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Each year during the draft, events happen that stick with fans, coaches and team executives.
Draft weekend is one of the most exciting and unpredictable times of the NFL season, and the Ravens made some moves that will be remembered for years to come.
Here’s a look at five things to remember from the 2012 NFL Draft.
1. Courtney Upshaw slides to second round
The Ravens again worked their draft magic, grabbing a player once regarded as a top-15 pick with their 35th-overall selection. In getting Upshaw, the Ravens traded out of the first round, added a fourth-round pick, and still selected a player regarded as first-round talent.
Upshaw dropped out of the first round mostly over concerns about what position he would play in the NFL, but the Ravens think he will fit with their defense as a valuable run stuffer and pass rusher. If Upshaw ends up becoming the next star of the Ravensdefense, taking him at No. 35 will go down as one of the great steals of the 2012 draft.
2. Trading out of the first round
As much as Ravens fans celebrated the Upshaw selection, they won’t soon forget the move out of the first round in the late hours of Thursday night. After waiting up through the first 28 picks to see who the Ravens would take at No. 29, fans got the news that General Manager Ozzie Newsomeslid back six spots in exchange for an extra fourth rounder.
The move was the second time in three years that the Ravens traded out of the first round, and the immediate reaction from fans on social media was slightly panicked. Getting Upshaw in the second round calmed the fears from many fans, but that initial move back will likely be discussed for years, just like the team’s 2010 decision to trade out of the first round.
3. Picks addressed needs
The draft philosophy in Baltimore has long focused on taking the best player available, rather than picking based on team needs. In 2012, however, the draft picks satisfied some clear needs.
The Ravens drafted a pass rusher, two offensive linemen, a backup running back, a potential return man, a size/speed receiver and another safety, which also filled identifiable holes on the roster. Newsome and Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta said after the draft that they didn’t adjust their strategy to focus on needs this year, but the top players on the board also happened to fit a current hole on the roster.
4. The board dried up
The Ravens have a history of finding gems in the draft, which is often a result of having different draft boards than most teams around the league. That wasn’t the case this year, as the Ravens saw nearly all of their top 150 players taken off the board, forcing them to get creative in the later rounds.
“We normally don’t have that, but that’s the type of draft that we had this year, where our board was very similar to the other 31 clubs,” Newsome said.
“Things don’t always happen the way you want them to,” DeCosta said. “Some drafts, every player that you want kind of comes to you, and then other drafts – this year comes to mind; 2010 was very similar to this year – sometimes you just get wiped out.”
5. Ravens take a chance with WR Tommy Streeter
Even though he was a sixth-round pick, Streeter generated as much buzz as any of the Ravens’ eight draft picks. The big receiver from Miami has the potential to become a dynamic offensive weapon, which could be a boon for franchise quarterback Joe Flacco.
As a late-round pick, the initial expectations for Streeter are limited, but fans have hopes that he could develop into a playmaker. Whether he pans out or not, Streeter will be a hot topic going into this year and likely beyond.