My story: How Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome and his scouts find passionate players and fill the team with them

Ravens OLB Courtney Upshaw listens to questions during a media session following rookie mini-camp/AP

I arrived in Owings Mills, Md., with a simple goal for my impending story. Understand why the Ravens select the players they do in the draft. I came away with a lot more than that.

After an insightful conversation with ultra-respected GM Ozzie Newsome, I think I get it. I think I understand why they are always competitive and why their players look like they’d play for free.

The Ravens scout passion. As Newsome told me, while watching tape they take their eye off the ball and watch how players move when they are not involved in a play — and they learn whether a guy is going through the motions or just lives it. For those with supreme passion, they can compromise on height-weight-speed standards.

Oh, and they hope OLB Courtney Upshaw is next in a long line of intense, violent Ravens players. He’ll help replace injured Terrell Suggs, and his “nastiness,” as Newsome called it, will come in handy. I also learned why drafting Ray Lewis signified a major change in their style and how his style can pervade a team.

Check out my story on NFL.com looking at the draft philosophy of the Ravens.

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