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Late for Work: ESPN Analyst Says Ravens Trading Back Might Be in Play

Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024.
Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024.

ESPN Analyst Says Ravens Trading Back From No. 30 Might Be in Play

It's been more than a decade since the Ravens traded out of the first round, but ESPN analyst Jordan Reid believes it's a realistic possibility this year.

"I've heard that trading back from No. 30 to land extra draft capital might be in play," Reid wrote.

General Manager Eric DeCosta likes having as many picks as possible, and trading out of the first round would likely bring additional picks on Day 2 (Rounds 2-3).

However, DeCosta said at the pre-draft press conference this week that it would require a "premium" offer for the Ravens to trade the 30th-overall pick. One reason DeCosta might be reluctant to trade out of the first round is that it would mean giving up the top pick's fifth-year option, which is reserved for first-round picks.

In 2012, the Ravens traded the 29th-overall pick to Minnesota for the Vikings' picks in the second (35th) and fourth rounds (98th).

At No. 35, Baltimore selected linebacker Courtney Upshaw, who played in every game during his four years with the Ravens and made 51 starts. During his rookie season, Upshaw forced a fumble in the Ravens' Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers.

On a side note, Reid said that he's hearing that wide receiver and offensive tackle are the two positions that dominate conversations when speaking with sources close to the Ravens about the draft. Baltimore has drafted a wide receiver in the first round in three of the past five years.

"Baltimore hasn't been shy about helping quarterback Lamar Jackson with first-round receivers, and that trend could continue," Reid wrote. "And after trading Morgan Moses to the Jets, Baltimore could also target someone like Jordan Morgan (Arizona) or Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma) to join Patrick Mekari, Daniel Faalele and Josh Jones in the OL mix."

ESPN's Jamison Hensley said the best-case scenario is for the Ravens to draft an offensive tackle in the first round.

"Baltimore needs a prospect who can start immediately at right tackle and eventually transition to left tackle, where Ronnie Stanley is entering a contract year," Hensley wrote.

Pro Football Focus Names Best Day 2 and Day 3 Draft Fits for Ravens

While most mock drafts and draft discussions focus on what teams will do in the first round, Pro Football Focus looked at the best Day 2 and Day 3 fits for every team.

With a deep draft class of offensive linemen and the Ravens having a need there, it's not surprising that a guard and an offensive tackle were matched with Baltimore.

For Day 2, South Dakota State guard Mason McCormick was the choice.

"The Ravens lost starting left guard John Simpson in free agency, and they could replace him in the draft with a very similar player in Mason McCormick," Dalton Wasserman wrote. "McCormick is athletic, durable and nasty. He is arguably the premier pulling guard in this class, which is a plus when considering Baltimore's gap-heavy scheme. If McCormick refines his footwork, he could start sooner than later."

Texas offensive tackle Christian Jones was named the best fit for the Ravens on Day 3 (Rounds 4-7).

"Jones is coming off his best college season as a pass protector, earning a 78.1 PFF pass-blocking grade," Gordon McGuinness wrote. "He allowed just three quarterback pressures, none of which were sacks, from 105 pass-blocking snaps on true pass sets last year."

Pundits Believe Deonte Harty Could Give Ravens Huge Return on Modest Investment

The Ravens excelled in making under-the-radar signings that paid dividends last season, and they may have done it again with the reported expected signing of return specialist/wide receiver Deonte Harty this week.

With new kickoff rules this coming season designed to increase returns, acquiring Harty, an All-Pro returner in 2019 as a rookie with the New Orleans Saints, looks like a shrewd move.

Sports Illustrated’s Nick Faria went as far as to say that the Ravens adding Harty "could shift the entire balance of power in the [AFC]."

"With the NFL's adoption of the previous XFL's kickoff rules in which players can only chase the returner AFTER a recovery of the ball is made, the league is expecting the return game to be prominent once again," Faria wrote. "That leaves some teams scrambling to find quality returners on the open market. Baltimore's chief rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, moved quickly to sign Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency hours after the rule was adopted. Now, it's the Ravens' turn to try and find a player who can alter a football game quickly. Harty certainly fits that bill for Baltimore."

"If Harty can 'steal' field possession a handful of times this coming season, he will be worth the expenditure, which I don't expect to be very much," McCann wrote. "He can also bring some flash and wiggle to the receiving room in a limited role. This is the kind of low-profile signing that good teams make to give their team the best chance to win games."

Harty's deal is reportedly for one year at $1.29 million.

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