Steve Bisciotti is one of the best owners in the NFL and maybe in professional sports altogether. He’s candid in interviews, genuinely cares about consistently fielding a competitive team, and he’s a hometown guy. What more could you ask for from the owner of your favorite team?
He has a proven strategy for success. He hires smart people and he lets them do their thing. He doesn’t micromanage the people who steer the ship. Like any business owner, he gives those people his two cents, but he leaves the football decisions up to those whose expertise outweigh his. It’s wise, and seems like common sense, but a lot of other owners aren’t smart or humble enough to follow suit.
Bisciotti, though, has not been shy about his affinity for pass rushers. He made it clear the Ravens needed some new blood heading into 2016. “We have two very dynamic, productive players that are at the age that you don’t know if you’re going to get one year or three years left in them,” Bisciotti said according to the Ravens official site in March. “We have to fill those spots with constant pressure. You need five pass rushers in the rotation.”
Looking at the way the 2016 draft played out for the Ravens, it seems as though Bisciotti’s influence weighed a little bit heavier than in years past.
It wasn’t a shock to see the Ravens add a pass rusher in the second or third round, but it was a little surprising to see them select one in both. Both Kamalei Correa and Bronson Kaufusi specialize in getting after the quarterback, and both could end up being great players. In doing so, though, the Ravens passed on adding a corner, which flew in the face of Eric DeCosta’s comments a week before the draft.
“If history is an indicator, every legitimate starting-type corner is going to off the board midway through the third round,” DeCosta said at the Ravens pre-draft press conference. “They fly off the board.”
In round two, the Ravens passed on corners like Xavien Howard and Mackensie Alexander and selected Correa instead. In the third round, they selected Kaufusi and passed on local prospect Kendall Fuller. Both Correa and Kaufusi were good picks who can potentially make immediate impacts for the Ravens. Maybe the draft played out differently than DeCosta said history indicated it would and Tavon Young was their guy all along. Or maybe the Ravens’ front office couldn’t see the potential with Kendall Fuller in round 3 and thought Young would be a better fit for where the Ravens needed the most help – at nickel.
But considering DeCosta’s comments and the Ravens’ recent struggles in the secondary, you would have expected the Ravens to add at least some better competition by the end of the third round.
Maybe the Ravens feel comfortable with the state of their secondary. Maybe they attribute their struggles on the back end to the lack of pressure up front.
It’s a sound theory, and it’s one Bisciotti’s comments would indicate he believes in. Maybe after the Ravens’ struggles in 2015 and the unfamiliar scrutiny the front office faced, his input carried a little more weight in this year’s war room.