Super-cool maneuvering by the Ravens draft team to land a sliding talent in Arthur Brown…
The Ravens traded up in the second round and drafted inside linebacker Arthur Brown out of Kansas State with the 56th-overall pick. Baltimore gave up a fifth-round (No. 165) and sixth-round pick (No. 199) to move up six spots and take Brown.
Technically you can't trade a compensatory pick—but Ozzie had so many comp picks in the bank he could afford to trade up regular picks and go get his guy, who most thought was the best linebacker still on the board.
Brown is considered a plug-and-play linebacker who could step in and potentially start at
“He’s a guy that we coveted,” Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said. “We thought he was one of the best inside linebackers in this year’s draft.”
Adding Brown and first-round safety Matt Elam allows the Ravens to address two of their most glaring needs at the top of the draft. They came into this year’s draft looking to strengthen the middle of their defense after losing Lewis, Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard and Dannell Ellerbe, and their first two picks go a long way in rebuilding that foundation.
“We’ve made some picks that we think strengthen the interior of our defense, and we’d like to continue to do that,” DeCosta said. “These guys really are stabilizing forces.”
Brown (6-foot-0, 242 pounds), was considered a first-round prospect by some draft experts, but he slid into the second round likely over concerns about his size. Getting him at pick No. 56 was a great value for the Ravens, who had him pegged as a potential target Thursday night.
“He was definitely a consideration for us in the first round,” DeCosta said. “There’s no doubt about it.”
The Ravens came into this year’s draft armed with 12 total picks, so they had the ammunition to package their late-round options to move up and get a player they wanted. Even after the deal, the Ravens still have eight picks for the final five rounds.
“We started to sweat a little bit as we started to see some good players coming off the board,” DeCosta said. “And the idea of not getting him was pretty scary, so we decided to make the move.”
Part of the attraction to Brown was the leadership that he brings to the table.
He was a two-time captain at Kansas State, selected by his teammates the year after he transferred from the University of Miami.
“That speaks to the kind of kid he is,” DeCosta said.
Brown was regarded as a “Red Star” player on the Ravens’ board. That distinction is given to prospects who every scout agrees has the qualities of being a “true Raven.”
“He’s a great kid,” said Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz. “He’s a great leader. He passes all the intangibles: hard work, smart, tough, everything.”
In his two seasons at Kansas State, Brown started all 26 games and led the team in tackles both seasons. He finished his career at Kansas State with 201 total tackles, four sacks and five interceptions.
He played inside and outside linebacker, but the Ravens see him fitting as an inside backer within their scheme. While he’s been knocked for his size by some draft analysts, Brown isn’t concerned about it being an issue when transitioning to the NFL.
“Honestly I’ve never really considered myself to be a smaller linebacker, and to some that may matter, but you can never measure the heart of a man,” Brown said. “Really, it’s just about your willingness to put it all out and I’m willing to give it all up. That’s what I play with, my love and my passion and my heart for the game.”
The Ravens said they wanted to build the middle of their defense through the draft and that’s just what they continued to do Friday.
Baltimore selected defensive tackle Brandon Williams from Missouri Southern State in the third round with pick No. 94 overall.
Williams is another small-school player for the Ravens, who have hit with such prospects in the past, including cornerback
The 6-foot-1, 335-pound Williams was a rare three-time All-American as one of the top players in Division II, III, or NAIA. Last year, he was named the MIAA defensive player of the year with 68 tackles (16.5 for loss), 8.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles.
His short stature gives him natural leverage on the defensive line. He’s a block-eater, yet has the ability to also penetrate to get tackles for loss and create pressure on quarterbacks.
Williams put up 38 reps on the bench press. DeCosta said after watching the tape, they knew he was going to do well on the bench press.
“He’s a big man, a naturally big man,” DeCosta said. “It’s tough to find these body types to play in a 3-4 defense and we think he’s a great fit for us.”
Harbaugh was impressed by a YouTube video of Williams walking on his hands.
“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Harbaugh said. “For a big man, he’s really an athletic guy.”
Williams, like Brown, is another red-star prospect, showing the intangibles the team values. He went to a Division II school because he did not have a high enough GPA. He had a summer job starting at 7 a.m. cleaning port-a-potties.
The Ravens could use help along the defensive line to add competition with nose tackle
“We’ll have a nice little rotation at defensive tackle,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We have really bolstered our front seven, big-time. … It’s going to be a very formidable group upfront.”
Nice draft so far from the Ravens in 2013… Next up, Rounds 4 through 7… and then the UDFA signings ( a la Justin Tucker)…