It seems Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was close to being a Baltimore Raven.
Bryant reportedly met with General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh, and dined with Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron prior to the 2010 draft.
Here’s how it went down on draft day, April 22, 2010:
The Ravens had the 25th-overall pick in the first round. Bryant was slipping down the board, and was just two picks away after the Green Bay Packers selected offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga.
As can be seen in this RaveTV video, Ravens scouts watching on television celebrated the Bulaga pick. Bryant was still on the board.
The celebration didn’t last long, however.
“Jerry Jones is on the move,” West Area Scout Lonnie Young said. “He knows what we want.”
The Cowboys traded up three spots – just in front of the Ravens – and took Bryant. When the pick was announced, Baltimore’s board room scouts were stone-faced.
Newsome quickly maneuvered and accepted a trade with the Denver Broncos, who desperately wanted quarterback Tim Tebow. The Ravens traded out of the first round for a high second-round pick (43rd overall), and selections in the third and fourth round.
On Monday, Harbaugh said he didn’t remember whether the Ravens were close to drafting Bryant, who Baltimore will face for the first time this Sunday.
“It was a long time ago,” Harbaugh said. “We liked him. Whether we would have taken him with that pick if we hadn’t traded out – if that’s what you’re asking – I really don’t know. … But he is a good player. He is a really talented guy.”
Bryant’s ability has never been the question. The 6-foot-2 Oklahoma product is a superb athlete with great leaping ability to make big plays.
He recorded 63 catches for 928 yards and nine touchdowns last season. He caught eight passes for a career-high 105 yards in the Cowboys’ last game on Monday Night Football against Chicago.
But Bryant dropped in the first round because of character concerns. And those haven’t been eased in the pros.
Bryant was sued in March 2011 for legal fees and the cost of jewelry he allegedly took without payment. In the summer of 2011, an off-duty police officer kicked Bryant and friends out of an upscale Dallas mall because of inappropriate attire (sagging pants) and language.
This past July, he was arrested on a domestic violence charge for reportedly striking his biological mother, who ultimately did not press charges.