Twice in the last three years, the Baltimore Ravens have traded out of the first round of the NFL Draft. They did so to accumulate additional picks and in their mind, they felt they still got first round talent in both Sergio Kindle (2010) and Courtney Upshaw (2012). We all know the horror story that was known as Kindle and while the jury is still out on Upshaw, he appears on his way to being a productive starter if not even better.
Of the other five years the Ravens have drafted a pick in the first round since 2008, three of the players have gone onto stellar careers so far. Haloti Ngata (2006) is a three-time Pro Bowl player at defensive tackle. Guard Ben Grubbs, before he bolted last year to the New Orleans Saints in free agency, earned a Pro Bowl nod, and all 2008 first round pick, QB Joe Flacco, has done is win the 2008 Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year as well as being named Super Bowl XLVII MVP earlier this month.
The Ravens will have a lot of holes to fill when April's draft rolls around. They should know which free agent veteran has left and may have signed a few to add to the roster. Retirement decisions may or may not have been made, further complicating the issue.
Trading back for more picks seems like a logical decision, but then again, what if one of the players GM Ozzie Newsome, his front office staff and coaches, see a player dropping towards them at the bottom of the first round? Would they consider trading up?
They could also stay right where they are and either take the Best Player Available (BPA), as they have always said they look for. The BPA term is one of the most overused related to the draft, as it usually means, the best player available based on what we need.
The last two players the Ravens have taken in the first round are either starters or on the verge of being one. Michael Oher (2009) has had an interesting career, but now it seems that he is firmly entrenched at right tackle (or is he?). CB Jimmy Smith started off strong but his abdominal injury hampered him in 2012 although his "non-hold" on the final defensive play of Super Bowl 47 helped seal the victory.
The expectation that CB Cary Williams will sign a lucrative deal elsewhere could possible elevate Smith into a starting position in 2013, but regardless, he will see a lot more action next season.
The Ravens have proved that they will do whatever they have to in order to get the player or players they covet in the draft. No one, not even the Ravens know what they will do until the previous 31 picks ahead of them unfold one-by-one. The level of confidence here in Baltimore is at an all-time high, as they are known around the NFL as among the best of finding those late first-round and even late-round picks that help make this team perennial contenders.