OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens ultimately decided not to draft a safety or a linebacker, dissuaded by the lack of quality talent at each position.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was interested in UCLA safety Rahim Moore and said he would have drafted him in the second round if he had been available and Baltimore was unable to draft University of Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Moore wound up with the Denver Broncos and the Ravens got Smith, who should provide the deep threat that Baltimore has lacked for years.
"Those were the weakest positions in the draft," Newsome said during a conference call with season ticket holders. "Rahim Moore was the first safety to go off in the mid-second round, and I think maybe it was third or fourth round before another safety came off the board. I think it was the kid from Temple [Jaiquawn Jarrett, Philadelphia Eagles, second round]. And the inside linebacker position wasn’t [strong].
"So, first of all, those positions were very weak. If Rahim Moore would’ve been there, and Torrey would’ve gotten picked, then we would’ve taken Rahim Moore with our second-round pick."
While it doesn’t look like the eventual successors to safety Ed Reed and middle linebacker Ray Lewis are currently on the roster, Newsome does like some of the other safeties and linebackers on his depth chart.
"I can say, at both of those positions, we’ve drafted and signed undrafted free agents over the last three or four years," said Newsome, mentioning starting inside linebacker Jameel McClain, injury-prone former third-round linebacker Tavares Gooden and former undrafted free agent Dannell Ellerbe. "So we have some people already there that have already played a lot of football."
The Ravens are considered unlikely to retain strong safety Dawan Landry as a free agent and would have Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura compete for the job opposite Reed.
"At the safety spot, we’ve got the boxer, Tommy Zbikowski and Haruki the [judo] black belt. So, we have some depth there already, but those were the weakest positions."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times