The offense vs. defense first-round debate

I can't say that I made the trek down to Thackerville, Okla. over the weekend to watch Tom Zbikowski's latest boxing match.

Well, I could, but I'd be lying.

Anyway, even though the location of his fourth professional fight didn't exactly live up to the first three - New York City's Madison Square Garden, Las Vegas and Atlantic City - Zbikowski still took care of business.

He knocked out Blake Warner just 2:20 into the first round after drilling his opponent with a sequence of uppercuts to the face. With Warner still on the canvas, Zbikowski capped off the win by bowing toward all four sections of the arena.

Here's video of the bout, complete with some sweet Spanish commentary.


Zbikowski is now 4-0 with three TKOs in his pro boxing career. He's currently scheduled for two more matches - one in late-May and one in early-June.

Meanwhile, switching gears towards the draft, there have been some questions recently about whether the Ravens should be looking toward the offensive or defensive sides of the ball with their first-round pick.

Some believe that GM Ozzie Newsome should be focused on adding young playmakers to his defensive unit, which is aging a bit. With the NFL clock on guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed starting to tick away, one line of thinking is that the Ravens would be wise to infuse some top rookie talent to that unit.

Others believe that the offense still is in need of a top impact player at wide receiver or on the offensive line, and still others are of the mind that offense/defense shouldn't weigh into the decision at all.

Where do the Ravens lean on this topic?

"We look for players that we think can come in and contribute to our football team," Newsome said. "Do we go in thinking that it's definitely going to be an offensive player or a defensive player? No, we don't. We just want to get good football players, because if you get a good football player, like coach [Harbaugh] said, they'll find a way to get him on the field and let him be a productive player."

With that said, director of player personnel Eric DeCosta admits that the makeup of both the offensive and defensive units is in his mind as he prepares for the draft, and says that it does play somewhat of a factor in the decision.

"I think you look at that," DeCosta said. "You have to look at your team, and you can't draft players in a vacuum. You have to look at the organization, you have to look at free agency, you have to look at your unrestricted free agents - you have to consider everything. So, yeah, you look at that to a degree. Now, you're not going to let it affect you, per se, and you're not going to pigeon-hole yourself into saying, 'We're going to draft a defensive lineman with the first pick,' because then you set yourself up for failure.

"But I think you want to balance this team. You want to try to create a team of balance, where you have a pretty close (mix). You want the young players, you want the veteran players, Pro Bowl players ... on offense, on defense. You want a balanced team, and really, that's one of our biggest goals."

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