Draft or Trade for a WR?

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It is no secret that the Ravens are looking for a game-breaking wideout to give quarterback Joe Flacco in his second season, but there are multiple ways to do so.

This week, two of them were highlighted.

Reports repeatedly surfaced about the Ravens' inquiries into trading for Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin.

At the same time, more than a few mock drafts linked Baltimore to various college prospects, such as Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey, Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina, Rutgers' Kenny Britt and even Ohio State's Brian Robiskie.

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome has said that he thinks there is a solid crop of wideouts in-house that will compete for a job against any newcomers.

That includes incumbent starters Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, who combined for 121 receptions for 1,732 yards and 8 touchdowns last season, with Mason's 1,037 marking the seventh time in his career he's hit the four-digit mark in receiving yards.

The Ravens need a lot of other young prospects on the roster to take a big step forward in the coming year. Demetrius WilliamsJustin Harper and Marcus Maxwell all ended the year on Injured Reserve. Marcus Smith primarily played on special teams. And, practice squadders Ernie Wheelwright and Ed Williams are simply unproven.

So what does that mean going forward? Who is available, and how can the Ravens improve at the position?

With Boldin, it would be a tough move to make.

Originally, the Cardinals paid a hefty contract to fellow Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and Boldin wants similar money, demanding a new contract as long ago as last year. He soldiered on through the Cardinals' run to the Super Bowl, totaling 89 catches for 1,038 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing four games.

The cat-and-mouse game between team and player has been back and forth. First, the Cardinals said Boldin was not open for trade offers. Then, head coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to listen to offers.

According to reports, the Cardinals' demands included a first- and third-round draft pick, however.

Tuesday, Arizona general manager Rod Graves backed off that starting point, and even Whisenhunt retreated from his comments.

"We haven't specified what we're looking for, or anything along those lines," Graves told reporters in Arizona.

"We never said we were trying to trade Anquan," Whisenhunt explained. "See, that's been the perception out there. All we've said was that we were willing to listen to offers."

Whatever the case, it's not only a matter of making the trade. The Ravens would have to not only give up at least one of their six draft picks, but they would also have to part with a player to get far enough under the salary cap in order to meet Boldin's contract demands.

With franchised Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs - arguably one of the best defensive players in the league - on the docket to lock up in a long-term deal, the Ravens would have to get very creative with their negotiations.

A report from the Tennessean also states that the Tennessee Titans are interested in Boldin, while the Philadelphia Eagles remain in play after Eagles president Joe Banner told the *Philadelphia Inquirer *that the team could still move their first-round pick to acquire another player.

There are also rumors swirling regarding trades of Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson and the Cleveland Browns' Braylon Edwards, but Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis stated that Johnson is off the block and the New York Giants, the team most interested in Edwards, have pulled away, as well.

Of course, the other way to go is through the draft.

As Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz has explained, this year's crop of wideouts is deep.

The quartet mentioned previously could all be available by the time the Ravens pick at No. 26.

Baltimore has performed private workouts with the sure-handed Nicks, the speedy Heyward-Bey and the imposing Britt, while Robiskie is moving up many analysts' draft boards.

But even in the second round, there is bound to be some value.

Oklahoma's Juaquin Iglesias, Louis Murphy from Florida, Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi and even Cal-Poly's Ramses Barden are all gifted pass catchers with size. Each of those prospects is at least 6-foot-1 and has seen tremendous success on the college level.

The Ravens obviously want to get better at every position, but fans seem to be focusing on another target for Flacco.

Perhaps Baltimore is, as well.

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