49ers, Ravens May Exchange 1st-Round Picks
We were practically hit over the head with Ozzie Newsome's message Wednesday afternoon.
The Ravens GM looooooooves draft picks, and his phone lines are open to talk trades.
"[He] could not have been any clearer today if he had held up a sign," said NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. "The Ravens are more than open for business at No. 17."
Newsome revealed he has already fielded calls from a few teams that are interested in trading up. While he didn't say who those teams where, Rapoport has an idea.
Baltimore has an attractive spot in the middle of the first round where very good value can be found and, specifically of importance, it is one spot ahead of the New York Jets. Rapoport says teams looking for a wide receiver will want to jump the Jets to land a top pass catcher.
One team that fits the trade partner profile well is the San Francisco 49ers, says Rapoport.
The 49ers have a history of trading up in the first round, they want a vertical threat to team with Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, they have 11 draft picks (Ravens only have 8), the Harbaugh brothers have conducted trade business in the past, and ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported the team "could be very aggressive" in the draft.
"Everyone I talk to believes* *the 49ers are open to moving up, potentially for a speed receiver," Rapoport said in the NFL Network video below. "When you talk to 49ers sources, that is what they are missing for their offense. They have a ton of picks, and with a ton of picks, not all those guys are going to make their team.
"And oh, by the way, I do think the two coaches of those teams, they may know each other a little bit. I think a deal could get done."
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said he talked with his brother, Jim, on the phone Tuesday night. John said the two were verbally "sparring."* *Might they have explored the details for a potential pick swap?
"Can I get something? Can I get something?" John said, recounting part of the conversation.
If a deal were to go down, ESPN's Mark Dominik says it would make sense for the teams to swap their No. 17 and No. 30 first-round picks, and the 49ers would have to additionally give up their No. 56 pick (the first of their two second-rounders).
Moving from the 17th to 30th pick may not excite fans, but the trade would mean the Ravens would have three selections in the span of 26 picks – one in the first round and two in the second – plus their two third-rounders. That's three picks in the top 56, and five in the top 100.
That's a lot of ammunition, especially in year where Assistant GM Eric DeCosta sees a deep class with 180 "draftable" players. That's about 20 percent more draftable talent than past years, per PFT.com's math.
Of course, a Ravens-49ers exchange is not a done deal.
In fact, ESPN's Jamison Hensley isn't even convinced the Ravens will trade back at all, despite Newsome's talk yesterday.
"I'm just not entirely sold on the Ravens doing it this year," Hensley wrote.
"[T]he Ravens love picks but they love particular players more. This is the first time in years that the Ravens have a shot at getting an impact player instead of just a prospect at the bottom of the first round that you hope will turn into a long-term starter. The Ravens don't want to be in this area of the first round anytime soon, so I don't see them just moving back to the same spot they've been in for the previous five years. … The odds are that a difference maker will be there at No. 17 when the Ravens are on the clock. That's why no one should assume the Ravens are trading back this year."
Either way, it should make for a very exciting night come May 8.
Three Questions About Rice's Arraignment Today
By the time you read this story, running back Ray Rice will likely be in court for his scheduled arraignment at 8:45 a.m.
As we await news from the proceedings, Hensley has three questions:
What will take place at the arraignment?Rice will formally be notified of his third-degree charge of aggravated assault in a court house in Mays Landing, N.J. His now wife, Janay Palmer, who Rice allegedly struck, is expected to be in attendance. What will Rice enter as his plea?
"He may plead guilty or not guilty at this point, either to the charges listed in the indictment or to revised charges resulting from plea negotiations," Hensley wrote.
Could there be a resolution?Per Hensley, it's possible Rice could avoid formal prosecution and conviction by applying for the Pretrial Intervention program. The program permits some defendants – particularly first-time defendants like Rice – to enter into court-supervised counseling or other support. Per Coach Harbaugh, Rice and his wife are in counseling.
*What is the Ravens' stance? *Newsome said yesterday that he'll deal with Rice when the time comes. Even if the running back avoids conviction, he could face suspension by the league and/or team.
Chances Ravens Draft TE In Top 3 Rounds
There's a "decent" chance the Ravens draft a tight end in the first three rounds of the draft, says The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
It could even be the first round, as ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper is predicting the Ravens take top tight end prospect Eric Ebron.
While the Ravens currently have Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels locked down for this season, Daniels is on a one-year contract and may serve as a stop gap while the Ravens develop a long-term solution.
"The tight end position is like running back and wide receiver in that it's not a huge need in the present for the Ravens, but it's an area where the team would like to add depth to for the future," wrote Zrebiec. "Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak also loves multiple tight end sets so there is still a need for another tight end that blocks well. But it's not a pressing need.
Outside of Ebron, Zrebiec says other potential targets are Texas Tech's Jace Amaro, Bowling Green's Alex Bayer, Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz and Notre Dame's Troy Niklas.
Ravens Don't Have To Reach For RT
The consensus remaining top need for the Ravens as they enter the draft is right tackle, but CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown doesn't think the Ravens need to reach in order to snag a top-notch player.
Both Kiper and DeCosta believe the top four tackles will be off the board by the time the Ravens are on the clock at No. 17, but that doesn't mean Baltimore can't find a quality starter later on.
"Here's something to think about in the Ravens' search for a right tackle," Brown wrote. "Three of their best offensive linemen were not drafted until the 60th pick or later."
Brown is referring to guard Kelechi Osemele (second round, No. 60), center Jeremy Zuttah (third round, No. 83) and guard Marshal Yanda (third round, No. 86).
Of course, finding a quality guard or center later in the draft is more doable than grabbing a top tackle, but the Ravens could always swing Osemele out to right tackle and plug a rookie in at guard. Or, Brown names some tackles that could be solid picks in the second round at No. 48, or in the third round at Nos. 79 and 99.
"Maybe the Ravens will wait until the second or third round to target a right tackle like Ja'Wuan James of Tennessee, Jake Mewhort of Ohio St., Antonio Richardson of Tennessee, or Billy Turner of North Dakota St.," Brown wrote.
- Ravens brass reminded us again Wednesday that they can never have too many corners. Cornerback has been the dark-horse pick for the Ravens in the first two rounds and Hensley looks at Utah cornerback Keith McGill as a possibility. "Even though the Ravens are set with their starting cornerbacks, it wouldn't be a surprise if the team decided to take a cornerback like McGill in the second round," he wrote. "The Ravens are looking to fill the void at the third cornerback spot after Corey Graham left in free agency, and they may need an eventual replacement for Lardarius Webb, who could be a cap casualty in 2015. McGill doesn't have the same level of athleticism as Jimmy Smith, but he would form a sizable tandem with him." [ESPN]
- The "NFL AM" crew breaks down the top three things the Ravens need to do to get back to the playoffs in 2014. [NFL.com]
- @sportswcoleman [105.7 The Fan]: Ozzie says #Ravens could not only Draft today. But PLAY TODAY, too. [Twitter]
- @GerrySandusky: John Harbaugh says you can't get any real draft information from anyone in the league—including his brother who he talked to last night. [Twitter]
- Brendon Ayanbadejo: Barack Obama invited me back to the White House. I am tremendously excited & honored to attend. I just don't know if I should wear my Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl ring or not. I don't want to steal the show, or even give the POTUS a chance to pull a Putin. #whitehouse #obama #putin #thering #askba [Facebook]