Ravens Avoid The Need to Reach

2012 Draft

The Ravens guiding principles from a free agency and draft perspective have always served them well. As Ravens fans we’ve heard them over and over. 

“Right player, right price” is one. The Ravens don’t overpay unrestricted free agents. Whether it’s their own players hitting the market or identifying players from other teams that fill a need, they rarely get in bidding wars. 

The result often means productive players leaving town to cash in, or losing out on big names in free agency. It can frustrate and disappoint fans, but more often than not it works out and the Ravens have an answer to fill the void. 

Another, which seemed impossible a short time ago is choosing the best player available in the draft. The Ravens like to put themselves in a position where they have enough talent and depth across the board that they don’t have to reach to fill a positional need. The result is picking the best talent available when they are on the clock. It’s a strategy that has worked well in years past. 

Two months ago this seemed impossible. There were far too many glaring needs. However, the Ravens have done enough over the course of the last couple months to be able to stick to the formula that’s made them successful drafting top talent.   

Yes, there are still several holes. Running back is light depending on how Ray Rice’s off the field issues play out, but Justin Forsett serves as insurance. 

Free safety is a need and Darian Stewart isn’t a long term answer, but he’s a security blanket in the event the Ravens don’t like what they see when they’re on the clock. Right tackle isn’t locked up, but the Ravens like Rick Wagner, and he’s an option if the elite linemen are gone. 

They have Daryl Smith for the next few years, but if C.J Mosley is there they can take him. They have a great tight end tandem in Owen Daniels and Dennis Pitta. But, they signed Daniels for one year, so if Ebron is there they can take him. They signed Steve Smith, but if Mike Evans falls he’d be a great pick as well. 

The point is the Ravens don’t have to reach, at any position. They can take the best player available with their picks, especially in the first round. Despite the fact that there are holes to fill they do have depth everywhere, even if some of that depth is strictly there as a backup option. 

2014 is an incredibly deep draft. Several experts have said that having a top 20 pick this year is comparable to having a top 10 pick in years past. This year the Ravens have the highest pick they have had since 2006 when they selected Haloti Ngata 12th overall. With such a talented draft class and their highest pick in seven years, things will get interesting. 

Considering the depth of the draft, and a successful free agency period, the Ravens have positioned themselves well. 

More importantly they can stick with what’s kept them consistently competitive and take the most talented player on the board when they pick in the first round of next month’s draft. 

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About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones is a native of Belair, MD and has been an avid Ravens fan since they came to Baltimore in 1996. He lived in Federal Hill, MD before moving to Boston in 2006. He is the cofounder of Ravens Nation North, a contingent of Ravens fans living in Boston...more

7 Raves on “Ravens Avoid The Need to Reach

  1. Edgarallanpro on said:

    Good article, but a note – the Ravens had a higher draft pick in 2008 after the abysmal 3-13 year in 2007. After deciding on not paying a king’s ransom to move up for Matt Ryan, the traded out of the first then back up to take Flacco. So while they didn’t USE the higher (#8 iirc) draft pick, they had it.

    • Cheri on said:

      Actually they were 5-11 they started out 4-2 lost 9 in the row and then won the last game against the Steelers when the Steelers sat everyone because they were locked in I believe was the 4 seed? I Remember that season all to well :(
      Sometimes I don’t always buy into the fact that the Ravens will take the best player on their board.They will tell us that after the fact but has anyone ever saw their board to confirm player A was rated over player B of course not.Perfect example will be this coming draft if the Ravens take a Calvin Pryor or Jimmy Ward at 17 because Dix is off the board (and I am not a big fan of Dix) I will have a really hard time thinking the Ravens had them as the 17th best player on their board. By not addressing FS in free agency has more or less made this a number 1 priority, thus my concern they could feel a little urgency to get this position filled.

  2. Nick B. on said:

    The sad thing about that 2007 year is the Steelers did sit some starters for that last game, about 5 probably, but the Ravens likely had fewer starters in the game because of all the injuries that year.

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