OWINGS MILLS — Ozzie Newsome appears to be taking Joe Flacco and Mike Wallace at their words.
The Ravens’ quarterback and wide receiver each stated before the NFL Draft that the team didn’t need to add another receiver. Newsome, Baltimore’s general manager, did not use any of the Ravens’ seven picks to draft one.
“First and foremost, I think that the players that we picked were the best players to be picked at that point,” Newsome said Saturday. “Not taking a receiver, geez, we tried to put ourselves into position to do that, it just didn’t work out. The six other players, at the point we took them, were better than the receivers on the board at that time.”
The Ravens hadn’t drafted an offensive player before the fourth round began Saturday afternoon. They selected consecutive offensive linemen in the fourth (Nico Siragusa, San Diego State) and fifth (Texas A&M’s Jermaine Eluemunor) before choosing a safety with their final pick.
In total, Baltimore drafted five defensive players and only two from the offensive side of the ball – neither of whom played a skill position.
“We weren’t shying away from certain positions. We’ll get a chance starting Monday to watch our young guys out on the field,” Newsome said. “Now, we get a chance to watch a little football. Guys make a jump from year one to year two and some of our skill people may be able to do that.”
Wallace previously mentioned Chris Moore as a wide receiver he expects to make a major jump from year one to two. Moore was primarily a special teams player as a rookie.
Baltimore’s 2015 first-round pick, wide receiver Breshad Perriman, is essentially entering year two of his career after missing all of his would-be rookie season with a knee injury.
The Ravens have not made any moves at the position in free agency to address the voids left by Steve Smith Sr.’s retirement and Kamar Aiken’s departure in free agency. The lack of action could be a vote of confidence in guys like Wallace, Perriman and Moore.
Newsome insisted the Ravens are not done adding players.
“Am I going to be spending between now and up until we play Cincinnati to continue to try to improve the football team and try to get an additional wide receiver? Yes, we will continue to work to try to get that done,” he said. “I’ve come to learn, because we sat here last year and the question was asked, ‘Who’s going to be your inside linebacker?’ We just said ‘We’ll work on it.’ We already had him here with Zach Orr. We’ve got to give our own players every opportunity. That’s what John [Harbaugh] and his staff do, give them every opportunity to compete and win jobs.”
It’s the first year the Ravens did not draft a single wide receiver since 2009.
Baltimore will sign several un-drafted free agents in the days following the draft. The Ravens have a unique trend of un-drafted players earning roster spots, so that history paired with a need at the position could drive some unpicked rookies to Baltimore.
The Ravens likely could have used their first-round pick on the position, but an unexpected run on wide receivers saw the three best wideouts selected in the Top 10 picks. USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster was a viable second-round option, but Baltimore drafted edge rusher Tyus Bowser – another glaring need.
To make matters worse for Ravens fans calling for a receiver, Smith-Schuster fell into the hands of the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
Veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin is still a free agent. He won a Super Bowl in Baltimore and the sides may have a mutual interest in a reunion. Whether it’s Boldin or not, Newsome made it sound like a near certainty that the Ravens will add another wide receiver.
“The Baltimore Ravens are a better football team right now and we will continue to get better,” he said. “Like I said before, we still have to hunt. As a group, we’re still hunting.”
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig