The Baltimore Ravens are set to pick in the 29th position of tonight's 2012 NFL Draft. However, what happens in the picks prior to them will go a long way to determining what they will actually do with the pick. some people think they will stand pat, while others are looking for them to either trade up or back, depending on how the first round unfolds in front of them.
After careful consideration, here's what this writer sees the Ravens doing early in the draft. The Ravens covet their picks and are unwilling to trade them unless they see a highly valued prospect falling towards their direction. They've proved that they are not afraid to trade up as they did in 2008 (Joe Flacco) and 2009 (Michael Oher) or even trade back as they did in 2010 (Sergio Kindle).
However, there might not be a chance to trade up to get the guys they might covet, such as Alabama teammates, OLB Courtney Upshaw and ILB Dont'a Hightower. If they stand pat at #29, the value left for their pickings could be slim in terms of selecting someone, be it "best player available" or a position of need at that slot.
(Check out what the Ravens could do with their pick after the 'Jump' utilizing the "Trade Value Chart" that teams use to determine draft position value in making draft day trades)
Therefore, there should be trading partners aplenty who would be willing to give up an early second round pick as well as a fourth if not a third rounder, depending on where they trade back to. If they do decide to trade back, the probable dance partners I would be looking at would be either the Indianapolis Colts or the St. Louis Rams.
According to the trade value chart, the Ravens could trade their first round pick (#29) to Indianapolis for the Colts' 2nd round pick (#34) as well as their 4th rounder (#98). They could also consider trading that 29th pick to St. Louis for the Rams 2nd round selection (#33) as well as their 4th rounder (#97). Both options are relatively the same, give or take one spot in the draft order in both the 2nd and 4th rounds.
However, another option would be to trade that first round spot to the Rams, who also have a second 2nd round pick (#39) and also get back the Rams 3rd round pick (#65) in return for not only the Ravens first round spot, but their third round pick (#91). The net change would be to drop back 10 spots from the first-to-second rounds in return for moving up 26 spots in the third round.
This would give the Ravens the probability of getting one of the guys they would have targeted to expect at the 29th slot and add a player they would have probably have had little chance of getting at the end of the third round. An example would be that they could take a center (Peter Konz) or guard (Kevin Zeitler) early in the second round, a WR in their original spot late in the second round and then an ILB such as Utah State's Bobby Wagner at the top of the third round.
Just one man's opinion on what the Ravens can do to maximize their value in the 2012 NFL Draft.