Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
With one of the best value picks of the NFL draft so far, the Baltimore Ravens acquired Ray Lewis’s replacement Friday night by selecting K-State’s Arthur Brown with the 56th overall pick. The Ravens traded up six spots in the second round to acquire the pick from Seattle. The selection solidifies a retooling Ravens defense that needed to fill the shoes of both departed Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed and the legendary Lewis.
Brown was widely speculated to go in the first round of the draft Thursday night, and few believed that he could fall out of the top 40 (Sports Illustrated picked Brown to go to the Ravens in the first round). Yet once the Seahawks came on the board, the Ravens recognized how far Brown had fallen and doubted he would still be on the board six spots later. So they switched second round picks with Seattle, and gave up a fifth-round (No. 165) and sixth-round pick (No. 199) to move up the six spots to snatch Brown. Lurking to take him were also Texas, Denver, New England, Atlanta, and Green Bay in slots 57-61.
Ravens assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta acknowledged what a value Brown was Friday night this far into the draft. “He’s a guy that we coveted… we thought he was one of the best inside linebackers in this year’s draft,” DeCosta said. “He was definitely a consideration for us in the first round, there’s no doubt about it.”
Brown has the opportunity to emulate Lewis in many ways. Listed at 6’0″, many teams were deterred from drafting Arthur due to his height – an issue Lewis battled coming into the league at 6’1”. Yet Lewis emerged to become not only a physical leader for the team, but Baltimore’s emotional leader as well. Brown has similarly been commended for his leadership as a team captain for the Wildcats. And each is among the best in terms of sure tackling. The big difference is the choice of speed versus strength – while Lewis was better known as a powerhouse, Brown is expected to bring more speed to the position and can truly cover the field sideline-to-sideline for the Ravens. This looks to be a productive relationship for many years in the future.