After shoring up their secondary in free agency, the Ravens continued to make that the focus during the first round of the 2017 NF Draft, selecting Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey with the No. 16 overall pick.
The Ravens had a healthy choice of defensive options when they were on the clock at No. 16 -- including a trio of Alabama players in Humphrey, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and linebacker Reuben Foster -- but went with the cornerback general manager Ozzie Newsome said was "by far" the highest-rated player on the Ravens' board when they made the pick.
Newsome said the Ravens had made an effort to move up a couple of spots in the draft and also considered trading back, but never could close a deal.
Instead, they chose Humphrey, the son of former NFL running back Bobby Humphrey, who was himself a first-round draft pick out of Alabama in 1989.
Marlon Humphrey, who turns 21 July 8, played two seasons at Alabama before declaring for the draft after his redshirt sophomore season. Humphrey (6-foot-2, 197 pounds) had 36 tackles and two interceptions for the national runners-up this past season.
Humphrey gives the Ravens a pair of first-round cornerbacks, with Jimmy Smith on the other side of the field. The Ravens already upgraded their secondary this offseason with the signings of safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr. Safety Eric Weddle, veteran safety Lardarius Webb, who was re-signed after being a cap casualty, and second-year cornerback Tavon Young also are back for a group that has received, by far, the most focus this offseason.
Given the Ravens' moves to shore up the defense during the offseason, many expected them to select an offensive player with their first pick. But the entire draft skewed toward the offense during its early stages, with seven of the first 10 picks being used on offensive players.
That included all three elite wide receivers who were linked to the Ravens in various mock drafts: Western Michigan's Corey Davis went to Tennessee at No. 5, Clemson's Mike Williams went to San Diego at No. 7 and Washington speedster John Ross went to the Ravens' AFC North rivals, the Bengals, at No. 9.
Those moves, plus the selection of three quarterbacks in the top 12 picks, set up the Ravens to select the defensive player of their choice, and Humphrey was clearly the choice.
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