Zach Sieler may or may not become a key cog of the Ravens future.
But as long as he’s on the roster, he’ll represent an important link to their past.
The sixth-round defensive lineman from Ferris State was the 193rd pick in the draft, but the final pick for Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome.
“It was emotional,” Newsome said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. “The kid told me that he was going to make me proud.”
Newsome already has plenty of reasons to be. A Hall of Fame player as a tight end for the Browns, he became the first African-American G.M. in the NFL, and held that post with distinction. In 23 years, he drafted a pair of Hall of Fame players, three defensive players of the year, an offensive player of the year and 18 Pro Bowlers, while putting together two Super Bowl teams.
The Ravens announced in February that Newsome was transitioning to an unspecified consultant role and longtime assistant Eric DeCosta would take over, and DeCosta was one of those whose feelings bubbled up as Newsome called Sieler and the draft room gave a standing ovation that must have confused the poor kid on the phone.
“I would say that it is emotional. There’s no doubt,” DeCosta said while choking up. “Ozzie has taught me a lot about football, but more about life. That’s going to continue.”
Owner Steve Bisciotti switched the chairs of Newsome and DeCosta in the draft room, a symbolic torch-passing.
“It’s been a lot of picks,” Newsome said. “A lot of wins and a lot of losses. Even though it’s a finality with that, it’s not finality with what we’ll continue to do for the Baltimore Ravens.”
It’s also far from the end of Newsome’s legacy in football, after a brilliant career on and off the field.