With 10 picks, Ravens might treat NFL draft as swap-meet
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — With plenty of picks and no shortage of positional needs, Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome expects to be feverishly working the phone during the NFL draft.
The Ravens have 10 selections in the draft, which runs from April 30 through May 2. After losing several key contributors during the offseason, Newsome intends to fill some of those holes in the weeks ahead.
Baltimore has the 26th overall pick and one selection in both the second and third rounds. They also have three picks apiece in the fourth and fifth rounds, and one more in the sixth round.
Only four of those selections were originally assigned to the Ravens. They got a No. 3 and a No. 4 in the deal last month that sent Haloti Ngata to Detroit, picked up three compensatory picks and netted that sixth-rounder by trading linebacker Rolando McClain to the Cowboys.
The abundance of draft choices has provided Newsome with bargaining chips in his pursuit of a wide receiver to replace the departed Torrey Smith, a defensive lineman to step in for Ngata, a cornerback to fortify a thin group and a running back to back up Justin Forsett.
“What we’ll do is value the board,” Newsome said Wednesday. “We’ll watch it very closely, and as we get close to our pick, if it’s somebody we really covet, we’ll go and get him. If not, we’ll just value the guys that are available to us.”
Newsome traded draft picks to move up in the first round to get quarterback Kyle Boller in 2003, Ngata in 2006, quarterback Joe Flacco in 2008 and, most recently, offensive tackle Michael Oher in 2009.
“We had multiple picks in those years, just as we do this year,” Newsome noted.
Could another such trade occur this month? It depends solely on what happens before the Ravens are on the clock.
“As we start to get close to our pick, do we have three or four players that we really like? If they’re comparable as far as talent is concerned, there is not a reason for us to move up because we feel like we’ll probably get one of these players without giving up a pick,” Newsome said. “We don’t like giving up a pick.”
But if doing so can assure the Ravens of getting their man, then Newsome won’t hesitate.
“With Michael Oher, we needed a tackle and Michael was coming down the board,” Newsome said. “That’s why we did it for Flacco. We needed a quarterback. That’s why we did it for Boller.”
This will be Newsome’s 20th draft with the Ravens. Since selecting offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and linebacker Ray Lewis in the first round of the 1996 draft, the “Wizard of Oz” has proven many times over that few general managers are more productive when on the clock.
Moving up to get Flacco seven years ago was a signature move. Flacco took the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory and has never missed a start.
“It’s hard to win in this league without a quarterback,” Newsome said. “There’s at least a quarter, maybe half the league that’s looking for a quarterback right now to help their franchise. We got fortunate in Joe.”
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