Seeing opening, Ravens deal fast to land Weaver

Trading up with 'Skins enables team to select Irish defensive lineman

NFL Draft

April 21, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

They had a chance to get a player they wanted, so the Ravens pounced.

The team traded with the Washington Redskins up four spots to the 52nd pick in the second round of yesterday's NFL draft to select Notre Dame defensive lineman Anthony Weaver, a player who will likely be a starter.

Washington received the Ravens' 56th pick in the second round, 87th pick in the third round and 159th pick in the fifth round. The Ravens received Washington's 96th pick in the third round to go with the second-round selection.

It was a small price to pay for a player the Ravens believe can make an impact.

"As we were sitting in the second round, there were a couple of players we had rated very high on our board," Ravens senior vice president of football operations Ozzie Newsome said.

"Part of the plan when we sat down yesterday and talked about what we would do - we said if [one of] five of our top players would be approaching our pick, we'd trade up to get one, and that's what we did with Anthony Weaver.

"What Anthony provides for us is a guy that played left end in the defense, but also the opportunity when we get into passing situations, a guy that can go down over the guard."

Weaver, projected by many mock drafts to go in the first round, may end up replacing Rob Burnett, a salary-cap casualty along with fellow defensive lineman Sam Adams.

With the Ravens switching to a 3-4 defense, Weaver has the size (6 feet 3, 300 pounds) to play inside or out.

"He had a spectacular Senior Bowl week down in Mobile," Newsome said. "I don't think there is a classier guy that I sat down and talked with than Anthony Weaver. He's another guy that will bring some class to this organization."

Weaver was a four-year starter for the Irish and was the team's Most Valuable Player last year. He finished third on the squad with 59 tackles and led the Irish with seven sacks.

Known for his quickness and fundamentals, he finished second on the school's career list with 42 stops behind the line of scrimmage.

"Anthony is a very classy individual, solid on and off the field," Ravens director of college scouting Phil Savage said. "The coaches at Notre Dame will tell you he was their best player and best person. We really didn't expect a defensive lineman to come that far down in the draft.

"We were willing to move up a few spots to get one of our players and, in all honesty, he was the only player left that we really liked. If he had gone, we probably would have been trying to go the other way."

Weaver, from his home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., said he was surprised he slid so far in the draft, but pleased he ended up with the Ravens.

He's the first Notre Dame player drafted by the Ravens.

"I want to get in and play," Weaver said. "It worked out for me. That was my goal from the beginning, to get out there and play. I haven't sat that bench my entire year, from high school, college or whatever. So I think it's a great fit."

As do the Ravens.

"Very similar, style-wise, to Rob Burnett," Savage said. "I even have in my report this is like a younger Rob Burnett."

The Ravens traded their third-round pick, 96th overall, to the Broncos for Denver's fourth-round pick, 112th overall and fifth-round pick, 155th overall.

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