OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- For 21 years, general manager Ozzie Newsome has usually been the one to call college players to inform them they've been drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.
On Saturday, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta suggested a change in tradition in the early part of the sixth round.
When the Ravens made the call to Navy's Keenan Reynolds, team officials put it on speaker phone so the entire draft room could share in the moment.
"We appreciate what he's done," DeCosta said. "He's just a special kid. I wanted to experience that [moment]."
Team officials built a connection to Reynolds, who set the FBS record with 88 career touchdowns but didn't receive an invitation for the Heisman Trophy announcement or the NFL scouting combine. The Ravens acknowledged they kept their interest in Reynolds quiet so other teams wouldn't know how much they liked him.
Reynolds, who played his college games 30 miles from M&T Bank Stadium, got a clue about what was going to happen late Saturday afternoon when he got a call from a number with a Maryland area code and the Ravens were on the clock. Newsome then shared the big news.
"I can't put into words what happened after that," Newsome said.
It was such an emotional moment that many in the Ravens' draft room had tears in their eyes.
"Including one who owns the team," coach John Harbaugh said.
Reynolds expressed how honored he was to get drafted.
"It's a dream come true," Reynolds told the Ravens during the call. "You won't regret this pick."
The Ravens are asking Reynolds to make the transition from a triple-option college quarterback to a slot receiver and returner in the NFL. He caught the eye of Newsome and DeCosta with his burst, acceleration and shiftiness at the East-West Shrine Game in January, and the Ravens asked Reynolds to field punts at the team's local pro day in early April.
Baltimore continued to keep close tabs on him. Reynolds has been working with former All-Pro returner Brian Mitchell to get better at fielding kicks, and Harbaugh called Mitchell on Saturday morning to get an update on Reynolds. Mitchell played under Harbaugh for three seasons in Philadelphia.
Then, with the 182nd pick, the Ravens drafted their first player from a service academy.
"We're just lucky that we got him and we got him in a good spot," DeCosta said. "He's going to come in here and hopefully become a slot receiver and become one of the best punt returners in the NFL."