OWINGS MILLS — For nine seasons, nose tackle Kelly Gregg was one of the lynchpins of Baltimore Ravens defenses that consistently ranked among the best in the NFL.
Gregg was not flashy. He was never selected to a Pro Bowl. But he is one of the most respected players in Ravens franchise history.
He was gritty, a hard worker and quietly and efficiently produced at a high level.
To Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome, Vince Newsome is the Kelly Gregg of the Ravens’ personnel department.
“Vince is vital to our success, like Kelly was to our defense and the team,” said Ozzie Newsome, who is not related to Vince Newsome. “And like Kelly, Vince is not an attention grabber, and the work that he does isn’t in the headlines.”
Vince Newsome has been with Baltimore’s organization since its inception in 1996.
He spent 10 years in the NFL as a player. When he retired in 1993 as a member of the Cleveland Browns, then-Browns coach Bill Belichick and former Cleveland defensive coordinator Nick Saban asked him to stay with the organization.
And like he did with Ozzie Newsome in 1991, owner Art Modell gave Vince Newsome the option of being either a coach or a scout.
Newsome chose to pursue scouting.
He spent three seasons as a special assignment scout before becoming a West area scout when Cleveland moved to Baltimore in 1996. He was then promoted to the Ravens’ Western college supervisor in 2000, became Baltimore’s assistant director of pro personnel in 2003, and the now 53-year-old has been in his current role as the Ravens’ director of pro personnel since 2009.
“Vince has moved up the ladder the way someone should,” Ozzie Newsome said. “He combines talent with a tremendous work ethic. His work is of high quality and he does his work in the framework of the team.”
Ozzie Newsome is the Ravens’ primary decision maker, but Vince Newsome is one of the top people under him.
“For us, Vincent coordinates a lot of the detail that goes into acquiring a player,” Ozzie Newsome said. “He works with the agents, our trainers and travel folks and gets everything set. This, of course, follows his evaluation that a player can help the Ravens. We listen attentively to his voice on that.”
Vince Newsome watches, analyzes and grades players currently on Baltimore’s roster. He is also constantly watching, analyzing and grading players from around the league and determining whether those players can be of help to the Ravens.
He is a large part of setting up the Ravens’ board heading into free agency. He is responsible for putting together Baltimore’s “emergency list,” the list of players the Ravens would consider signing if an injury happens during the regular season. He is also a big piece of the team that handles Baltimore’s advanced scouting during the regular season, the pre-scouting that is done a week before the Ravens play an opponent.
“It’s a litany of things, and it depends on the day,” said Vince Newsome, a former safety who had 16 interceptions in 10 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and the Browns. “But it usually has something to do with analyzing other teams across the league, analyzing your roster and almost trying to think ahead as to what you may need, what the coaches may need, what Ozzie may need and really just trying to stay ahead and having those answers when those questions do come.”
Jeremy Zuttah is a good example.
One of the Ravens’ primary objectives heading into this offseason was to upgrade at center.
Zuttah was not a free agent, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed another center early in free agency, which made Zuttah expendable. Realizing that, Vince Newsome and the Ravens’ personnel department scouted Zuttah, put a grade on him, deemed him to be a good fit, and Ozzie Newsome eventually decided to trade for Zuttah.
It was a similar process with both wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Owen Daniels. Both were viewed as potential cap casualties and both were scouted, deemed to be fits and eventually acquired.
“While we’re evaluating these [unrestricted free agents] and getting them in order and putting the best ones in order for the coaches to see and for Ozzie to see, we’re also evaluating who could potentially be cap casualties, and we’re putting a grade on them in the event that they end up getting cut,” Vince Newsome said.
“And so when a situation comes out where a guy like Jeremy Zuttah could be a potential cap casualty, he’s already graded. He’s already ranked. How does he fit into the scheme of things if he were to get cut or something like that? We make sure Ozzie has that information.”