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Ravens DT Williams 'glad to be home' after signing mega deal

Ravens DT Williams 'glad to be home' after signing mega deal

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Long before the start of free agency, the Baltimore Ravens weighed their options and decided that 340-pound Brandon Williams was a keeper.

Then, after it became apparent that it was going to take a whole lot of money to make it happen, general manager Ozzie Newsome turned to owner Steve Bisciotti for guidance.

"Do what you have to do to get the deal done," Bisciotti told Newsome.

And so, after agreeing to terms last week, Williams on Monday signed a five-year, $52.5 million contract that made him the highest-paid nose tackle in the NFL.

Williams has starred over the past three seasons for one of the best defensive units in the league. He is the latest in a long line of standouts at the position, following Tony Siragusa, Sam Adams, Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata.

"This is a really good investment for us, because of the kind of player he's been and the kind of player he's going to be," coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm thrilled Brandon Williams is part of our championship run going forward."

Surrounded by Newsome and Harbaugh at a news conference at the Ravens training complex, Williams wore a gray suit and a broad smile. He could have made big money elsewhere, but didn't want to leave the team that showed faith in him by selecting him in the third round of the 2013 draft out of tiny Missouri Southern State.

"First off, I want to say, I'm glad to be home," Williams said. "Big-time relief."

Most players look forward to the process of putting themselves out there to the highest bidder. Williams, 28, had no desire to be part of it.

"I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst," he said. "It was tough, but in the end it worked out perfectly. When it got down to it, I couldn't see myself in any other color but purple and black."

Williams found out he was coming back with a phone call from Newsome that both participants won't soon forget.

"The emotion that he had, the excitement, how happy he was, it was something that my wife said, `You're on a high,' and I was," Newsome said. "I could just feel it through the phone."

Williams said, "I was emotional. That phone call, knowing that I was going to continue to be a Raven, talking to Ozzie and hearing the happiness and joy in his voice, put a stamp on it -- that I made the right choice."

In addition to retaining Williams, who had 51 tackles and a sack in 2016, the Ravens added free agent safety Tony Jefferson to an ever-changing defense that ranked seventh last year.

"Just one piece at a time," Harbaugh said. Then, referring to Williams, he added, "This is a big piece, literally and figuratively. Really, the main piece for our defense."

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Ravens Mock Draft Roundup: Looks like Baltimore's getting a new wide receiver

Ravens Mock Draft Roundup: Looks like Baltimore's getting a new wide receiver

This is it. It’s finally the week of the 2017 NFL Draft, signaling the end to all of the mock drafts and educated guesses about which move your favorite team will make in the first round.

As for the Baltimore Ravens, there are a number of different directions they could go — add some youth to their receivers, buff up their defensive line or pull a move that could surprise everyone.

With the countdown to the NFL Draft now down to days, here’s a look at which players draft experts and analysts think the Ravens will take with their No. 16 first-round pick.

 

Corey Davis, WR from Western Michigan

Ben Standig, CSN Mid-Atlantic: He argues the Ravens need to prioritize their receiving unit to give Joe Flacco more consistent opens.

“The 6-foot-3 Davis wasn't just a receiver in 2016. We're talking playmaking monster after catching 97 passes for 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns.”

But he also offers up the idea of an edge rusher for the Ravens too.

See Ben Standig's complete 2017 NFL Mock Draft 10.0

Chris Wormley, DE from Michigan

Cameron DaSilva, FOX Sports: Although he asserts Wormley deserves to be a first-round pick somewhere, the Raven’s No. 16 pick could be a bit too high but thinking he’ll still be around by the team’s second-round pick at 47 is “risky.”

“Often overshadowed by other playmakers on Michigan’s defense (Taco Charlton, Jabrill Peppers), Wormley is a great player in his own right, and fits perfectly as a 3-4 defensive end. He can eat up blocks on the edge for Terrell Suggs and Baltimore’s other dynamic pass rushers, while also generating pressure himself.”

Mike Williams, WR from Clemson

Rob Rang, CBS Sports: With the losses of Steve Smith, Sr. and Kamar Aiken, he’s not the only one to point out the Ravens need someone Flacco can rely on, and Williams might be it.

“The Ravens need help at edge rusher and offensive tackle, as well, but general manager Ozzie Newsome may have a hard time letting a prototypical split end like the 6-4, 218-pound Williams slip any further. His ability to box out defenders and win contested passes could make him a quick favorite for Joe Flacco…”

Corey Davis, WR form Western Michigan

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: His argument is quite simple.

“At some point, they have to get Joe Flacco more help outside. This is a player who will end up being the best receiver in this class.”

Cam Robinson, OT from Alabama

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: No matter what’s left by the time the Ravens’ pick rolls around, he argues Baltimore will find someone for the O-Line.

“If Buffalo takes this physically dominant tackle from Alabama at 10, then Ozzie Newsome will find another bargain here.”

 O.J. Howard, TE from Alabama 

Evan Silva, Yahoo Sports: In a year of stand-out tight ends, he asserts this might be the right move for the Ravens.

"Tight ends ordinarily do not make first-year impacts, and the depth of the class could work against the top-end talents. At No. 16, however, I think Howard would be too appealing for GM Ozzie Newsome to pass. 2015 second-round pick Maxx Williams has been a colossal disappointment, and Dennis Pitta is on his last legs. Howard is the pro-readiest tight end in this class." 

John Ross, WR from Washington

Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report: His point is to basically have the Ravens strengthen their offense so it’s reliable and they can leave it alone while working to improve other areas.

“So fast. So record-shatteringly fast. Can also run routes and catch and stuff.”

MORE NFL DRAFT: 15 first-round NFL Draft busts

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2017 NFL Mock Draft 10.0: Plenty of questions ahead of draft day

2017 NFL Mock Draft 10.0: Plenty of questions ahead of draft day

The 2017 NFL Draft takes place this Thursday, April 27th.

With just a few days until draft day, we are doing some last-minute edits to our mock draft. 

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST NFL MOCK DRAFT

While the top picks remain all but guaranteed — DEs Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas — The meat of the first round is where the intrigue is.

Just how high will Texas Tech QB Pat Mahomes go?

Will Christian McCaffrey still be on the board when the Redskins draft at No. 18?

Will Reuben Foster plummet out of the first round?

There are a bevy of questions that need to be answered.

Mock Draft 10.0 answers those questions.

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST NFL MOCK DRAFT