Late for Work 4/22: Boulware to Announce Ravens Draft Pick

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Legendary Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware will announce Baltimore's second-round draft selection next Friday at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Boulware will join Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk and 30 other retired legends who will be representing their former teams.  The league's announcement marks the first time in NFL Draft history where every selection in a round has been announced by former players.

As is the tradition, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will make all the first-round announcements.

In a year which one of the Ravens' biggest draft needs is a pass rusher to complement outside linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs, Boulware could be the ideal presenter.

With a little magic in the air, a story-book scenario would have the Ravens' all-time sack leader's mojo rub off on an outside linebacker selected by Baltimore.

After being drafted by the Ravens in 1997, Boulware became the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year. He went on to four Pro Bowls and logged 70 sacks over the course of his nine-year career. He earned an AFC-best 15 sacks in 2001.

Linebacker Ray Lewis announced last year's selection of pass rusher Sergio Kindle. Here's hoping that the first year of that story doesn't repeat itself and Ozzie can instead find another Boulware.

Is Jimmy Smith Plan A or Plan B?

Sports Illustrated scribe Peter King says the Ravens should and will select Colorado CB Jimmy Smith in the first round.

But King admitted that placing an exact spot for Smith was one of the toughest decisions he faced while compiling his mock draft.

"He's got a lot of [baggage]," wrote King. "From substance abuse to being the kind of kid who's been allowed to be a prima donna over the years. Lots of teams love him. He could go anywhere from Philly at 23 to out of the first round, but I have the Ravens taking him."

It's that "baggage" that has other draftniks saying that Smith, even if he's still on the board at No. 26, should be Baltimore's Plan B.

And while King says the Ravens "desperately" need a shutdown corner, both ESPN's Todd McShay and James Walker believe corner is a "lesser" need.

Thus, both ESPN pundits have Smith being taken only as a second scenario if there isn't a valued pass rusher available at 26. Walker also encourages taking an offensive lineman before a corner.

"The Ravens need offensive linemen and pass rushers," wrote Walker. "Therefore, a dream scenario would be for Baltimore to have the ability to choose several players at these positions. Some possible options would be Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder, Florida guard Mike Pouncey and pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue."

If Smith does wind up in Baltimore, pundits generally agree that, under the leadership of Lewis and safety Ed Reed, the Ravens are one of the few teams that could handle the rookie.

"The Ravens can put in enough safeguards to make sure Smith behaves," wrote King.

Judge: Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh Best Rivalry in 2011

Thanksgiving night isn't the only national event that marks "Harbaugh Bowl."

The family showdown also takes place on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

"Talk about a house divided against itself," wrote CBSSports.com's Clark Judge. "This game shouldn't be played in Baltimore; it should be fought in Sharpsburg."

Judge says Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh is the 2011 schedule's best rivalry, not to be confused with the best game.

Jim Harbaugh is taking over a San Francisco 49ers team that hasn't had a winning season in eight years, while John Harbaugh is 19-5 at M&T Bank Stadium and has reached the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

On paper, John and the Ravens look to be the big favorites.

But Judge believes two brothers, who don't like to lose, pitted against each other is a game worth watching.

"It's big brother vs. little brother, mano-a-mano, with each charged to annihilate the other, and if anyone should be thankful, it's the NFL Network. It televises the game ... er, family feud ... and has all that goes with it, including ratings."

He added, "I'm not sure which Harbaugh wants to win more, but I do know that if the 49ers lose, the only thing worse than bowing to Jim's brother will be the flight home."

NFL Schedule has Three-Week Lockout Cushion

Even if the lockout extends three weeks into the recently released schedule, a full 16-game season could still be played.

Here's how:

Every game in Week 3 has teams which share the same bye week later in the season, explains ESPN's Adam Schefter, which means those Week 3 games could be made up during teams' bye weeks.

Additionally, there are some open weeks during the post-season schedule that could be toyed with.

So if the season-opening week was to be pushed from Sept. 8 to as late as Oct. 2 (Week 4), with the help of PFT.com, the new schedule would look something like this:

October 2: Season begins with the Week 4 schedule as currently constituted and continues with each team's schedule as usual
Bye weeks: All teams would make up their Week 3 game during their bye week
January 8-15: Weeks 1 and 2 would be played after Week 17
January 21-22: Wild card playoff games (currently slated for conference championships)
January 28-29:Divisional playoff games (currently slated for the bye week before the Super Bowl)
February 5: Conference championship games (currently slated for Super Bowl)
February 12: Super Bowl (pushed back one week)  

Quick Hits

  • Suggs is headed to Cannes, France, where his new movie will be featured in the annual Cannes Film Festival. Check out a short review of "When Beautiful People Do Ugly Things." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Gary Myers reports that a ruling from Judge Susan Nelson on the NFL lockout is expected Monday, just three days before the first round of the NFL Draft. "The players are the heavy favorites to win this round," Myers writes. [New York Daily News]
  • More AFC North fights we'd like to see (inspired by Tom Zbikowski's return to professional boxing). Who does Walker have winning between WR Anquan Boldin vs. Browns CB Eric Wright followed by the main event of Suggs vs. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger? [ESPN]
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