Baltimore Ravens Won’t Chase Needs, Not Ruling Out Anything in NFL Draft
By Brett Foote
January 22, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Team Carter running back Justin Forsett of the Baltimore Ravens (29) and head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens (right) during the 2015 Pro Bowl practice at Luke Air Force Base. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
File this one under “stuff we already know but is good to hear regardless.” John Harbaugh once again reiterated the Baltimore Ravens’ draft strategy in a videotaped interview, stressing that they will not select players based on need in the upcoming draft. At the same time, he also wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the team takes any position in the first round, including running back.
While the Ravens have a few obvious holes – tight end, guard, cornerback, and wide receiver to name a few – the team’s braintrust has always been adamant that they will not pass up on talent just to fill needs. Harbaugh makes a great point about how those kind of moves just don’t pan out sometimes, as we have seen in the past.
"“What’s really important is to make sure that we add a really good player. We can’t afford to say, ‘Check off the box in April,’ and then be disappointed in September, which happens in the draft sometimes. The most important thing is that whoever we take, we get a good player.”"
A great example comes from last year’s selection of C.J. Mosley in the first round, which left a lot of people scratching their heads. But Mosley had a tremendous impact on the field in 2014 and looks like a future star, which is more than can be said of a lot of guys who went in the first last year. Heck, the Browns had two first round picks and seem to have blown both of them.
However, Harbaugh clarified that they do leave a little wiggle room in that strategy.
"“If you’re saying we’re going to pass up these 15 other players who we know are better, to go after this hole that we have to fill, that’s not a recipe for success,” Harbaugh said. If two guys are close, we’re probably going to take the need guy, for sure. Now, we have to make those decisions. What’s close? Who would we take over who in what circumstance? That’s what we have to work out in the next few weeks.”"
In another interview, Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz also clarified that the Ravens aren’t against drafting any position in the first round, even though they have a long history of seemingly placing more value on some positions than others. Hortiz was specifically asked if the Ravens were against drafting a running back in the first round.
"“Me personally or this organization?” Hortiz said. “Organizationally, I don’t think so. And me personally, I don’t think so. To me, you’re going to take the best player available, the guy that can help you win. If that’s a running back, that’s a running back.”"
Harbaugh added in his own, albeit murky opinion on the matter as well.
"“This year, there are a lot of good running backs. So there might be some good players in the third, fourth, fifth rounds, sixth round. But then again, the top players, they’re really good. You might want to jump up there and take those guys in the first round this year.”"
So while I personally doubt that the Ravens will take a running back in the first round of the draft, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility. If all boils down to the team’s draft board and how they ultimately value this year’s draft eligible players.
The good news is, they don’t have to feel pressed to find one in the early rounds. With a good bit of depth in the draft and the return of Justin Forsett, they can afford to wait until the third or fourth round to take a guy if they want to. While these comments don’t necessarily rule out the possibility that the Ravens might draft a running back high, they don’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen either.
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