Did Ebron Top The Ravens Wish List at No. 17?

Eric Ebron
Detroit Lions NFL football first round draft choice, 10th overall, North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron speaks during a news conference in Allen Park, Mich., Friday, May 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

NFL front offices and their lead scouts spend up to 9 months creating their draft boards. Yet despite the massive amounts of hours preparing, sometimes the best-laid plans never unfold.

As Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said prior to this year’s draft, “We try to make the draft a science but maybe it’s more of an art.”

The Ravens have been among the NFL’s most accomplished artists when it comes to the NFL Draft. But even the best artists are guilty of clunkers.

Just ask Paul McCartney.

Sometimes teams get lucky on draft day. A desired player slips because other teams don’t value him as highly or said teams opt for need over the best player available.

Back during the 2004 NFL Draft, arguably the Ravens worst ever, their first selection was the 51st overall, having traded away their first round pick the year before to choose Kyle Boller with 2003’s 19th overall pick.

As the Ravens waited to make their first pick (Dwan Edwards), a name on the board that fell towards them piqued the collective attention of the Ravens war room. That name – Bob Sanders, safety from Iowa.

Sanders tumbled further than the Ravens expected. They looked at the teams before them and tried to anticipate who might take the Hawkeye. Hopes swelled. The consensus was that the teams just before the Ravens had needs other than safety.

However those hopes were shattered when 7 picks before them the Indianapolis Colts turned in the card for Sanders.

“Sometimes in drafts you have a guy that you really want”, explained DeCosta last night during a Q&A hosted by PressBox at Mother’s Grille in Federal Hill.

“And he starts falling down the board to you and you get close and then you don’t get him for whatever the reason. That stinks, that’s the worst part.”

This year with the 17th overall pick the Ravens drafted higher than they have since 2006 when they chose Haloti Ngata with the 12th overall pick. As the 2014 draft unfolded the Ravens had their eye on a coveted player who started to drop.

Unfortunately déjà vu would soon kick in.

DeCosta explains.

“I think that this year maybe the one guy that I was excited about getting that we didn’t get was Eric Ebron from North Carolina the tight end. I thought he was a premier talent.

“I really thought if he had gotten out of the top ten he would have fallen to us. Looking at the other teams and this time there was a really good chance we were going to get him, and didn’t really think Detroit would take him.”

Detroit had just re-signed Brandon Pettigrew and their big, promising undrafted free agent tight end from UCLA, Joseph Fauria. The Lions’ and head coach Jim Caldwell’s call for Ebron was an upset.

“I thought we had a chance to really get him that was kind of frustrating for us. I thought he was an elite player. I think he has a chance to be a difference maker, Pro Bowl type guy.”

One of the positions the Ravens targeted in the draft was free safety. The Ravens had a target in Round 2 with the 48th pick but the plan was undercut by Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers.

“I really liked safety Jimmy Ward probably a little undersized but reminded me somewhat of Ed Reed in terms of style. He’s a great player and one that I thought would be there in the second round.”

Woulda, shoulda, coulda…

Those unexpected twists and turns of fate during an NFL Draft that can change lives, careers and even a city’s football heritage.

Just ask the sports fans in Boston.


If Eric Ebron had fallen to No. 17 and CJ Mosley was still available who do the Ravens select?
Eric Ebron (44%)
CJ Mosley (56%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.
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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

28 Raves on “Did Ebron Top The Ravens Wish List at No. 17?

  1. SDOT on said:

    Glad we didn’t get Bob Sanders…dude was awesome when he was healthy..but that was the problem n that he was never healthy. I think Ebron will be dynamite really wish he fell to us…as far as Jimmy Ward, I’m still hoping our safety will turn out better. Ward tends to struggle with baiting QBs and isn’t very savy but I think our guy is a bit more rounded and has the speed that jimmy doesn’t have. Best of luck to all of them!

  2. Cheri on said:

    Danial Jeremiah(sp) talked about this Bob Sanders draft a couple of weeks ago on Path to the Draft and he mentioned that he was working for the Ravens as a scout that year and said that the Ravens had a trade worked out with the Colts that if the player they liked was there and if the player the Colts liked wasn’t there the 2 teams would make a trade well as it turned out both teams liked the same guy Bob Sanders thus the trade was never made. I find draft stuff like this very interesting when you can get this kind of information from people who were there behind the scenes.
    To answer the question I believe if the Ravens would have gotten really lucky and somehow had their pick of Ebron, Martin and Mosley I believe there may have been a good chance they could have traded down possibly 5 or 6 spots since they loved all 3 players as much as they did with the idea that one of the 3 would still be there.
    Ward going at 31 I don’t think was too early considering that if the rumor would had come true of the 49ers and Ravens making a trade I think he could had easily been the Ravens guy at 31 just as well. So I always thought it was a long shot for him to make it to us at 48.

  3. Joshua on said:

    Funny, all the “scouts” on the fan forums did not want Ebron. I guess DeCosta should resign because he’s not up to speed like they are.

  4. Phil on said:

    Doubtful that they would have drafted Ebron. Mosley was the best player available, and likely in the top 10 on their board. Given that Ozzie said he would have drafted Mosley at 10 (where Ebron got picked), not likely they would have taken Ebron over Mosley.

    Plus, just because DeCosta likes a player doesn’t mean that they’re going to draft him. Joe Horitz loved Jonny Manziel, but did the Ravens draft him? No.

    I remember reading stories about how Steve Biscotti LOVED Matt Ryan in 2008 and wanted to go all in on getting him in a trade, but Ozzie said no and traded back, then up for Joe Flacco.

    Ozzie is the one who makes the picks, and from the sounds of it, Ebron would not have been that pick.

      • Thomas on said:

        Tony, the Ravens (I don’t remember if it was Ozzie or DeCosta) did say Mosley would have been the BPA at #10. Do you think they would have picked Ebron had he and Mosley both been available at #17?

        I wasn’t at the event but from reading your article it seems to me it was more a matter of them liking Ebron too. Not necessarily more than Mosley,

        • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

          That’s not how I took it. I asked Eric after discussing the regret he felt about Bob Sanders if there was a player in this draft he felt the same way about. I believe that Mosley was rated in their top 10 but I also believe Ebron was rated higher.

          • Phil on said:

            Shoot, turns out that Eric DeCosta was the one who actually said it.

            “Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said Mosley was the best available player left on the Ravens’ board and would have been as early as the No. 10 pick.”

            Now, would have been as early as the number 10 pick. That tells you something right there because Ebron went at 10. Mosley would have been the best available player at the position that Ebron got picked at. Okay, got it.

            I went back and read all your quotes that you had and I keep seeing one very telling word- “I”. DeCosta says “I” a lot, not “we”, “the Ravens”, or anything else relating to the organization as a whole.

            Again, Joe Horitz loved Johnny Manziel, but that didn’t mean the Ravens were going to take him. Now, Manziel is far less probable than Ebron, but you see the point. Or if you don’t, let’s refer back to 2008 where Steve Biscotti wanted to go all in on Matt Ryan, but Ozzie didn’t.

            You see, Ozzie makes the picks, not Eric, and while it is a collaborative effort, Ozzie has the final say and stays true to his board. I can’t think of anything that would support your claim that the Ravens had Ebron higher than Mosley. Just Eric speaking for himself a lot. Now, I’m sure Ozzie would have considered Ebron, but I doubt they would have picked him.

  5. jws on said:

    Decosta is in the same class for drafting as Jerry Jones which is very poor. re-read allhis past thoughts on all his pickslike Pittman,Cousins and many others. You should have put in this report all the other wacky things he said last night like; he would have not drafted OT Martin or RB West. I have talked to Eric on a personal level several times and find he says what people want to hear.Yes TL you are right as far as being able to pick the right players and what actually occurs on draft days. And too the Ravens have selected SOME good players but their high rating has more to do with other teams complete failures in these drafts thatincluded: Ray Lewis, Reed, Ngata, Suggs and TorreySsmith and many others. In the last 4 drafts out of 7 rounds which is an avaege of 28 players how many are here as future long term players? Will Torrey Smith return next year, will Flacco agreed to anew deal after next year, Is Rice or Jimmy Smith here in 2016?Out of th egoodplayers drafted out of the average of say 28 possible draft picks in the last 2 years maybe 4 wioll be on the roster by 2016 season. With new CBA rules that allows all players to be free agents after 4 years except 1st round picks that have an option year five, this is a revolving leagueof players that never remain on any team past that first contract unlessigned for big bucks long term! The darft is ashort term fix but teams that succeed to be top Super Bowl contenders in today’s NFL must manage the cap well and signed players like Monroe ,Pita make wise trades like the ravens for acenter and do mnay things right NOT just the draft!!

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      JWS, when did he say he wouldn’t have drafted Martin? West?

      You are comparing DeCosta to Jones? You’ve discredited yourself with such comparisons sir.

      • JWS on said:

        TL, don’t kill the messenger the source who by the way you know well told me Decsota’s said at the function last night that those two players,Martin and West were not going to be drafted by the Ravens,I don’t make things up .I don’t need your approval of creditablity , I already have it from higher respective people in the media. I sent you my articles on the Raven draft history of the last 5 years that can be rated from 2008-2012.Only these years can be fairlyIn the Ravens first pick Only- Flacco, Jimmy Smith were good ones. Oher, Kindle and Upshaw have failed. Since 2008-2012 only Flacco, two Smiths, Pita, Rice are proven starters.

        • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

          We recorded everything Eric said and he never said unequivocally that he would not draft Martin or West.

          No need to kill the messenger. He’s just a poor communicator.

          Oh and be careful coming down from your high horse.

        • Phil on said:

          The Ravens said they didn’t send a text to West saying they’d take him, not they wouldn’t take him.

          The Ravens also said they’d take Mosley over Martin, not that they wouldn’t take Martin

          • Cheri on said:

            I still think the Ravens would had taken West at 99. You have to remember they didn’t get him so what else can they do now but throw their support 100 percent behind Gilmore.You can’t have the guy you drafted at that spot not thinking he wasn’t going to be their player when he is now in their building not a good way to start off a relationship with a guy who you hope will be at the very least a solid #2 TE for the next 4 or 5 years as a member of your team.
            I do think they truly like Gilmore and Tony has since backed this up by saying Kubiak really like him but in my heart of hearts I do think West would had been their guy at 99 and then they would had hoped Gilmore was still there for them in the 4th and if he wasn’t maybe they had a Aaron Lynch right below Gilmore who they would had taken if he wasn’t.
            This text gate reminds me a smaller way now like the Hostler/Kubiak situation. :)

        • TRUTH on said:

          Calm down and ask somebody to give you a hug Mr. Angry Guy – who’s opinion no one gives a sht about. Logically, there can only be 22 starters between Offense and Defense. Of those 22 starters last year, 15 were drafted by Ozzie…and 2 were Undrafted free agents. Of those 15 drafted by Ozzie you have “Proven Starters” in: Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Terrel Suggs, Torrey Smith, Upshaw, Ladarius Webb, Dennis Pitta, Keleche Osemele, Haloti Ngata, Marshal Yanda, Michael Oher, Arthur Jones…yeah umm, im thinking your facts are a little bit skewed there buddy – you might want to go do a re-check with your “highly respected sources”.

          Of the 25 starters last year (11 offense / 11 defense / K, P, LS) 20 were on the Super Bowl Roster….

          Learn what your’re talking about before you start sounding off like an irrelevant asshole on a comment thread who thinks he knows something worth mentioning…take that advice and run with it. My guess is it’ll pay off in life sooner than you think.

          p.s. – if you’re so unhappy with the way the Ravens do things why don’t you pack up your bags and head over to the Cleveland Brown’s fan base. Go shed your tears on their team sporting blogs, yeah?? Boohoo, Ozzie has only given you the joy of 2 Lombardi Trophies, clearly that’s not enough and obviously he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Oh, and if you don’t mind punching yourself in the face before you go that’ll be great…

  6. Bad Bob on said:

    Even though Bob Sanders was awsome while he was playing I think you can argue that Dwan Edwards has been a better pick because he played so long. He may still be playing. There is something to be said for actually playing vs. what it would have been if he was healthy. That is one of the reasons I am such a huge Flacco fan. How many other QB’s have not missed a game in five years? That’s worth some $$!

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Longevity has value but I would take Bob Sanders’ 2 All Pro years, one of which was DPOY, over Edwards’ entire career. Those two seasons are hard to come by. Players of Edwards’ ilk are a dime a dozen IMO.

  7. Phil on said:

    Oh, so you want to tell me I’m wrong, but completely admit to blind speculation? Oh, okay. Gotcha.

    You THINK, but you don’t know. Could Ebron have been rated higher? Sure, but I doubt it. Again, OZZIE (the one who makes the picks) said that he would take Mosley at 10, the spot that Ebron got picked at.

    Again, Biscotti loved Matt Ryan in 2008, but Ozzie didn’t go up and get him. I’m sure several of the scouts love players that they don’t get.

    Am I just speculating? Sure, but so are you.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Bisciotti backed off on Ryan when he realized they’d have to sacrifice so much to move up. We discussed this with him on our Ravens Rap show in Ocean City back in 2008.

      As for Ebron v. Mosley, don’t confuse the 10th pick with their 10th rated player. If Mosley was rated higher than Ebron, why would DeCosta have regrets about Ebron? DeCosta is as big a part if not a bigger part of stacking the Ravens board than Ozzie, even if Ozzie makes the final call. As we know, Ozzie is true to the board. So this coupled with what Eric said last night, leads me to believe that Ebron would have been the choice.

      • Phil on said:

        “Bisciotti really wanted the Ravens to make a play for a quarterback. The Ravens had Matt Ryan slightly ahead of Joe Flacco but Ozzie and Company did not want to make the investment to move up to get him. Bisciotti wanted Ryan yet relented and gave way to his personnel guys. Bisciotti mocked himself saying that if he had had his way, the Ravens would be coached by Jason Garrett and quarterbacked by Matt Ryan and they would have lost money and draft picks in the process.”- I’m pretty sure this is from your website. Here’s the link. http://ravens24x7.blogspot.com/2009/10/ravens-owner-steve-bisciotti-on-his.html. Yep, you discussed how Steve wanted to get Ryan, but left the decision to Ozzie. Apparently, according to your website again, the Ravens had a trade offer to the Rams, but that got turned down. Good thing, too.

        I’m not confusing anything.

        “Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said Mosley was the best available player left on the Ravens’ board and would have been as early as the No. 10 pick.”

        See, Mosley would have been the BPA as early as the 10th pick. Given that they would probably be operating under the actual scenario that took place and assuming that picks 1-9 didn’t change, Mosley would have been the BPA at 10 given how everything shook out. That to me says that they wouldn’t have considered Ebron over Mosley.

        As to why he was disappointed, I’m not sure. Maybe it would have opened up more trade opportunities. I couldn’t tell you. I can, however, tell you that in your quoting him, he says “I” a lot, not “we”, “the Ravens” or anything indicative of the organization as a whole. Maybe Eric felt that Ebron was the better player and he would have lobbied for Mosley, but given everything that was said, it doesn’t sound like THE RAVENS had Ebron rated higher. Maybe you should have asked who he would have picked if they were picking at 10.

        By the way, I’m sure every single executive has that one player that they absolutely love (Horitz had Manziel, sounds like DeCosta had Ebron), but that doesn’t mean they’d be the pick.

        I’m curious as to what would lead you to believe Eric is a bigger part in stacking the board.

        • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

          Think I already said that Bisciotti backed off as evidenced by what you quoted above.

          As for this: “I’m curious as to what would lead you to believe Eric is a bigger part in stacking the board.”

          I’m sure you have business relationships…some of which are even friendly.

          So do I.

          • Phil on said:

            Looks like Steve was pretty set on Ryan, as shown by your very own quote. If Steve had his way, Ryan would be a Raven. I don’t think he 2 as deterred by the price because everything I’ve read suggested he’d throw in what ever it took, which might not have been bad if It were another first because that first turned into Kindle. Either way, I’ll take Joe.

            I’m just curious because Ozzie gets the last call. If that’s the case, why would he not be the biggest component of assembling that board. It is often called “his board”. So, he let’s others make the board, but then gets the final call? Interesting

  8. Nick B. on said:

    Ebron could develop into one of the elite TE’s, but it’s just hard to have high hopes in that when Vernon Davis might be the only TE taken in the first round in the last decade that was worth it, particularly when you’re talking in the top 10.

    I know the same could be said for Alabama players, so it will be interesting to see how it pans out years down the road.

  9. Phil on said:

    Yeah, he could very well have been the pick, but I was saying that was never confirmed. Right now it’s all speculation

  10. TRUTH on said:

    People that really know what’s what, know the Ravens were planning to trade up for Mike Evans had he gotten a little closer….i guess all this speculation over what so-n-so “thought about this guy or that” is irrelevant given that no one here is privy to facts that actually matter.

    Point being, the Ravens weren’t even going to select at 17 this year had the Cowboys not taken Martin. However, they did and we took the best player available, landing a top 10 pick in the process. That’s the fact you should accept. Everything else is pointless…

  11. Mark Gately on said:

    If you go all the way back to the draft in 2000, you may recall but the ravens, surprisingly, wound up with the number five pick. They had made a trade with Atlanta after Lanae one the Super Bowl and everyone supposed to Atlanta’s number one pick would be far far lower the number five. But it Lanae had a lousy year, and the ravens win about the number five pick. Ozzy had personally gone to Tennessee to see Jamall Lewis, who had had an ACL injury and ACL surgery. Reportedly when he got to Tennessee and asked to see Jamall, he was told to Jamall was in the weight room with alignment. He sends all Jamall Ron and decided that he should be the ravens first text. He and Phil Savage were very close and were both very good, and Phil kept repeatedly raising questions on draft day about whether Jamall was the right choice. I was the reportedly said to him, Phil, were taking Jamall. You can have the rest the draft. What out Tomball, there is no doubt that we would not have won the Super Bowl that year. If not for his second ACL injury going training in 2001, we may well have wanted again that year.

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