Warrick rumors tantalize Ravens

Junior wide receiver not committed to draft

May 11, 1999|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Since they are not exactly well-stocked at the position, the Ravens could use a wide receiver like Peter Warrick. But even if the Florida State junior makes himself eligible for the NFL's supplemental draft, the Ravens stand a slim chance of landing the Seminoles star.

Rumors began circulating recently that Warrick, whom league sources say would have been a top 10 pick in the April 17 draft, was considering entering the supplemental draft in mid-July. Warrick has since reiterated to reporters in Tallahassee that he will remain at Florida State to play his senior season.

"The rumors are flapping around. You don't know how real they are," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "I'll believe it when I see it. But [if Warrick enters the draft], he's one you would have to consider."

Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, said, "If there is any player out there we believe would help us, we would utilize the supplemental draft. I would not even think of looking at [Warrick] yet, because the guy has committed himself to playing this fall at Florida State, and I respect Florida State and the NCAA."

Warrick, 6 feet, 190 pounds, led Florida State with 61 receptions for 1,232 yards and 12 touchdowns, all team highs. He averaged 20.2 yards per catch. In addition, he rushed 13 times for 85 yards and another score.

Should Warrick change his mind and enter the draft -- and he would forfeit his NCAA eligibility by signing with an agent -- the Ravens would have to clear major hurdles to obtain him.

Teams that participate in the supplemental draft are actually playing with next year's draft picks. The Ravens, who, as they did in April, would pick in the 10th position in July, probably would part with next year's first-round pick (they also own Atlanta's first-round choice in 2000) to try to get Warrick.

Most teams interested in Warrick figure to view him as worth the same price. Ultimately, the Ravens would have to overcome a supplemental draft lottery to get their man. Under a lottery format, teams picking the earliest would have a decided advantage.

For example, the Cleveland Browns, who drafted first among the league's 31 teams last month, would have 31 chances to win the lottery, while the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos would have one lottery tag in the hat. The Broncos picked last in the first round in April.

The Ravens, at No. 10, would have 22 chances.

Newsome said the Ravens and many other NFL teams looked at Warrick in a scheduled workout for juniors earlier this year. Once Warrick declined to join the April draft, Newsome said there was no need to study him further. That would change quickly if Warrick had a change of heart about playing in the NFL in 1999.

"For me to waste energy on this now, it's just not needed," Newsome said. "I'll just wait to see if [Warrick] notifies the league [that he's skipping his senior year]. There's no need to get excited about this until that happens."

The Ravens indirectly have a supplemental draft history of note. In 1985, as the old Cleveland Browns, they selected University of Miami quarterback Bernie Kosar that way.

NOTES: The Ravens have made a contract offer to free-agent safety Corey Harris, who played here last year. Harris averaged 27.6 yards per kickoff return and returned one 95 yards for a touchdown. "It's up to him when he wants to take it. It's in his court," Newsome said. The Ravens coaching staff will conduct a clinic for the state's high school and college coaches on Saturday at Gilman. Nearly 400 coaches are expected to attend. Ravens running back Ben Snell rushed nine times for 45 yards to help the Scottish Claymores beat Barcelona, 31-21, last week in NFL Europe League action. Ravens cornerback John Williams, who plays for the Berlin Thunder, had three tackles and two special teams tackles in Berlin's 49-23 loss to Amsterdam.

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