Ravens pick Gophers’ tight end Williams

Published 11:49 am Saturday, May 2, 2015

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens insist that talent, not positional need, is the driving force behind their draft.

While that may be true, the Ravens have already filled three sizable holes over the first three rounds.

Baltimore selected Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams and Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis on Friday night after picking Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perrmian with the 26th overall pick Thursday.

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“It was the way the board was stacked,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said, even though each of those three positions lost key players earlier this offseason.

Perriman has a chance to be the deep threat that was lost when wide receiver Torrey Smith signed with San Francisco. Tight end Owen Daniels left as a free agent for Denver, and the addition of Davis comes a few months after Haloti Ngata was traded to Detroit.

“Considering our needs, I think the board really kind of jelled well,” assistant GM Eric DeCosta said.

Baltimore was slated to pick 58th overall but made a deal with Arizona pick at 55. The teams swapped second-round picks, and the Ravens gave the Cardinals a fifth-round selection to move up and take Williams.

“As the players started to come off the board, we felt like Maxx was somebody we really wanted,” Newsome said.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Williams could step in and contribute immediately. Not only did the Ravens lose Daniels, but it is uncertain if Dennis Pitta will ever play again after sustaining a second season-ending hip injury in 2014.

New offensive coordinator Marc Trestman probably can’t wait to start working with the 21-year-old Williams.

“This offense that we’re running with Marc is very tight end friendly,” Newsome noted.

Davis, taken in the third round with the 90th overall pick, said he should have gone late in the first round or early in the second. Timmy Jernigan appears poised to step in Ngata’s replacement, but the 6-5, 320-pound Davis could end up being a backup.

Knowing Baltimore was short of tight ends, Williams figured there was a good chance the Ravens would look his way.

“I always had a good feeling going into all this that they would call my number,” he said. “I want to be a starter, I want to prove I can make a difference and help win a championship.”

Williams left Minnesota after his sophomore season. He caught 36 passes for 569 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014.

Williams is the son of former NFL center Brian Williams, who played with the New York Giants from 1989-99, and Perriman is the son of former NFL receiver Brett Perriman.

Newsome insisted that he’s not all of a sudden interested in the bloodlines of his draft choices.

Earlier Friday, the Ravens welcomed Perriman to the team’s training complex.

Wearing a grey checkered suit, white shirt and no tie, Perriman flashed a broad smile as he answered an array of questions from the media.

There was some question about the number of balls he dropped at UCF, and Perriman insisted he would prove his hands were not a liability.

“Definitely that’s something I have a chip on my shoulder about,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I know what I can do. I know that I can catch. I did have some lack of concentration, some mental drops in this past season, and that’s something I’ve been working on tremendously. I don’t really see it as a weakness, but I will use that as a motivation.”

Asked to compare himself to a current NFL receiver, the 6-2, 212-pound Perriman picked Julio Jones of Atlanta.

“He’s kind of a big receiver like myself, but he can play as a small receiver as well,” Perriman said. “He can stretch the field vertically, he has great quickness and he’s physical.”

Just because he’s the top pick, that doesn’t mean Perriman will immediately replace Smith and step into the starting lineup.

“He knows that he’s going to have to come in here and earn everything that he gets,” receivers coach Bobby Engram said. “But we brought him in here because he has the talent and the skill set that we want to definitely add to what we have.”