Ravens Pick NgataApril 29, 2006
After swapping picks with the Cleveland Browns and former Ravens director of player personnel Phil Savage, the Baltimore Ravens selected defensive tackle Haloti Ngata with the 12th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
Since the departure of the similar-sized Maake Kemoeatu, who signed with the Carolina Panthers early in free agency, the Ravens have been looking for another run-stuffer on the line. In Ngata, general manager Ozzie Newsome definitely found his man.
"Unfortunately, we lost Kemo (Maake Kemoeatu) in free agency, but we feel like now our ability to stop the run has improved immensely by getting a player of Ngata's stature," Newsome said. "He's still a young player, he's still growing and we think he has a big-time upside."
|Ngata has the ability to break into the pocket when pass rushing.|
Newsome felt that, had the Ravens not moved up Savage, his former pupil, may have taken Ngata or at least traded the pick to someone that would.
Echoing his usual drafting philosophy, Newsome made the move to select the perfect fit in Rex Ryan's ever-changing defense.
"At the end of the day, as I talked about in the media press conference (last week), knowing that I had Ngata took the risk out of it," he commented. "He was a guy that we wanted. He fits us very well. So to me, it eliminated the risk of anybody else moving up or Phil taking him himself, which I don't know if he would have or not.
"Once he gets a chance to work with Clarence and Rex, and with that God-given talent that he has, we think we will get more out of him once he gets here."
Ngata is one guy that is glad the shrewd general manager acted when he did.
"I was hoping (for) Baltimore," he explained in a conference call from Las Vegas. "I really wanted to come to Baltimore, especially because they are a defensive team."
Ravens director of college scouting Eric DeCosta can now breathe a sigh of relief. While he expected Ngata to be available somewhere near Baltimore's original 13th pick, there was a slight worry that he might not be there.
"If you had asked me this morning who we were going to take, I would've said Ngata would probably be there," said DeCosta, "but I knew Cleveland would be the one stumbling block."
But once the Ravens cleared that hurdle, DeCosta got to welcome a player that he's been following for a while now. Ngata couples his immense size with an agility and quickness that is rare among his type of defensive tackles.
"He's been a guy that's been on my radar screen all fall and through the spring process," commented DeCosta.
"He's a guy that's tough to move and I think he's going to pose nightmares for teams in our division trying to get him off the ball and trying to run the football, he continued. "I'm excited to have him. He's been one of the favorite players of the scouts and coaches. I think he's going to be a great addition to our defensive line."
There are a lot of Ravens players, coaches and fans that would agree.http://www.baltimoreravens.com/news/article.jsp?id=9360
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