Craig: Don't dismiss ravaged Ravens

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 16, 2013 - 11:47 PM

Baltimore knows what to do with compensatory picks.

hide

Anquan Boldin is among the handful of players the Ravens have lost since winning it all.

Winners a month ago, the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens were universally lumped in with this week’s “losers.”

Funny how that works for teams that draft well and win championships. Funny how those of us who do the lumping this time of year never learn that the first week of free agency is rarely, if ever, a good time for adulation and granting a spot among the media’s “winners.”

A colleague might have put it best. “This,” he said, “is Browns season!” Presumably, the Ravens, Steelers and their combined eight Super Bowl rings are OK with sharing some positive AFC North headlines in the month of March.

If the Pro Football Hall of Fame had a wing set aside for the champions of March, Redskins owner Dan Snyder would be Curly Lambeau. Albert Haynesworth, the worst of Snyder’s many expensive swings and misses through many a spring, would be Joe Greene.

This year, Mike Wallace, the top prize of 2013, would be guaranteed of going to Miami and making Ryan Tannehill the next Ben Roethlisberger. Then he’d run and catch deep balls like Paul Warfield. After all, no team ever has gone wrong in March with an overpay-and-pray philosophy, right?

The league’s bottom feeders need successful teams with sound, draft-based foundations to nibble on in March. The Ravens, of course, are no strangers to being eaten alive.

This year, chunks of flesh are being torn away because Baltimore’s only priority resulted in quarterback Joe Flacco getting $120.6 million over six years. That’s why two top defenders, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe, ended up in Cleveland and Miami, respectively, for a combined $75.6 million.

Throw in cornerback Cary Williams signing with Philadelphia, the Anquan Boldin trade to San Francisco, Ray Lewis’ retirement and Ed Reed’s expected departure via free agency and, well, the Ravens are kaput. Right?

Not so fast. The Ravens under General Manager Ozzie Newsome are a classic example of a franchise that’s built on something more solid than a transaction that leads SportsCenter during the first week of March. They don’t feed on 27-year-old household names from other teams. They pick 22-year-olds and make them household names.

In 1997, the Ravens signed Priest Holmes as an undrafted rookie. In 2002, they did the same thing with Bart Scott. Heck, Ellerbe was undrafted himself.

In 2000, linebacker Adalius Thomas was a no-name sixth-round pick. In 2007, he was one of the hottest tickets in free agency.

The Ravens also take advantage of compensatory picks as well as, if not better than, any other team in the league. Of course, no one gets excited about compensatory picks. There’s no “Compensatory Picks Countdown!” or “Compensatory Picks Tracker!”

But compensatory picks, which are positioned from Rounds 3-7, are a big deal behind the scenes. Teams can get up to four of them per year based on a complex formula that determines the value of players lost and acquired via free agency.

This year, the Ravens, naturally, have four compensatory picks, raising their total to an NFL-high 37 since 1996. This year, they get a fourth-rounder for losing Ben Grubbs, a fifth-rounder for Jarrett Johnson, a sixth-rounder for Cory Redding and a seventh-rounder for Tom Zbikowski. None of those four players was needed to win Super Bowl XLVII.

Compensatory picks can’t be traded, but they do provide the power to trade other picks. The extra picks also prevent teams from having to reach to fill a need.

They also unearth some gems. In 2003, the Ravens used a fourth-rounder on fullback Ovie Mughelli, who became a Pro Bowler. In 2007, they used another fourth-rounder on another fullback, Le’Ron McClain, who became yet another Pro Bowler.

Quarterback Derek Anderson, who made the Pro Bowl in Cleveland, was a sixth-round compensatory pick of the Ravens in 2005. Guard Edwin Mulitalo, an eight-year starter for the Ravens, was a fourth-round compensatory pick in 1999.

“When somebody gives you an extra draft pick, and you can turn it into another young body, that’s an advantage you can’t ignore,” Newsome said years ago. “Those compensatory choices, believe me, are more important than people realize.”

  • related content

  • Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close