Might Ozzie be Stepping Down?


Takeaways From Today’s Draft Luncheon Presser

DEEP DRAFT? Many are calling the 2014 NFL Draft the deepest in decades. Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Joe Hortiz weren’t so quick to anoint it as such yet they unanimously agreed that at certain positions, the draft is very deep. Later on after the presser DeCosta said that wide receiver might be the deepest of all positions.

RAVENS DO A 180! Typically the Ravens war room draft board consists of 140-150 players that they deem to be “draftable”, an interesting number since 255 players (give-or-take) are selected in each draft. That shortage of 100+ alone suggests that the Ravens start-to-finish approach to the draft differs from other teams.

A casual observer might think that the Ravens could be caught with their pants down if all of their draftable players are selected prior to the conclusion of the draft. That hasn’t happened and in fact, several still remain even after the pick for Mr. Irrelevant is made and those players become recruits during the undrafted free agent signing process.

For this draft the Ravens have listed 180 draftable prospects. The logical conclusion is that the team expects to have a relatively deep pool of undrafted talent available to them.

RUNNING BACK BACKUPS: The Ravens made it very clear that they intend to have more depth at the running back position and stressed that they may want one or two more backs to add to the mix. They also made it clear that such backs would have to be special teams contributors.

The team did make a play for a couple of veteran free agent ball carriers who found more lucrative deals elsewhere. However the Ravens haven’t ruled out other vet FA’s if they utilize the draft for other needs. DeCosta believes there are backs that will be available during rounds 2 through 7 that can immediately help any team.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 7.51.00 AMCHECK EGO AT THE DOOR! Ozzie Newsome believes in the team’s scouting and draft processes. The best ideas based upon the best available information are those acted upon, regardless of the ideas’ originators. That by definition is collaborative spirit.

EYE ON THE FUTURE: This ties in nicely with the club’s preference to draft the best player available. Ozzie in no uncertain terms stated that it is his job to not only look at what makes the team best in 2014 but also for the following 2-3 years. What might be considered a developmental player today could be a player who down the road will allow the team to shed a higher salary. Think Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson as those guys in 2014.

TRUST: These were Ozzie’s parting words, words shared just moments after those in attendance thought that the presser had concluded:

“To kind of sum this up, as we move forward, we’ve still got some I’s to dot and some T’s to cross – especially myself and John. But I think how we’ve been able to progress through the years is with trust – the trust that I have in Eric and Joe and the scouts, and in the trust that I have with the coaches. And the new coaches that John has brought in this year have done an unbelievable job coming in and evaluating their position.

I don’t know where this draft is going to stand in the 19 years that we’ve been doing this, but I do trust the information and the people that will be a part of the draft, and I think that when we finish up on Sunday afternoon with the undrafted college free agents, we will bring in some players who are going to impact our football team, not only this year, but in years to come.

I just wanted to take the opportunity to sum this whole thing up, [and say] how pleased [I am] and how good it is to work with the people that I work with and the jobs that they do. They make my job very easy. Thanks.”

Ozzie doesn’t interrupt the conclusions of press conferences. He participates because it’s part of his job but he will never be labeled as media savvy or even media friendly. He’s much more comfortable collaborating with his staff, studying film and taking the pulse of league GM’s around the league.

For him to keep everyone’s attention after we all believed the presser to be over is out of character and that combined with what he said above left me wondering if 2014 is Ozzie’s swan song.

Time will tell but the thought was unavoidable.

12 Raves on “Might Ozzie be Stepping Down?

  1. john on said:

    I think he should. He has seen his day. The last few years have been average at best for Ozzie. The NFL is what can you do for me now. It’s Eric’s time now.

    • Unibomber on said:

      “Average at best”? My, what a short memory you have. Superbowl win, in the playoffs every year, only one down year out of the past 6. The “average” NFL GM has that kind of success? That’s a joke.

  2. Cheri on said:

    Looking at the his drafts the past 5 years has not been his shining star since he arrived in 96 but boy it’s one of those things where you ask yourself will we be saying a few years after he retires “boy Ozzie would not have made that mistake or Ozzie would not had screwed that up Ozzie this and Ozzie that”" As the ole saying goes ” Be careful what you wish for because you just may get your wish”.

  3. Filo Bedo on said:

    I normally would shudder at the thought of losing Ozzie, but I do think DeCosta is more than ready to take over. I still don’t want it to happen, but if it does so be it. Anyone know the AD situation at Alabama? That could provide some insight.

    • Joe on said:

      Well, the longtime AD Mal Moore passed away in March 2013, shortly before that he was replaced by Bill Battle. Battle was a former player for Bear Bryant, seems to be another guy whose dream job was Alabama AD.

      It’s a timing thing for Ozzie if he’s eyeing up the Alabama AD job. He’s not likely to walk away in the middle of an offseason for that job. He needs to be “retired” for it to click. Reading his comments, it wouldn’t surprise me if he retired after this year, but I don’t know if it was necessarily that, or maybe a reflection on some of the sniping that took place at John and his coaches over the offseason.

  4. Ed from Bel Air on said:

    I have read a number of comments today saying something similar to “Ozzie’s best days are behind him. His recent drafts have not been up to par.” I am paraphrasing here but I must say I wholeheartedly DISAGREE with those sentiments. I guess a lot of people expect Ozzie to be perfect, never make a bad pick, or never have a player who he has drafted get hurt. Drafting 20 year old kids and projecting how they will perform in the future is a crapshoot. You have rolled the dice, got us players that kept us in the hunt almost every year, and helped us bring home 2 shiny silver trophies.

    Ozzie if this is your swan song, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making Sundays in Baltimore fun again.

  5. Jacob on said:

    I really don’t think “Ozzie’s best days are behind him.” I think other teams have finally gotten better at drafting and, thus, fewer great players fall to the Ravens. The way Ozzie works free agency can’t be undervalued, either. I really do not look forward to the day he leaves. Savage, James Harris, etc., never did anything as GMs when they left the Ravens. The way Phil Savage went “all in” for the 2007 draft for the Browns was crazy–that team was far from one or two players away. I hope DeCosta has learned from Ozzie, but I have my doubts.

    We will one day truly miss Ozzie. How well the Ravens have performed since 2000 are attributable to him more than anyone else. I think of how poorly the O’s have been run–they have been horrible my whole adult life (I’m in my 30s). Go Ozzie! Go Ravens!

  6. JerryB on said:

    At some point, he’s going to retire, but my guess is that it will come after 20 years, not 19. So, next year would seem logical from that perspective. And, to all the Ozzie naysayers and skeptics, he’s been so good at what he does and has kept the Ravens competitive for so long despite the fact that his & the team’s success have given him unenviable draft positions, that it’s difficult to point to one other GM that even comes close! Let’s not forget that his first two draft picks are HOFs and that the Ravens have won two Super Bowls in their brief history. Age doesn’t diminish one’s ability to evaluate talent and he’s still the best in the business!

  7. Cheri on said:

    Tony maybe you can share light on this but was it this year or was it after the Super Bowl when Ozzie made the statement about saying he wasn’t interested in the Alabama AD job and that he still thought he had several more years in him as a Ravens GM ? I could had swore I heard him saying this a couple of times just not sure if it was this year or last when he said it. Even though his comments did sound like he was hanging it up it could have been him reflection on how the years have gone by that he has done this and just wanted to thank the guys who work under him for their dedication and hard work and that he knows he may not be doing this too much longer but not necessary meaning this it it right here.

  8. O'Shea on said:

    I think we’ll have Ozzie for a few more years. People point to these past few years saying we haven’t plucked up any Pro Bowl players but since 2008 we’ve (mostly) made it to the playoffs and won which pushes us to the bottom of the Draft. Most of the Pro Bowlers have been taken in years that we were in the top 20. Not to say that Pro Bowl players can’t be drafted later but that it’s harder. I believe that Jimmy Smith, Ladarius Webb, Pitta, Torrey, KO, or even Elam could have Pro Bowl appearances in the future. So to say that Ozzie is somehow over the hill is ludicrous.

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