Ravens trade out of NFL Draft's first round

General manager Newsome acquires three picks from Denver, looks ahead to second and third rounds

April 23, 2010|By Jamison Hensley | The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens cashed in on Tim Tebow in the NFL draft.

Knowing the Denver Broncos wanted the heralded Florida quarterback, the Ravens got everything that they wanted from them, trading their first-round pick (25th overall) for selections in the second round (43rd overall), third round (70th) and fourth round (114th).

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome chose to pass on top-20 talents like nose tackle Dan Williams and cornerback Kyle Wilson, saying there are still players available that he would have selected with his first round pick. Potential second-round targets for the Ravens include: Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody, Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski and Virginia defensive back Chris Cook.

"Draft picks are a little bit like currency," Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said. "We have more money now to pick. We're excited, but there is a little bit of uneasiness because we don't know who we're going to get. I thought I was going to be able to sleep tonight knowing who our first-round pick was." Moving out of the first round for the first time in team history took some salesmanship from general manager Ozzie Newsome.

He talked to the three teams with multiple picks in the second round (Denver, New England and Tampa Bay) two weeks ago. On Wednesday, he had a "serious conversation" with the Broncos and then received their first offer Thursday morning.

Newsome then waited during the draft to call back Denver and asked the Broncos if they could improve on their offer. And they did. "We sat there and the offer got better," Newsome said. "I guess they had their mind set on getting their quarterback."

The offer was so tantalizing that Newsome said he wouldn't have passed on it even if Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant, the top-ranked wide receiver in the draft, had fallen to the Ravens. The Dallas Cowboys traded up to No. 24, one spot ahead of the Ravens.

"As it stands right now, that offer was so good that if Dez Bryant doesn't get picked and makes it to us, we probably would have still made the trade," Newsome said. "We had a chance to move up to that spot to get Dez Bryant and we decided against it."

By trading back which represented the seventh trade in the first round -- the Ravens watched such possible targets as Tennessee nose tackle Dan Williams (26th to Arizona), Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty (27th to New England), Penn State defensive lineman Jared Odrick (28th to Miami), Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson (29th to New York Jets) and TCU pass rusher Jerry Hughes (31st to Indianapolis) get drafted.

"There are certainly some guys that we really like," DeCosta said. "Otherwise, we would have probably stayed there and picked. It wasn't that hard of a decision based on the players available."

He added, "Our scouts and coaches are very excited. We see [Friday] as a tremendous opportunity for this organization to get better."

The Ravens entered the draft with only two selections in the first round rounds because of the Boldin trade (the Ravens sent Arizona their third- and fourth-round picks in exchange for Boldin and a fifth-rounder).

But trading out of the first round allowed the Ravens to get better picks in the third and fourth rounds than the ones they traded to get Boldin.

After the trade with Denver, the Ravens talked to the Indianapolis Colts (31st overall) and New Orleans Saints (32nd) to move back into the first round. It is believed that the Ravens also spoke with Minnesota (30th).

"We did make some calls, but all three of those teams chose to pick," Newsome said.

Before the Ravens moved out of the first round, they watched the rest of the AFC North get stronger in the first NFL prime-time draft.

The Cleveland Browns drafted Florida cornerback Joe Haden with the seventh overall pick. The Pittsburgh Steelers chose Florida center Maurkice Pouncey at No. 18. And the Cincinnati Bengals selected Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham at No. 21.

On Friday, it will be the Ravens' turn to improve with three picks (two in the second round and one in the third). But Newsome said the Ravens have already had one call from a team wanting to move up to their first pick in the second round.

"Now, I'm going to be up all night again, waiting until 6 p.m. [Friday]," DeCosta said. "From that standpoint, the new format makes it a little frustrating. As Ozzie said, let's just call the commissioner and let's keep this thing going. We're fired up."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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