draft, 2012 Offseason, Garrett Downing

The excitement of free agency came and went without the Ravens making much of a splash.

Instead, Baltimore prefers to make its mark in the draft, where it has a history of being more successful than just about any other team in the NFL. 

“I think they’re the best [drafting team] right now,” said Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. “They’re the best in the league.”

Throughout the Ravens’ 16-year draft history, they have turned up quality talent throughout the draft, taking first-round stars like Jonathan Ogden and Terrell Suggs and late or undrafted gems like Jameel McClain and Bart Scott.

Since the team’s inception, the Ravens have made 17 first-round picks, which have earned 51 Pro Bowl honors. Suggs, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were all first-round selections, and each of them has gone on to be named a Defensive Player of the Year.

In total, the Ravens have taken 16 players in 16 years that have gone on to become Pro Bowlers.

And it’s not just the first-round picks.

Finding players like Pernell McPhee [fifth round] or Lardarius Webb [third round] in the mid-to-later rounds is a big part of the reason the Ravens have been able to remain a perennial contender.

“It is beyond the first round, obviously,” King said. “It’s being able to find a Lardarius Webb, who you see something in that other people don’t.”

General Manager Ozzie Newsome and the personnel staff have a knack for finding and assessing college talent, which makes the draft the premier location to rebuild the roster year-after-year.

“It’s a front office that works really well together,” King said. “Ozzie is a great facilitator. He’s a great chemistry guy and I think he does a terrific job running that front office.”

Last season the Ravens had eight Pro Bowlers – Lewis, Reed, Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Ray Rice, Vonta Leach, Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda – and all but Leach were originally drafted by the Ravens.

The core of the roster is home grown, as 16 of the 22 starters from last season were all originally taken by the Ravens.

The key in to having so much success in the draft, King says, is being able to assess the character of young prospects and determine how they will translate to the professional game.

“The Ravens have always been really good at looking at the personalities of the guys who they are involved with,” King said. “I think Ozzie Newsome is great at this…He just does a really good job overall of reading players and knowing what’s important with players.”

Tags: , , , ,