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Originally published Friday, April 26, 2013 at 8:11 PM

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Ravens select LB Brown, DT Williams in NFL draft

The Baltimore Ravens had a singular focus during the first two nights of the NFL draft.

AP Sports Writer

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. —

The Baltimore Ravens had a singular focus during the first two nights of the NFL draft.

Beefing up their defense.

After taking safety Matt Elam in the opening round, the Super Bowl champions moved up in the second round to snag Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown on Friday night. Then, in the third round, Baltimore selected 335-pound nose tackle Brandon Williams of Missouri Southern State.

Soon after the Ravens beat San Francisco 34-31 in the Super Bowl, owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh discussed the team's most pressing need.

"We talked about getting stronger up the middle," Newsome said. "Over the past two days, the picks have definitely addressed the middle of our defense."

Coach John Harbaugh added, "We have really bolstered our front seven, big time."

The Ravens showed patience in getting Elam with the 32nd overall pick. In the second round, however, they couldn't wait to get their hands on Brown.

Uncertain if Brown would still be available at 62nd overall, Newsome worked a deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Baltimore obtained the Seahawks' pick at No. 56 overall, and Seattle took the Ravens' second-rounder, along with their fifth and sixth-round picks.

And that's how Brown became a member of the Super Bowl champions.

"He's a guy we coveted, a guy who's one of the best inside linebackers in the draft," Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "We think he's a four-down linebacker who can play in passing situation, play the run and on special teams."

The Ravens had a void in the middle after Ray Lewis retired and Dannell Ellerbe signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins. When Brown slipped past the midpoint of the second round, Baltimore reacted.

"He was definitely consideration for us in the first round, there's no doubt about that," DeCosta said. "Fortunately, we have some compensatory picks, which allowed us to deal a couple picks later in the draft to go up and get him. We started to sweat a little bit as we started to see some good players come off the board, and the idea of not getting him was pretty scary. So we decided to make the move."

Baltimore entered the draft with 12 picks, including four compensatory picks in the fourth-seventh rounds that can't be traded. But the Ravens were happy to give up their own picks at 165 and 199 overall to land the 6-foot, 242-pound Brown.

Brown, a captain for two seasons at Kansas State after transferring from Miami, became the first player in 10 seasons to lead the Wildcats with at least 100 tackles in successive seasons. Last season had 100 tackles, recovered a fumble, deflected four passes and had two interceptions.

Brown will compete for a starting job as soon as he begins practice.

"We have some pretty good linebackers, guys who have played a lot of football, but Arthur is a motivated guy," DeCosta said. "I think he's a mature player, a very talented player."

Brown's arrival comes at a time when the Ravens won't be counting on Lewis in the middle of the defense for the first time in 18 years.

"It's an opportunity to play a great role in the defense scheme, like Ray did," Brown said.

Williams will compete with Terrence Cody for the starting job in the middle of the line. Although Williams played at a small school, he impressed the Ravens by holding his own in the Senior Bowl.

"He's smart, he's tough," Harbaugh said. "For a big man, he's really an athletic guy. So we're excited to have him."

On the final day of the draft Saturday, the Ravens have seven picks available.

"We hope to draft an offensive player at some point," DeCosta said with a grin. "I think (offensive coordinator) Jim Caldwell would really like that."

Earlier Friday, the Ravens introduced Elam in a news conference. Elam, who starred for three seasons at the University of Florida, was disappointed to see safeties Kenny Vaccaro and Eric Reid taken ahead of him but intends to use that as motivation.

"That gave me a chip on my shoulder, seeing those two safeties go ahead of me," Elam said. "But then again, I'm happy they went ahead of me, because I got an opportunity to play for the world champs."

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Elam played strong safety in his final 26 starts with the Gators, but he will be given the opportunity in Baltimore to take over for free safety Ed Reed, who left for Houston during the offseason.

"It's no secret with Ed leaving we lost a very, very great Hall of Fame player," Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "We need somebody to come in and fight for that spot."

Elam might be asked to replace strong safety Bernard Pollard, who was released in March.

"Nobody has specific, `You're a strong safety, you're a free safety, you're this,'" Pees said. "You're a safety, so you need to know both. He needs to know nickel, he needs to know a lot of things on defense to see where he ends up fitting."

Other safeties in the mix include free agent addition Michael Huff and James Ihedigbio, who started three games in place of Pollard last season.

Elam should fit right in with the Ravens defense, which has long had a reputation for being rugged and physical.

"He is a violent tackler," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "He has really good explosion in a short area. He can really snap his hips in a short area, so he's a guy that is a good box safety. He can also play with range in the middle of the field."

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