Baltimore Ravens GM explains why he likes to draft former Alabama players
When Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome was in college, he was a star tight end for Alabama, catching 102 passes for 2,070 yards and 16 touchdowns while starting all four years. He was so good that he earned a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.
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Now, as an NFL executive, he has a soft spot for his alma mater. Since taking over the Ravens’ GM position, he’s selected five ex-Crimson Tide players. The three former Alabama players he’s selected since 2010 (Terrence Cody, Courtney Upshaw and C.J. Mosley) have all been either first- or second-round picks.
Newsome told AL.com that he believes Alabama coach Nick Saban runs the best program college football has to offer, so it makes sense to draft the polished and NFL-ready players he produces:
“Nick does a very good job of molding those players into becoming complete players,” Newsome said. “They understand what hard work is, they understand what preparation is and they understand about competing at a very high level. So when you get one of those players, instead of having to put them through the process for them to get to that level, they already have played at that level. And it’s like it was when I was there: If you don’t play and compete, you probably don’t get the opportunity to play. So they’re accustomed to playing against and practicing against players of their equal.”
But, Newsome continued, his relationship with the Alabama program goes beyond a respect for Saban. He added that, as an ex-Crimson Tide star, he is frequently around the program during bye weeks:
“The other thing is I do have an intimate knowledge of the players there. If I get a chance on a bye week, if we don’t have a game and Alabama has a game at home, I’m in Tuscaloosa and at the practices and so forth. And you know Nick and I worked together for four years for (Bill) Belichick in Cleveland.”
Currently, LB C.J. Mosley — the Ravens’ first-round pick in 2014 — is the only former Alabama player on the Baltimore roster, but that could change in 2017.
Right now, WalterFootball.com has the Ravens selecting ex-Crimson Tide OL Cam Robinson with the No. 16 overall pick.
Though he likely won’t be around with the No. 16 pick, TE O.J. Howard may be a target close to Newsome’s heart, since they both played tight end (and did it well) for the Crimson Tide.