Ravens tend to stay put

History shows team is unlikely to trade down in first round

April 28, 2006|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,SUN REPORTER

The Ravens could decide to trade down in the first round of the NFL draft tomorrow, but history says otherwise.

In their decade of drafting, the Ravens have only traded once in the first round -- and never while on the clock.

The reason why they usually stay put is simple, team officials say.

"Good players just fall to us every year," director of college scouting Eric DeCosta said. "I think someday when Ozzie [Newsome, general manager] retires, his gravestone is going to say: `Ozzie Newsome, he got lucky in the first round.' "

That trend could continue this season. The 13th overall pick of the draft traditionally has been a lucky one for teams, especially when selecting defensive players.

In the past 10 drafts, three of the five defensive players taken at No. 13 have gone on to be Pro Bowl players: linebacker Takeo Spikes, defensive end John Abraham and defensive tackle Marcus Stroud. Abraham is considered to be one of the NFL's best pass rushers, and Stroud is possibly the league's top interior defensive lineman.

The two defenders who haven't made the Pro Bowl are cornerback Walt Harris and defensive lineman Ty Warren, both of whom have been productive starters in their careers.

The best player picked at No. 13 was tight end Tony Gonzalez, who fell to Kansas City in 1997. The perennial Pro Bowl player is the Chiefs' all-time receptions leader.

The trouble area for this spot has been receiver. The only bust at No. 13 since 1996 was wide-out Troy Edwards, who flopped at Pittsburgh. Other receivers such as New Orleans' Donte' Stallworth and Buffalo's Lee Evans have fizzled recently after promising rookie seasons.

"My biggest fear is being in a position where we can't draft a player that I think is going to be good. That's a terrible proposition," DeCosta said. "I had that feeling last year until we got a chance to pick Mark Clayton [at No. 22]. There were some players that we didn't really want to have to pick. This year, I don't feel that way at all. I feel that any decision we make is going to be a solid one."

The lack of first-round trades by the Ravens is not because of a lack of opportunity.

When the Ravens were on the clock last season, the Ravens received a call from the New England Patriots, who wanted to trade up in order to take Clayton.

"Our response was we're picking him," DeCosta said. "That could be our response this year."

The Ravens have landed a player rated in their top 15 in eight of 10 years. They didn't have a first-round pick in 2004, and they had to "settle" for safety Ed Reed in 2002.

"There's no rhyme or reason why it happens. Ozzie has good karma," DeCosta said. "This is a great organization to work for because we always get good players in the draft to slip down to us."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

Lucky 13?

The 13th overall picks in the NFL draft over the past 10 years:

Year Team Player Pos.

1996 Chicago Walt Harris CB

1997 Kansas City Tony Gonzalez TE

1998 Cincinnati Takeo Spikes LB

1999 Pittsburgh Troy Edwards WR

2000 N.Y. Jets John Abraham DE

2001 Jacksonville Marcus Stroud DT

2002 New Orleans Donte' Stallworth WR 2003 New England Ty Warren DE

2004 Buffalo Lee Evans WR

2005 New Orleans Jammal Brown OT

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.