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In Ozzie We Trust

In the age of parity in the NFL, more and more importance is placed on a team’s front office. In the midst of $100 million contracts being handed out to defensive tackles and the Dallas Cowboys releasing their star receiver, the front office has to be on top of their game or the team will ultimately suffer. Luckily for the Ravens, we have one of the best in the league.

Facing the loss of our defensive coordinator (one of the best in the league), and 14 unrestricted free agents (seven of whom were starters), Ozzie Newsome and the newly promoted Director of Player Personnel Eric DiCosta had a very tough road ahead of them. Here we are going into the latter parts of free agency and looking forward to the draft and the Ravens say they aren’t quite finished. Ozzie told Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun on March 8th, “The phones are still hot.”

Not only are the Ravens adding new players, but they’re adding quality players. Matt Birk, the Ravens newly acquired center, is a six-time Pro Bowler and Harvard graduate. Dominique Foxworth, the newest Ravens CB, played his college ball at Maryland and is coming back to play in his hometown and was elected to the NFLPA executive committee in 2008. Both players were respected as leaders by their previous teams and will no doubt contribute positively to the Ravens locker room chemistry.

The Ravens plan is to fill all pressing needs through free agency so we can draft the best player on the board instead of drafting for needs. Most mock drafts have the Ravens taking a wide receiver in the first round (most of them have the Ravens taking one of three: Derrius Heyward-Bey, Hakeem Nicks, or Jeremy Maclin). The Ravens consistently draft well, but never seem to have flashy or “A” grade drafts. It looks like Ozzie and the front office is setting the team up for that “flashy” draft we’ve been waiting to see.

Either way, I’m happy we have a front office that does their due diligence and consistently puts the team in a position to win. Whether it’s hiring the right coaches, signing the right free agents, or drafting the right players, I’m confident the Ravens front office will do their research and make the right decision more often than not.

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