Ravens might shuffle hand

Sitting at No. 22, team could make a trade to get Oklahoma's Brown

Nfl Draft

April 23, 2005|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Draft history says a top prospect will fall to the Ravens in the first round.

But the Ravens could be in line for a different strategy today.

According to a league source, the Ravens have spoken with the Cincinnati Bengals about moving up in the first round to draft Oklahoma offensive tackle Jammal Brown.

If Brown is still available at the Bengals' No. 17 spot, the Ravens would seriously consider trading their first- and third-round picks (the 22nd and 84th overall selections) to grab their highest-rated lineman, the source said.

Trading up is likely the only way the Ravens will be able to take the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Brown. Because he is equally coveted by St. Louis, the Ravens would have to leapfrog over the Rams (No. 19 pick) to position themselves for this year's winner of the Outland Trophy (awarded to the nation's best lineman).

Known for his power and nasty streak, Brown would compete with Orlando Brown for the right tackle job.

Asked about the possibility of trading up or down in the first round, general manager Ozzie Newsome said yesterday, "The probability is more that we'll drop back, but there are some things that could happen that could afford us to go forward."

It is believed that the Bengals are looking to move down because they can still select one of their targeted players (Georgia linebacker Odell Thurman) further down in the first round in addition to acquiring more picks.

By the Ravens' estimation, they could trade up as high as No. 14 and move back as far as No. 30. So the Ravens might not have any pressing needs, but they have several options.

The only scenario in which the Ravens would make a dramatic leap in the first round is if either Southern California receiver Mike Williams or West Virginia cornerback Adam Jones unexpectedly slip.

Williams, who did not play last season after failing to get into the 2004 draft as an underclassman, could be a wild card. Although many league observers expect Minnesota to take Williams with the seventh pick, the Vikings could draft South Carolina receiver Troy Williamson instead, a move that could potentially cause Williams to fall out of the top 10.

Jones, who is considered a favorite of Newsome, has long been connected with Washington at No. 9. But it appears as if the Redskins might be leaning more toward Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers, a switch that could push Jones further down in the first round.

Still, considering such future Pro Bowl players as Chris McAlister, Todd Heap and Terrell Suggs all slid to the Ravens in the past, some team officials believe their best position is staying put.

"I like where we are," said Eric DeCosta, the Ravens' director of college scouting. "If I was an oddsmaker, I would say we would stay right there because I suspect enough players that we like will be there. That's a great spot to be in."

If the Ravens remain at No. 22, the best value could be Oklahoma receiver Mark Clayton.

Often described as the most polished wide-out, Clayton could have the most immediate impact of any receiver in this draft. The only drawback is his lack of size (5-10), which could be a problem considering the Ravens' top receiver, Derrick Mason, is the same height.

Two other prospects, Oklahoma safety Brodney Pool and Georgia defensive end David Pollack, would be safe picks. Pool would be a good investment especially with Will Demps entering the final year of his contract, and Pollack would provide another pass-rushing end.

"We're definitely prepared for it [players sliding down] to happen," Newsome said. "It takes patience on our part to wait this out."

Other players who are considered fall-back options include: Florida State defensive tackle Travis Johnson, Washington offensive tackle Khalif Barnes, USC defensive tackle Shaun Cody and Alabama-Birmingham receiver Roddy White.

But all of these players have enough flaws that might make the Ravens think about trading out of that pick.

The Ravens' opportunity to move down could hinge on how many teams want fast-rising Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell. Because it has leaked that the Redskins want Campbell with the 25th pick, the Ravens might get calls from other teams looking to move up in front of Washington.

Whether the Ravens trade up or down in the first round, their 10th draft will be different nonetheless because it's the first without Phil Savage, who left to become the Cleveland Browns' general manager.

A day before his first draft as Newsome's right-hand man, DeCosta said, "I'm excited. I've been counting the days down. I think we've done a good job. I feel very comfortable with our board. We believe in what we do and our list reflects that."

Predictions on Ravens

Predictions from around the country for the Ravens with the 22nd pick in the first round:

Associated Press - Roddy White, WR, Ala.-Birmingham

Don Banks, SI.com - Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma

Vic Carucci, NFL.com - Shaun Cody, DT, USC

Cox News Service - Shaun Cody, DT, USC

ESPN.com - Roddy White, WR, Ala.-Birmingham

FoxSports.com - Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma

Bob Glauber, Newsday - Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma

Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News - Alex Barron, OT, Florida State

Clark Judge, CBS Sportsline.com - Shaun Cody, DT, USC

Mel Kiper, draft analyst - Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma

Pat Kirwin, NFL.com - Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin

Ira Miller, San Francisco Chronicle - Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State

Joe Posnanski, Kansas City Star - Roddy White, WR, Ala.-Birmingham

Pete Prisco, CBS Sportsline.com - Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State

Knight Ridder - Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State

Dave Richard, NFL.com - Marcus Spears, DE, LSU

Scouts, Inc. - Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma

Larry Weisman, USA Today - Marcus Spears, DE, LSU

Paul Zimmerman, Sports Illustrated - Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma

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