Ravens may go in motion with No. 10 pick in draft

Team trading up or down believed to be possibility

Nfl Draft

April 25, 2003|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

If NFL history repeats itself, the Ravens will select Washington State cornerback Marcus Trufant with their first pick. If a new chapter unfolds, the Ravens could be on the move in tomorrow's draft.

Looking back at past drafts, there is a strong connection between cornerbacks and the No. 10 pick, with the Ravens choosing two at that spot - Duane Starks and Chris McAlister - in the previous five years.

But instead of going by the book this year, the Ravens may be looking to the Jimmy Johnson chart. The grading system, which is named after the former wheeling and dealing Dallas Cowboys coach, assigns a point value for every pick and helps teams determine whether trading one high pick for multiple lower choices is equitable or not.

It is believed the Ravens are considering trading up as high as the fifth pick and trading down no lower than the 20th spot - both of which carry implications at the quarterback position. Team officials have talked with four teams about moving up - presumably the Chicago Bears (fourth pick), the Cowboys (fifth), Arizona Cardinals (sixth) and Minnesota Vikings (seventh) - and the eight teams behind them about sliding down.

In their seven drafts, the Ravens have never traded up or down in the first round by way of a draft-day deal.

"Our track record has shown that we're not a team that aggressively moves up or down," player personnel director Phil Savage said. "But that's like saying we lost seven games in a row, so we're going to lose the eighth time. You just can't go by that."

If the Ravens want Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich, they'll likely have to trade up in front of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have the eighth pick.

To jump to the No. 5 slot, the Ravens will probably have to give up their first- and second-round picks. To move to the seventh spot, they might only have to give up a pick in the first and third rounds along with choice toward the end of the draft.

"If there is somebody there we feel strongly enough that we would move, I think we would consider doing it," Savage said.

Trading up could cause a chain reaction.

In a situation where they would lose a third-round pick to move up, the Ravens would probably try to move down in the second or package other picks to regain another choice in the third.

"That's the way we operate," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "Every time you move up, you try to recoup the picks back."

If Leftwich is taken before No. 10, the Ravens also would be open to dropping down in the first round because they could acquire an extra draft choice and still draft a quarterback of the future in California's Kyle Boller. The team isn't interested in taking Boller with the 10th pick because he isn't rated in its top 10.

The New England Patriots (14th and 19th picks), New York Jets (13th and 22nd) and Kansas City Chiefs (16th) are all potential trading partners since they're all looking to move up to take a defensive lineman. Trufant, who wouldn't fill an immediate need for the Ravens, could be an incentive for the St. Louis Rams (12th), New Orleans Saints (17th and 18th) and Denver Broncos (20th) to trade up.

Barring any teams in the bottom third of the draft trading up, the Ravens could fall to as low as 20 and have a shot at Boller. Outside of the top 10, the next teams looking for a young quarterback are the San Francisco 49ers (26th), Pittsburgh Steelers (27th) and Green Bay Packers (29th).

"It's conceivable we could move back," Savage said. "The question for us and the league: Is there somebody there that's going to be coveted enough for other teams to be interested in making a trade?"

For every notch the Ravens are willing to trade down, the higher the additional draft picks in return.

Moving down to the 12th or 13th spots would probably mean an extra pick in the third or fourth round. But sliding to 15th, 16th or 17th slots would likely produce an additional choice in the second round.

"Obviously, it's common sense," director of college scouting Eric DeCosta said. "The more picks you have, the better chance you have of hitting on a player."

Despite all the talk about trading up or down, the odds are against draft-day deals. The Ravens estimated that only 10 percent of trades discussed actually get completed.

"We'll see who comes off the board as this thing begins to unfold and we're prepared to pick at 10," DeCosta said. "We feel like we have several viable candidates for the 10th spot. We're also prepared to move up and move back if we think we can get outstanding value."

Ten years of No. 10 picks

A look at the recent history of the 10th pick in the NFL draft:

Year Player Pos. Drafted by Now with Jamison Hensley's skinny

1993 Jerome Bettis RB Rams Steelers 10th-leading rusher in NFL history

1994 Jamir Miller LB Cardinals Free agent Had 31 sacks from 1997 to 2001

1995 J.J. Stokes WR 49ers 49ers Uunderachiever may be cut in June

1996 Willie Anderson OT Bengals Bengals A constant in productive run attack

1997 Chris Naeole G Saints Jaguars Starter has been durable, inconsistent

1998 Duane Starks CB Ravens Cardinals Has averaged 4.4 INTs and 51 tackles

1999 Chris McAlister CB Ravens Ravens Starter, potential Pro Bowl talent

2000 Travis Taylor WR Ravens Ravens Averaged 44 catches over three seasons

2001 Jamal Reynolds DE Packers Packers Just three sacks and no games started

2002 Levi Jones OT Bengals Bengals Started at LT as rookie last season

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