Instead of drafting a safety such as South Carolina’s Ko Simpson as a
potential starting candidate next to Ed Reed, the Ravens decided they didn’t
want to pass up Pittman.
Seventeen picks before Baltimore drafted Pittman, the Buffalo Bills selected
Ohio State cornerback Ashton Youboty, who had been projected as a first-round
Baltimore traded its No. 44 overall pick in the second round to the New York Giants for the 56th and 87th picks.
“This young man gives us a chance to have a nickel back, which is huge right
now,” Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said of Pittman, the only I-AA
player to compete in the Senior Bowl. “Currently we don’t have anybody with any
experience at that nickel spot, so that was something we were really desperate
“You have to understand that nickel is a huge, huge priority for any team. If
you don’t have a nickel back, you can’t even line up and play defense as we
found out in Cincinnati when we had all those injuries.”
Despite playing at a lower level of competition, Pittman impressed the Ravens
with his coverage skills, 153 career tackles, 11 interceptions and four
“I think he’s been tested,” Ryan said. “The No. 1 thing when you’re evaluating
film is that he can’t help who he goes against. Did he cover them? Absolutely.
“Football is football. Athletically, it doesn’t matter where you went to school.
Obviously, it’s going to be a huge step up, but I think it’s going to be a huge
step up for anybody whether you’re from Division I or Division I-AA. I’m sure
he’s our kind of player.”
Pittman, who visited the Ravens’ training complex, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4
seconds and recorded a 10-foot-8 broad jump and a 36-inch vertical leap
Draft analysts downgraded Pittman for his lack of size, saying the 5-foot-11,
182-pounder can be pushed around by bigger receivers in the red zone and
exploited by play-action fakes and double-moves.
His major strengths are his smooth backpedal and his long arms and ability to
compete for jump balls. He drew high marks for intangibles, described as feisty
“There are guys on the board that were rated a little higher than him that had
been taken, but we felt fortunate that David was still there,” Ryan said.
Heading into today’s final four rounds, it’s debatable whether the Ravens will
be able to find a safety capable of challenging for a starting job. The
remaining pool includes Simpson, Penn State’s Calvin Lowry, USC’s Darnell Bing,
Georgia Tech’s Dawan Landry, Florida State’s Pat Watkins, Howard’s Antoine Bethea and Georgia’s Greg Blue.
“Whoever shows up will get an opportunity,” Ryan said. “If the kid is one of our
best 11, then whoever it is will be starting.”
NOTE: Baltimore remains in the market for a quarterback, running back, blocking
tight end and a third wide receiver.
Aaron Wilson writes Ravens Insider and the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
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