The Baltimore Ravens have found quality players in the NFL draft ever since entering the NFL in 1996. From Ray Lewis to Lamar Jackson to Rashod Bateman and everyone in between, Baltimore has built their teams through the draft, and it seems like they’ll continue to do for years to come. However, there have been a few players that the Ravens have missed out on during past draft weekends.
When listing out one draft do-over for each NFL team over the last decade, Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report looked back to the 2013 draft for Baltimore, naming safety Tyrann Mathieu as his pick for the Ravens. When explaining why, Davenport talked about how then Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome “whiffed” on safety Matt Elam, who the team took at No. 32 overall.
“…And in 2013, Newsome whiffed badly on Florida safety Matt Elam. It’s not that Elam wasn’t regarded as one of the top safety prospects in his class, but after an OK rookie season, his play fell off measurably. He missed his entire third season with an elbow injury. And after barely playing in 2016, he was finished with the Ravens—and the NFL altogether.”
He then discussed why Mathieu fell all the way to the third round despite being a first-round talent.
“There were reasons Tyrann Mathieu fell in the draft. Some teams were leery of his 5’9”, 190-pound size. Others were unsure whether he was better suited to play safety or corner. Others still wanted no part of a player who had been booted off the team at LSU in 2012 for violating team rules and was later arrested and charged with simple possession of marijuana.”
Having Mathieu instead of Elam on the back end of the Ravens’ defense from the start could have yielded much better results for the team as a whole. Elam made little positive impact in Baltimore, and Mathieu has gone on to become one of the best safeties in the NFL. No team is perfect when it comes to drafting, but some of the players that teams miss out on can be more painful to look back on than others.
For the Arizona Cardinals, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was named as their draft do-over from the past decade.