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After making six trades and selecting 12 players, Newsome declared Saturday night: “The Baltimore Ravens are a better football team after the past three days.”
Newsome is stepping down as general manager after this season. He has owned the final say in the Ravens’ draft room since 1996, when he chose future Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis in the first round.
The 2018 draft may not turn out to be as successful, but coach John Harbaugh 鈥?who’d heading into his 11th year with Baltimore 鈥?wouldn’t bet against it.
“I told Ozzie just as we finished this thing up, I feel like this is his best draft since I’ve been here,” Harbaugh said. “Heck, maybe the best ever.”
Denying last month that he was carrying any nostalgic feelings into the draft, Newsome insisted he was focused solely on filling holes on a team that’s missed the postseason for three straight years.
He did just that. For trivia buffs out there, his final draft pick was at defensive end: Zach Sieler of Ferris State in the seventh round.
His work done, Newsome was about to hang up the phone when he realized the significance of the moment.
“Yes, it was emotional,” he acknowledged. “The kid told me he was going to make me proud.”
Newsome will be succeeded by assistant GM Eric DeCosta. This may have been Newsome’s final draft, but his work is not done.
“Even though there’s a finality with that, there’s not finality for what I’m going to continue to do with the Baltimore Ravens,” he said.
Newsome was at his finest this week. He moved back twice in the first round before selecting South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst at No. 25, providing quarterback Joe Flacco with a downfield threat from the slot.
Then Mike White Jersey Cowboys , Newsome made a bold move that ultimately will determine the success of this draft. He swapped three picks to choose at No. 32, where he snapped up Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the multifaceted 2016 Heisman Trophy winner.
The Ravens insist Flacco will remain the starter this season, but it might be hard to resist for long the temptation of playing an athlete who accounted for 119 touchdowns in three college seasons.
On Day 2, after two more trades, Newsome turned his attention back to the 2018 Ravens by taking right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. 鈥攚hose father played with Baltimore 鈥?and tight end Mark Andrews of Oklahoma.
For his last day as Baltimore’s draft guru, Newsome had eight choices. Each was made with intense consideration, as always.
“A lot of work has gone into this, starting back last June,” Newsome said. “I really, really feel very good about this class and how it came to be.”
Some items of note from the Ravens draft:
HERE’S THE CATCH: The theme of this offseason for Baltimore has been to overhaul the receiving corps, and Newsome continued the process in the draft.
After signing free agent receivers Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead in recent weeks, Newsome collared two tight ends in the draft and on Saturday used two straight picks on receivers: Jaleel Scott of New Mexico State in the fourth round and Jordan Lasley of UCLA in the fifth.
Scott and Lasley both topped 1,000 yards receiving last season and each scored nine TDs.
ON THE DEFENSIVE: After using the first two days of the draft to improve the Ravens’ offense, Newsome turned his attention Saturday to the other side of the ball.
He selected Alabama cornerback Anthony Averett at 118th overall Chris Iannetta Colorado Rockies Jersey , UCLA inside linebacker Kenny Young at No. 122 and Texas safety DeShon Elliott at 190 and then, finally, Sieler.
HOLD THAT LINE: Extending his effort to make life easier for Flacco, Newsome attempted to shore up the offensive line in the draft.
After the Ravens lost right tackle Austin Howard and center Ryan Jensen during the offseason, they grabbed a few potential replacements.
In addition to Brown, the Ravens took tackle Greg Senat from Wagner, a 6-foot-6, 305-pounder who also played on the basketball team. In the seventh round, Newsome again tapped his alma mater, selecting Alabama center Bradley Bozeman.
STILL NEED: The Ravens are fine with running back Alex Collins but hoped to find at least one backup in the draft.
DeCosta said that just as Baltimore was ready to pounce, another team stepped in and took the Ravens’ choice.
“There will be more opportunities for us,” he said.
For the Oklahoma City Thunder, clinching night was reminiscent of their season.
Really bad start.
Really good finish.
Paul George scored 27 points, Russell Westbrook got his 25th triple-double of the season and the Thunder ran wild in the fourth quarter on the way to wrapping up a Western Conference playoff berth with a 115-93 win over the Miami Heat on Monday night.
”Half the league gets a chance to play in the postseason,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. ”You don’t want to take things for granted. They should feel good about creating an opportunity to play after the regular season’s over, but the thing I said to them after the game was we want to continue to play well Cheap Barkevious Mingo Jersey , we want to continue to build, we want to continue to get better.”
That’s what Oklahoma City did all season. They started 8-12, are 39-22 since and got road wins over Houston and Miami in a three-day span to clinch the berth.
”We’re headed in the right direction,” said George, who walked off a winner in Miami for the third time in 21 appearances. ”This is what we wanted. We wanted to come out of this road trip 2-0 and we did that.”
Westbrook finished with 23 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists for the Thunder, who missed their first 10 shots and were down by 18 in the opening minutes before outscoring the Heat 39-12 in the fourth.
It was the third-worst scoring margin for any quarter in Heat history, and the worst ever in a game at Miami.
The Heat were called for 10 fouls in the fourth against three for the Thunder, and Oklahoma City shot 15 free throws in the final quarter – one more than Miami shot in the entire game.
”We had a lot of good things going, and then I think it was a combination of them marching to the free-throw line and us not executing on the other end,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Jerami Grant scored 17 points and Carmelo Anthony added 11 for Oklahoma City, which made 14 3-pointers. Anthony will be playing in postseason games for the first time since 2013, after four consecutive futile seasons with the Knicks.
”Feels good to be back in the postseason and the mindset of not looking forward to another vacation,” Anthony said.
Josh Richardson scored 18 points and Hassan Whiteside added 16 for the Heat, who fell one spot to No. 7 in the East for now. Miami’s playoff seed won’t be decided until the season finales Wednesday.
Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson each scored 12 for Miami, and James Johnson added 11.
”We haven’t done things the easy way Adidas Jaden Schwartz Jersey ,” Heat guard Wayne Ellington said. ”I guess we like the challenge.”
Thunder: Westbrook needs 16 rebounds in the Thunder finale Wednesday to average a triple-double for the second straight season. He’s also the second player with 2,000 points and 800 assists in back-to-back years. The other is Oscar Robertson, who did it five times. … Alex Abrines was held out of the second half with concussion symptoms.
Heat: Miami outscored Oklahoma City 58-32 in the paint. … The Heat shot 5 for 22 from 3-point range. … James Johnson got poked in the eye and Richardson banged a knee late, but both suggested after the game that they’ll be fine.
”We know we can beat anybody when we’re playing our best,” Westbrook said postgame.
Heat guard Dwyane Wade was presented with the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for March, recognizing his response to the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union donated $200,000 toward getting students to the ”March for Our Lives” event in Washington last month. ”I came back to this city at a time when I was needed, when my voice was needed,” Wade said.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski sat midcourt with Heat CEO Nick Arison, his former manager with the Blue Devils. Coach K was one of three accomplished college coaches at the game; Rick Pitino was also there, near Donovan – who played guard on Providence’s 1987 Final Four team (coached by Pitino), and a two-time NCAA title winner at Florida before going to Oklahoma City.
Thunder: Host Memphis on Wednesday.
Heat: Host Toronto on Wednesday.