Eric DeCosta tells crazy story of how Ravens didn't want to draft Ed Reed

Reed almost never went to Baltimore.
Super Bowl XLVII - Baltimore Ravens v San Francisco 49ers
Super Bowl XLVII - Baltimore Ravens v San Francisco 49ers / Al Bello/GettyImages

When discussing the greatest safeties in NFL history, Baltimore Ravens legend Ed Reed is always near the top of the list. When that discussion is limited to the best safeties of the last 30 years, it's hard not to put him at the very top thanks to his historically good ball skills.

TJ Duckett, Wendall Bryant, and Ryan Sims were just a few of the busts who went before the former Miami star in the 2002 NFL Draft, as Reed fell to No. 24 overall. According to Ravens GM Eric DeCosta, who was a scout at the time, Reed wasn't even their first choice.

On Ryan Ripken's show, DeCosta said the team was prepared to select Northwestern linebacker Napoleon Harris, who was ranked 17th on their big board. Harris was taken one pick beforehand, as the Oakland Raiders nabbed him at No. 23 overall. According to DeCosta, "silence" filled the Ravens draft room.

While Baltimore had some concerns about Reed's speed and overall athleticism, they plowed ahead with selecting him. The rest is history, as Reed is the greatest defensive back in Ravens history, a no-doubt Hall of Famer, and one of the best late first-round picks in NFL Draft history.

Eric DeCosta said Baltimore Ravens originally didn't want Ed Reed

Reed, who led the league in interceptions three times as a Raven, is currently ranked seventh all-time with 64 interceptions. Reed's number is the highest of any player who began their career after 2000. The fact he put up these numbers while only playing 12 seasons speaks to his talent.

When it was all said and done, Reed finished his career with nine Pro Bowl nods, eight All-Pro selections (five first-team), and a Defensive Player of the Year award. For a player the Ravens didn't even want originally, it seems like Ozzie Newsome made out well as a result of this happy accident.

Harris amassed 484 tackles and 8.5 sacks in a seven-year career split between the Raiders, Vikings, and Chiefs. To be fair to Harris after DeCosta's "where is he now?" comment, he did end up becoming an Illinois state Senator and has been in office since 2013. He's not Ed Reed, but who is?

The NFL Draft is always an inexact science, as even one of the best GMs and organizations in the league was willing to pass on an era-defining defensive back for a fairly average starting linebacker due to speed concerns. Thank you, Raiders!