Seattle swap may change Ravens' plan Seahawks get to No. 3

Modell may get player he wants with 4th pick

Defender still a priority

If Boulware available, trade down unlikely

March 29, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

A trade of draft picks between the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons yesterday may have altered the strategy of the Ravens, who have the No. 4 pick overall, team owner Art Modell said.

Seattle, after trade talks failed with the Ravens nearly two weeks ago, ended up with the Falcons' first-round pick, No. 3 overall, in return for its first-round pick, the 11th overall, and the Seahawks' picks in the second, third and fourth rounds.

The Seahawks, who also got Atlanta's third-round pick in the deal, now have the first round's third and 12th selections. They got the 11th pick from the Chicago Bears in the trade for quarterback Rick Mirer.

"We spoke with Seattle, but what they offered us was an outrage, and we dropped them like a hot potato," said Modell, vacationing with his family in Florida. "We expect a lot of jockeying once the draft gets near, and when something like this happens, it triggers a lot of other things. We now have some things to consider."

Before yesterday's trade, speculation was that the New York Jets would take either Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace or Southern California defensive tackle Darrell Russell. There was a lot of uncertainty about New Orleans, which has the No. 2 pick, and the Falcons at No. 3. But with Seattle now picking third,the consensus is that the Seahawks want Ohio State cornerback Shawn Springs.

"It's obvious Seattle wants a corner, and they'll probably take Springs," said Modell. "So, if the Jets take Russell No. 1 and Pace goes No. 2 and Seattle takes Springs third, then we might stay at No. 4 if we can get a dominating defensive player."

The Ravens previously had talked about trading down for financial reasons, because the No. 4 slot would require a large signing bonus, and the Ravens could use that money to sign several players instead of one.

The Ravens also were backing away from the No. 4 position, because the odds were against Florida State defensive end Peter Boulware or Russell being available by the time the Ravens picked.

But now the Ravens might be able to fulfill their top priority in the draft, signing a strong pass rusher.

"I'm not saying it's Peter Boulware, but he is in a group of players we consider [to be] dominating," said Modell.

The Ravens had been talking with Seattle about swapping for the Seahawks' No. 11 pick in the first round, plus two second-rounders. The Ravens are still in contact with the Oakland Raiders, who wanted to occupy the No. 4 position and then trade it with defensive tackle Chester McGlockton to the Jets to draft Pace.

But a league source said the Raiders have cooled on Pace, although they still might work a deal with the Ravens to draft Florida State offensive tackle Walter Jones with the No. 4 pick. The source also said McGlockton may be thrown in at the last minute to persuade the Ravens, providing Oakland can sign Indianapolis Colts free-agent defensive tackle Tony Siragusa.

"A number of teams have contacted us about the No. 4 position, and we'll continue to weigh our options," said Modell.

In another development, Modell said there is a slight possibility the team could sign Arizona free-agent defensive end Michael Bankston, as well as re-sign defensive end Anthony Pleasant.

The Ravens were involved in negotiations with both players yesterday morning. Bankston has played both end and defensive tackle. The Ravens will have to explore a number of options to sign both players; one might be to waive defensive tackle Dan Footman. The Ravens have tried unsuccessfully to trade Footman for a couple months. He is expected to make $1.7 million this season.

"There is that possibility that we could sign both, but I don't know if we have the luxury to do that," said Modell. "A decision will be reached soon on both the players, probably by the middle of next week."

The Ravens also have made an offer to Seattle safety Robert Blackmon. The team plans to sign either Blackmon or Dallas Cowboys safety Brock Marion.

NFL draft order

+ Selections for April draft:

Pick, Team

1., Jets

2., Saints

3., a-Seahawks

4., Ravens

5., Lions

6., Rams

7., Giants

8., Bucs

9., x-Cards

10,. x-Raiders

11,. b-Falcons

12,. Seahawks

13,. Oilers

14,. Bengals

15., Dolphins

16., c-Bucs

17., Redskins

18., Chiefs

19., Colts

20., Vikings

21., Jaguars

22., Eagles

23., Bills

24., Steelers

25., Cowboys

26., 49ers

27., Panthers

28., Broncos

29., Patriots

30., Packers

a-from Falcons; b-from Seahawks through Bears; c-from Chargers; x-to be determined by coin flip.

Pub Date: 3/29/97

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