This week the Ravens will host their Pre-Draft Luncheon to discuss various draft-eligible players and the team’s draft strategy. And if you believe that let me tell you about this oceanfront property in Nebraska.
In this world of social media and the warp speed in which news travels, expect the Ravens to put such tools to use as part of an effort to be deceptive and feed the world an industrial-sized fishing net’s worth of red herrings.
It could be argued that team owner Steve Bisciotti participated in the gamesmanship during his Q&A with PSL owners last week.
When asked about a player, any player, the Ravens’ brass will sing his praises as if he’s the second coming of Peyton Manning.
They’ll be asked the same questions as in previous years and they will answer them in a way that would make the most silver-tongued politician proud.
Yet some will report it is as “news”.
None of it is news. None of it is new.
The Ravens organizationally have been patient and pragmatic about their approach to the NFL Draft. It all started with the team’s very first draft in 1996.
What is new, is the way the team prepares for the draft.
Sure there’s the typical scouting that involves several men with a keen eye for talent scouring the country for 200 days and nights per year to find hidden gems. The Ravens use that intel to populate their board of what they consider to be draft eligible players.
That part isn’t new.
The newness is rooted in the way they seek out the players. The entire scouting department (and its processes) is dynamic in that they continually assess themselves – a little self-scouting. They re-examine their past choices and try to draw some conclusion as to why some draft picks worked out and others didn’t.
Do the successful ones have a certain body type that develops favorably in the NFL? Do players who have weathered adversity in their lives out-compete those who have lived in nurturing families? Do intelligence and a player’s love for the game help them overcome athletic deficiencies as compared to their peers? Does that help them become more productive than more talented but less driven athletes?
We all have our opinions about what players are better than others, and those opinions are oftentimes shaped by mock drafts created by those who aren’t as talented at assessing quality players than those who work for NFL teams. Otherwise, they would be employed by NFL teams.
To place stock in the mockers and value that insight over the professionals in 31 NFL war rooms (Cleveland’s excluded) is akin to choosing a first-year med student over a highly accomplished surgeon at Johns Hopkins.
So why are many shocked when the Ravens hand in the card in Round 3 for Crockett Gilmore when mockers had him going in the fifth?
“Is Ozzie nuts?”
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
That said, I’ll trust the eyes of Ozzie on draft day – not those of the mockers.
Except of course on Wednesday when the Ravens can’t hide their lyin’ eyes.