NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (botom row R) poses for a photo on stage with the members of the 2011 Draft class and the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame class during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
When the Baltimore Ravens went on the clock to make the 26th pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, they had ten minutes to decide what to do. Would they stick in the slot and select their player or trade back to accumulate more picks? As the allotted time wound down, it appeared the Ravens were on the verge of making a trade with another NFL team. However, the time had run out and no decision seemed to have been made. The Ravens did not make their pick and there was no trade announced.
Shortly after Baltimore's ten minutes were up, the Kansas City Chiefs jumped in and handed in their pick, thereby becoming the 26th pick in the first round ahead of the Ravens. Almost immediately after that, the Baltimore Ravens made their selection, now the 27th pick of the first round, and by now you know they choose Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith
But what happened in those few precious moments when time seemed to stand still and all Ravens fans hung on the edge of the their seats?
Apparently, the team saw that there were a bunch of players available that the team would have been very satisfied to draft, and therefore were entertaining offers to trade back into either the later first round or even the second round, where they could still get one of the guys on their draft board and accumulate additional picks as well.
At the team's press conference late last night once the pick was made, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome noted that it was indeed a "long day." He said that head coach John Harbaugh was on the phone with Jimmy Smith while he was on the phone with "another team." Ozzie thought he had worked out a trade and called the NFL, but apparently, the other team did not, leaving the Ravens holding the phone while their allotted time ran out and the Chiefs jumped in front of them.
While the team declined to name the "other team," word was that the Chicago Bears backed out of the trade for unknown reasons. Newsome did say that he was talking to more than one team and had the Ravens dropped back a few slots (Chicago held the 29th pick) and Jimmy Smith was still there, the Ravens would have taken him.
Alas, that was not to be, but the Ravens still got that big, physical and fast cornerback to stick with the bigger wide receivers on opposing teams. However, along with his skills, Smith reportedly brings with him a bunch of baggage that questions his character.
Newsome, Harbaugh, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz acknowledge those concerns but felt that their interviews with Smith satisfied any concerns that might have preceded him. DeCosta said he was "very excited to get him," and "we got a great player." Harbaugh said the "coaching staff is very excited," adding, "he fits our defense and this guy makes us better."
The issues that led to the team being skipped in its slot ended up not only not affecting their initial choice, but it may actually save the team a bit of money as the 26th pick usually makes a bit more than the 27th pick in the draft. However, don't be too sure of that as right next to Smith in his home on TV during the draft sat super-agent and notorious tough negotiator, Drew Rosenhaus.
Either way, the Baltimore Ravens got the guy they had coveted all along. Friday evening will be the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the draft and the Ravens are sure to add more players to their team that will contribute in 2011, hopefully with a little less drama.