Downing: This is an intriguing possibility and one of the most interesting scenarios for the Ravens going into Draft weekend. I'll use this opportunity to pat myself on the back because I asked NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah about this last week on The Lounge podcast, and he liked the idea so much that he said he planned to steal it. Now in terms of the specifics, a team to look at for a potential trade would be the Los Angeles Chargers. They're in the market for a left tackle, and they may like the idea of acquiring a two-time Pro Bowler in Orlando Brown Jr., rather than taking their chances with a rookie in that spot. In this scenario, the Ravens would move up from pick No. 27 to No. 13, in return for sending Brown to Los Angeles. Baltimore could also get some additional compensation.
So if the Ravens move up to pick No. 13, who would they be targeting? Receiver is the most likely option in my mind. The top three receivers in this draft are Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. There's a chance one of those players is still on the board at that point, and the Ravens may relish the chance of getting another dynamic playmaker for this offense. As tough as it would be to see Brown go, getting one of the draft's top receivers would make that pill a little easier to swallow.
Mink: I never put much stock into the recent Antonio Brown-to-the-Ravens chatter. Lamar Jackson and Marquise "Hollywood" Brown also worked out with AB last offseason. Players working out together doesn't indicate team interest.
Plus, the Ravens already made their move at wide receiver in free agency. If they wanted Brown, they would have signed him instead of Sammy Watkins. With not much salary-cap space left, it sure seems the team is more interested in using it to add a pass rusher. Adding Brown would also mean fewer opportunities for young receivers already on the roster, such as Devin Duvernay, who have shown enough to see a bigger role.
In half a season last year, Brown showed he can still be an effective target. It didn't hurt that he was catching passes from Tom Brady. Brown also still has a sexual assault civil case scheduled for December hanging over him.
I do think the Ravens could take a wide receiver early. They're still looking for weapons, and considering Watkins is on a one-year deal, they could use a long-term addition. But if they do that, I think the chances of signing AB, even after the draft when it wouldn't affect the compensatory pick formula, would shrink even more.
Downing: According to multiple reports, the veteran pass rusher visited Baltimore yesterday. That's a good sign for the possibility of signing him. The Ravens have a need at pass rusher after the departures of Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue, and Houston could immediately fill that void. The 11-year veteran doesn't appear to be slowing down, and he put up 28 sacks over the last three seasons. Putting him on a defense opposite Tyus Bowser would give the Ravens a much needed boost in that pass-rush department.
Timing is a significant question with this move. If the Ravens sign Houston now, then they'll likely lose one of the fourth-round compensatory pick that they're in line to receive because of the losses of Judon and Ngakoue. But if the Ravens were to sign Houston after April 27, then he wouldn't count against the compensatory pick formula. That could have been part of the conversation during his reported visit. Another possibility is that the Ravens wait to see what happens in the draft. If the Ravens were to add some early pass rushers, maybe they would opt against signing the veteran. There are still some moving parts with this situation, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Houston ultimately land in Baltimore.
Mink: Yes, I do think the Ravens will look for a safety in this year's draft. While not out of the question, I don't expect the Ravens to use a first-round pick to do it. A Day 2 or Day 3 safety could come to Baltimore and rotate into the mix as an extra defensive back behind starters Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott as a rookie and potentially grow into a starter down the road. It would also be nice to get a hybrid nickel cornerback as well, as it would be great to have more depth behind Tavon Young.
Ideally, that player would also bring a complementary ball-hawking style, but every team wants playmakers, so it's easier said than done. Two prospects who fit that mold are Oregon's Jevon Holland, Syracuse's Andre Cisco and Indiana's Jamar Johnson, who will probably come off the board in that order between Rounds 2-4.