The case for the Ravens to trade up in the first round

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Why trading up in the first round is more likely than trading back in the 2014 draft.

With one of the deepest drafts in recent memory and with so much talk about the Ravens trading back, we will look into why the latter isn't a good idea.

Ozzie Newsome is very good at what he does, which is to evaluate talent and get the best value at every stop. It is a testament to the job in that the Ravens are most often poached for top talent at the start of free agency. This offseason alone, the Ravens have lost Arthur Jones, James Ihedigbo, Corey Graham, Michael Oher and Jameel McClain.

With so much depth in this year's draft, it would be obvious to trade the Ravens' 17th pick in order to gain additional picks in the third, fourth or fifth rounds.

Then again, what would you expect others to do in the early to mid first round? Teams like the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and others ahead of the Ravens on draft day all need multiple holes filled with solid talent. Continuously taking a top 10 pick every year is great, but the draft is anything but certain. Taking one player so high when you could get two a little lower gives teams more chances to fill their rosters with starting caliber players, something they desperately need more of.

Mike Mayok, general draft expert has been quoted as saying:

From my perspective, this is the deepest and best draft class I’ve seen in probably ten years. That’s been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts I’ve talked to throughout the league. I had one GM tell me the other day that having a Top-20 pick this year is very similar to having a Top-10 pick last year.

With the Ravens entering the draft with few holes for starting players and mostly seeking depth, they don't have as big of a need to trade back and pick up more draft picks. Combine that with so many teams looking to trade back and the value simply isn't there for draft picks like in previous years.

Trading from 17th to 10th would normally rate as a 350 point jump (12th - 1300pts / 17th - 950pts), which would be worth a low second-round pick or a package of picks to equal that trade value. In this year, expect that trade value and the cost to be significantly lower. With so many teams seeking trade backs, there will be enough opportunity to actually trade up with extreme value.

Take the move from 17th to 10th that I just mentioned. The Ravens would have normally have to trade their third-round pick from this year and a fourth next year. That is typically not a move that Newsome would make unless there was a top talent at a huge need, like the organization has done before for quarterbacks.

However, with the lessened value of the picks, the Ravens could get away with the trade only needing 175-200 points, meaning that Newsome would only need to trade the early third-round pick (79th overall) to make a move into the top 10.

Moving into the top 10 gives the Ravens all sorts of choices depending on how the draft goes up until that point. There is a possibility of Anthony Barr, Mike Evans; even No. 1-rated wide receiver Sammy Watkins could be available at that spot. While no team ever knows how a drafted player will pan out, you can be pretty assured that with Newsome's history with a top 10 pick, the Ravens would get one of the best players in the draft this year at a great value.

While it is never a definite that the Ravens move at all, the chances of moving forward in the 2014 NFL draft seems to be just as likely as the chances that they move back. This draft, unlike most others, promises to be interesting on a lot of levels.

Who would you expect to be at the 10th pick if the Ravens could move up?

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