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Draft 2009

Rounds 1-2, 4 P.m. Espn, Nfl Network

April 25, 2009|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,ken.murray@baltsun.com

It figures that in an NFL draft with outstanding second-round value, coach Bill Belichick would own three picks in the round and be in position to overhaul his sagging New England Patriots defense. The Patriots have a total of four picks (Nos. 23, 34, 47, 58) in the first two rounds of the draft, which begins Saturday. That pretty much makes Belichick the winner before the Detroit Lions, who have the top selection, even get on the clock. Here's a primer on what else to expect.

Trade bait

There hasn't been a trade for one of the top five picks since 2004, thanks to the astronomical financial guarantees committed to less-than-Hall-of-Fame talent. This year, every team in the top 10 except the Oakland Raiders has talked about trading down. Is it any more realistic than any of the previous four years?

It might be, if Mike Mayock knows what he's talking about. The NFL Network analyst said he believes the notorious draft-value chart is on the way out. "I think teams will be willing to get out of the top 10 for literally half of what it used to take," Mayock said.

Why? The payouts are so steep and the investment returns so risky that teams at the top might be willing to bail at any cost to avoid busting. Besides, who wants to pay $30 million in guarantees for a guy who hasn't played a down in the NFL?

Upwardly mobile

So which teams might be willing to move into the top 10? Those that want quarterback Mark Sanchez, primarily. That would be the Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins and New York Jets.

The bidding could start at the third pick, which the Kansas City Chiefs hope to trade. The Seattle Seahawks (No. 4), Cleveland Browns (No. 5), Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 8) and San Francisco 49ers (No. 10) have been linked to Sanchez. The Jaguars might be the most eager to trade back.

Also in play

The potential destinations of several veteran players could upstage the draft process. The Browns reportedly are shopping quarterback Brady Quinn and wide receiver Braylon Edwards. The Arizona Cardinals are accepting offers for wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The Miami Dolphins are willing to part with running back Ronnie Brown. And Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers, who received the franchise tag from the Carolina Panthers, also might be available.

The New York Giants said this week that they had ended their quest for Edwards, but that doesn't necessarily mean the deal is off. A Daily News story published Friday said the Jets were in the market for Sanchez, Quinn or the Redskins' Jason Campbell. The Ravens expressed interest in Boldin, but not at the price of first- and third-round draft picks.

more stories to watch

Falling down

Everything in the draft is speculative, but each year certain players are reported to be dropping for any number of misdeeds.

This year, those players include wide receiver Percy Harvin, defensive tackle B.J. Raji and cornerback Vontae Davis.

It's also possible Michael Crabtree, the best wide receiver in the draft, could slide, and not just because of his foot injury. It seems Crabtree was a diva during a visit to Cleveland, and the Browns decided to pass. We'll see.

Homegrown

In addition to wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (McDonogh) and defensive end Aaron Maybin (Mount Hebron), the Baltimore area will have a few more potential draft picks this weekend.

Cornerback Kevin Barnes (Old Mill, Maryland) should be picked in the middle rounds. He ran a 4.5 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, had a 41-inch vertical jump at his pro day and scored a 41 on the Wonderlic test, high among defensive backs.

Terps secondary coach Kevin Lempa called Barnes "the best player I ever coached," and Lempa has been a college coach for 32 years.

Then there is Tommy Breaux (Randallstown), a 6-foot-7 wide receiver who went to Towson University as a junior on a basketball scholarship but committed to football after two years and 11 games with the Tigers.

Breaux ran a 4.47 and a 4.51 at his pro day to draw the Carolina Panthers' interest. Most likely, Breaux will go undrafted and be a priority free agent.

Ken Murray

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