If the Ravens do nothing and stay at 29, no matter what other teams do, there will only be 28 players selected ahead of the Ravens. On these boards and various other blogs, I have seen about fifty guys mentioned as "no way they fall past 25" or "this guy is a top 20…". So I took a look at the prospects and tried to come up the 28 who I believe are most likely going to be gone. They are, in a somewhat logical order:
· J. Martin (OT)
· Chandler Jones
Obviously there could be all sorts of trades, but I think these will be the 28 that go. So, what is left? In no particular order: Wright, Konz, Curry, Poe, Brookers, Worthy, Still, Kendricks, Zack Brown, R. Lewis, Harrison Smith.
I think Still, Zack Brown and R. Lewis are second round talent. So that leaves eight: Poe, Kendricks, Brookers, Harrison Smith, R. Lewis, Curry, Wright and Konz. Of these eight, I am going to guess that the Ravens have Kendricks and Brookers rated the highest; maybe Curry and Poe also. So, would Kendricks or Brookers be worthy of a first round pick? Could they contribute their rookie season and then either start or be heavily rotated by their second year? I have to say, I do not go "Ohh!" and "Ahh!" with either Kendricks or Brookers as a first round pick. I do not do that with any of the other six either… But, I was not exactly thrilled with the Todd Heap pick, but we all know how that turned out…
Let’s talk trades. Overall for this draft I think there are some serious studs up near the top, which the Ravens are not in the running for. And then I think the talent is fair to midland from there down through the third round. After that, I think the pickings get real slim real fast. The Ravens have a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 6th and 7th round picks. They cannot trade their fourth or second fifth. I think given the overall talent in the draft, I think the Ravens draft 4 or 5 players max.
Trading up. Most of us probably believe the Ravens would be willing to trade up for Hightower or Hill, maybe Randle or Glenn. Possibly a Chandler Jones, if he falls. But for simplicity let us focus on Hill and Hightower. If we assume that Pittsburgh is drafting Hightower, and we really want Hightower, who do we trade with? The Lions seem like a logical partner as they are one step ahead of Pittsburgh. Would the lions be willing to move six spots and risk losing a player they really want? That said, I think if the Lions agree at all, it would cost us our first and third. Seems steep for Hightower, but if Ozzie *really* likes the ‘bama ‘backer, that is going to be the price.
Moving up for Hill or Randle is crazier. I think Chicago at 19 will select Hill and Cleveland at 22 will select Randle. To get Hill, we would need to convince San Diego at 18 to move down eleven slots –that is going to cost a lot. To get Randle, if Ozzie wants him, means moving ahead of the Browns. The Bengals are directly ahead of the Browns and since they are our intra-divisional rival, they are going to ask an outrageous price to slide down seven spots which leaves the Titans at 20. Moving up nine slots is going to cost almost as much as moving up eleven. So in my mind, Ozzie would have to grade Hill/Randle out extremely high to go up and get either.
The problem is, with the way the order is this year, there is really no point in moving up 1 to 4 slots as we would still be behind Pittsburgh and are we going to pay a premium to move ahead of the Packers, Patriots or Texans? Maybe we move ahead of the Texans if a WR we like drops. And because of where the Browns and Bengals picks are, and the fact, like I said before, they are our intra-divisional rivals; they are going to ask for a king’s ransom to slide down. This means we would have to move higher than necessary, which costs more.
I stated above that I believe, given the depth of talent in this year’s draft, the Ravens will draft at most 4 or 5 players. So I see one of two things happening: either we move up in the first to get Hill, Hightower or Randle and with the rest of our tradeable scraps, end up with a 2nd or 3rd (not necessarily our original 2nd or 3rd), and our 4th and 5th comp picks.
If we trade down, I think we will end up with an improved 2nd, and improved 3rd, one other 2nd or 3rd, and our 4th and 5th comps. In this trade down scenario, I could see the Ravens targeting the Poe, R. Lewis, Still, Worthy, Zack Brown, Konz, Curry, Harrison Smith, et al of the world in the second and third rounds. Three of these guys, at 2nd and 3rd round prices/value, would be a rather nice haul.
One last "dream a little dream" thought: I listed 28 players above and that if any of them dropped, I think that would be a nice little early Christmas present. My dream scenario is that somebody else drafts Konz which a) pushes somebody else down and b) we do not have to draft him-! I really do not want Konz sitting there when we pick at 29 as I personally, even though the consensus says first round, do not believe he is a first round talent. In addition, I would love it if Pittsburgh picked Poe. If Poe was sitting there for us, I know BPA and all, but do we really spend our first round pick on essentially Cody’s backup? And if Poe beat Cody out for the starting position, do we really relegate Cody to backup? The potential dark horse wildcard scenario in this is if Pees decides to start to transition to a post-Ray Lewis defense that is more of a true 4 – 3. Then I could see drafting Poe as having Cody and Poe in the middle, with Ngata as one DE and some combination of Kruger/McPhee as the other DE. With Ray-Ray now being part of a rotation as the MIKE (I know, blasphemy! But it is going to happen sooner rather than later).
Further, there is always at least one wildcard pick from out of the blue that some team does and everybody kind of scratches their heads. So if Poe is drafted or Konz, and/or a wild card that means maybe a Jeffery, a Hightower, a Glenn, or an Upshaw may fall to us. I would be much happier with one of these if we have to draft at 29.
I do not see us keeping our 6th and 7th unless nobody is willing to make a reasonable deal with us. I would be mildly surprised if we walk away with six picks and shocked if we end up with seven or eight. If we were to draft more than five, I think candidates for the late last pick would be Burfict or a returner.