Baltimore Ravens fans trust in Ozzie Newsome.
And they should.
He's the best general manager in the NFL.
That's not a slight to up-and-coming San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke, who's compiled a ridiculously talented roster for Jim Harbaugh.
It's not a knock on other top GM's, either: John Schneider of the Seattle Seahawks, Jerry Reese of the New York Giants, Thomas Dimitroff of the Atlanta Falcons, Ted Thompson of the Green Bay Packers, Kevin Colbert of the Pittsburgh Steelers or reigning Executive of the Year Ryan Grigson of the Indianapolis Colts.
Newsome has simply proven many times over the course of his front-office career with the Ravens that he always has a shrewd plan up his sleeve.
He was named the Ravens GM in 2002, a year-and-a-half removed from the team's win in Super Bowl XXV over the New York Giants.
Newsome, the first African-American GM in the NFL, ultimately whiffed on his first quarterback selection, Kyle Boller, but in that draft, he nabbed defender Terrell Suggs with the 10th overall pick.
In 2005, Newsome inked free-agent wideout Derrick Mason—a move that certainly paid off in the long run.
In 2007, quarterback Steve McNair was pried away from the Tennessee Titans for a fourth-round pick, the same year everyone's favorite versatile defender, Adalius Thomas was not re-signed and was inked by the New England Patriots to a deal with $20 million guaranteed.
After a down season that year, Brian Billick was fired and relatively unknown John Harbaugh was brought in as the new head coach. With rookie signal-caller Joe Flacco and second-round pick Ray Rice, the team advanced to the AFC title game before losing to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
Center Matt Birk was added in free agency that offseason, and Anquan Boldin was obtained in 2010.
In 2012, after a poor stretch of play, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was controversially canned, and Newsome replaced him with Jim Caldwell.
A few fortuitous plays went the Ravens' way down the stretch, but when the dust settled on the 2012 season, the Ravens were Super Bowl champs.
Afterward, Newsome experienced a Super Bowl purge of epic proportions. He lost an abundance of his defensive starters—including Hall of Fame locks Ray Lewis and Ed Reed—as well as some key offensive contributors.
The Ravens were doomed.
Then Newsome worked his magic.
Marcus Spears and Chris Canty were acquired on modest contracts, as was Elvis Dumervil after Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco was given a lucrative extension.
To keep the positive momentum going, Newsome pieced together a fine draft class, one with Arthur Brown as the center piece, a player who should step into the void left by Lewis and make an instant impact.
He snagged hard-hitting safety Matt Elam in Round 1 to pair with newcomer Michael Huff at safety.
Now, the outlook for the Ravens isn't nearly as gloomy.
Don't forget #Ravens were 17th in defense last year. That D was not good. Ozzie reloaded and I think they'll return to top 5-8 this season.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) May 2, 2013
Newsome has done it again.
Sure, he hasn't struck gold with every personnel decision he's made, but he seemingly never panics, isn't swayed by media or fan opinion and isn't afraid to let popular players bolt for more money.
Also, he's been a drafting marvel.
Crabcakes and Ozzie Newsome's astute football decisions.
That's what Baltimore, Maryland does.
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