Who Wants To Make A Deal? Breaking Down Ravens' Trade Scenarios
A historically active mover on draft weekend, General Manager Ozzie Newsome made it clear at the pre-draft press conference that he's open for business once again.
He's made a trade in 15 consecutive drafts, and nobody would be surprised if he makes a deal again.
In more recent years, however, Newsome has stayed put in the first round. While he tried to trade up to grab cornerback Jalen Ramsey last year, Newsome hasn't made a first-round trade since 2012.
Will he extend the franchise streak to five years of sticking with his original pick, or will he trade the 16th-overall selection?
Let's break down the scenarios with ESPN's Jamison Hensley …
Scenario 1: Moving back because of pass rusher depthNewsome: "We have had some calls already about teams that are willing to move up to our spot, but they always qualify it by saying, 'If our player gets there.' … We will have a plan that if we move back five spots, who do we have a chance to get? [Or] if we go back 10 spots."
Maybe one of those plans involves an eventual Terrell Suggs successor.
Hensley says moving back is the "more likely scenario" because the Ravens only have seven draft picks – their lowest amount since 2010 – and too many needs to fill, including at pass rusher, wide receiver, right tackle, center, inside linebacker, cornerback and running back.
With this year's draft offering such a deep class of edge rushers, Hensley could envision Baltimore having its pick of two or three of them at No. 16. He says potential partners include the Denver Broncos (No. 20), New York Giants (No. 23) or Seattle Seahawks (No. 26), who are looking to grab a top-rated tackle.
"Why not trade back four or five spots, pick up an extra draft pick, and one of those pass rushers that you like is still there?" Hensley asked on WBAL 1090 radio. "I kind of get that feeling where if they move back, it's because they feel there's a pass rusher that they feel will still be there."
Scenario 2: Moving up to grab a coveted wide receiver
Newsome: "We found out last year … there may be an opportunity to move up to go and grab a player and give up one of our resources because we feel like we can take some of the other picks we have and move back and gain what we gave up."
If the Ravens were to move up, Hensley thinks it will be to grab one of the draft's top three wide receivers: Clemson's Mike Williams, Western Michigan's Corey Davis or Washington's John Ross.
Unlike pass rusher and corner, there are so few projected top-notch receivers in this year's class that Hensley says there's no way the Ravens could trade back and still get one in second half of the first round. If Baltimore specifically covets one receiver, it could motivate Newsome to get aggressive and use one of his two third-round picks to move up.
The Ravens don't have a strong record when drafting wide receivers, but Hensley says that shouldn't prevent them from pulling the trigger on somebody like the big-bodied Williams, who would be an excellent complementary receiver to the speed of Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman.
"I know the history says don't [draft] a receiver again, but [Williams] just has everything you want in a receiver," Hensley told WBAL.
That said, if Baltimore does move up five or six spots, Hensley said he "guarantees" the Ravens will then trade back in either the second or third round to recoup its pick.
"It's a picks business; you want more picks," Hensley said.
Scenario 3: Stay put
Newsome: "I think we'll be open [to trading], but first and foremost we've got to be ready to pick at [No.] 16."
Baltimore can also just stand pat like it has done the past four years, and use the picks it already has. Almost every year, a top prospect falls to the middle of the first round, and the Ravens could take advantage, allowing them to keep both of their third-rounders.
The Ravens found immediate starters and contributors in the fourth round last year, so they could do the same with their pair of picks in the third.
"They really loved that fourth round from a year ago where it seemed like they were picking every other minute and you saw what they did," Hensley said. "When you have a lot of picks, Eric DeCosta said this so many times, if you have more picks you're going to be able to hit on more players because of course you're going to miss on some.
"But if you have that quantity, it gives you a higher percentage to hit on players. And you saw that in the fourth round last year when they got a Kenneth Dixon, Alex Lewis and Tavon Young."
Ravens Best Compensatory Pick? Edwin Mulitalo
We all know the Ravens are the NFL's best at acquiring compensatory picks since the league implemented the system in 1994. Newsome has also done a good job of using those picks to bring impact players to Baltimore.
CBSSports.com's Brad Gagnon named who he thinks is each NFL team's best comp pick over the years, and he gives Baltimore's award to guard Edwin Mulitalo.
"The Ravens have had a lot of good comp picks, including current/recent NFL starters Ricky Wagner, Kyle Juszczyk, and Pernell McPhee," he wrote. "But Mulitalo was a steady starting left guard there for eight seasons."
Chances Ravens Draft Running Back In First Three Rounds?
Running backs are making a comeback.
For years, they were viewed as unworthy of first-round currency, but the Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliot broke the trend last year by becoming the fourth-overall pick and the bell cow in Dallas.
Still, only a few backs seem worthy of being selected that early, and The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec says it's "unlikely" the Ravens will draft a running back in not just the first round, but in the first three rounds.
"There was a lot of talk earlier this offseason that the Ravens could use their first-round pick on a running back, but that momentum seems to have slowed with the [Danny] Woodhead signing," Zrebiec wrote. "The Ravens are believed to be intrigued by Louisiana State's Leonard Fournette. However, he'll likely be gone within the first dozen picks and the Ravens don't have a ton of inventory to move up. If the Ravens covet one of the draft's other top two backs, Stanford's Christian McCaffrey and Florida State's Dalvin Cook, they've done an extremely good job of hiding their interest.
"The Ravens figure to take advantage of an extremely deep running back class and again grab a ball carrier in the middle rounds. The ideal fit would be a speed back who could be a change of pace to the downhill style of West and Dixon. [Utah's Joe] Williams and [San Diego State's Donnel] Pumphrey certainly qualify."