Mailbag: How Likely Is a Trade Back Out of First Round?


The week is just more than a week away and we're here to help answer your questions:

Mink: I think a trade back is more likely than a trade up in the first round. I don't know how many times I have to say this: Eric DeCosta LOVES picks. The more swings of the bat, the more home runs (and doubles and triples) you're going to hit. The Ravens have nine picks, which gives them enough ammunition to move up if they feel they must, but I guarantee you DeCosta would like even more.

So, yes, I think a trade back into the top of the second round is certainly possible. Mel Kiper's latest mock draft has Penn State pass rusher Yetur Gross-Matos, Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins, Georgia running back De'Andre Swift, Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims, TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock and Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa all available at pick No. 28. Any one of those prospects could fit well in Baltimore and deliver an extra Day 2 pick.

I think DeCosta is more likely to trade up in the second or third rounds than he is the first. I could see him moving up to grab a wide receiver or offensive lineman on Day 2.

Downing: DeCosta has said on multiple occasions this offseason that the Ravens have high expectations for Miles Boykin. He had a decent rookie season, catching 13 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. It's also worth noting that 6-foot-4, 220-pound receiver is a strong blocker in Baltimore's run-heavy offense. The third-round pick entered the NFL as a bit of a raw prospect, so his rookie production wasn't necessarily a surprise and he could certainly carve out a bigger role in 2020.

The Ravens are likely to add a receiver or two in this year's draft, so Boykin will have competition for a starting job. But even if the Ravens add more young targets, that doesn't close the book on Boykin by any means. He needs to develop more consistency, but he has the physical tools and could be a key piece of the offense this year.

Mink: Here's a little peek into my seven-round Ravens mock draft, which we will release next week. I have the Ravens taking Moss in the fourth round (not third). The son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss has built a reputation more for his blocking than his pass catching. That would be just fine with the Ravens, who put a lot of blocking on their tight ends' plate. Hayden Hurst run blocked on nearly half of his snaps last year, per Pro Football Focus. By contrast, Mark Andrews blocked on less than one-third of his snaps. Moss isn't going log the Ravens' top speed of 2020 (like Hurst did in 2019 on his 61-yard touchdown in Buffalo), but the LSU prospect could be an upgrade in blocking and has very reliable hands like Hurst.

Downing: Chris Orr is definitely a name to watch. There's no question that his big brother Zach would advocate on his behalf, and the Ravens know that the Orr boys are good players even if they slip through the cracks during the NFL Draft. The Ravens typically use their late-round picks to find players that can contribute immediately on special teams, and Orr has that makeup. He put up strong numbers last year at Wisconsin, racking up 78 tackles with 11.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

The decision to sign Zach Orr as an undrafted free agent paid dividends, and he made such a strong impact in his three seasons on the field that the Ravens hired him to the coaching staff after the neck injury forced him to retire. The Ravens have a track record of drafting players with family ties to the NFL (Orlando Brown Jr. and Marlon Humphrey are a couple recent examples), and Orr could become the latest.

Mink: There are a lot of good defensive ends in this class, and Epenesa or Gross-Matos could end up being the Ravens' top pick. With that said, if they're not the Ravens' first pick, then it will likely be an offensive lineman. Finding a starting guard is a greater need because the Ravens already signed their starting defensive ends in Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe. Baltimore also probably has its starting edge rushers too in Matthew Judon and Jaylon Ferguson. There's a hole at right guard that I bet the Ravens try to fill with one of their first three (certainly top five) picks.

Downing: The Ravens have 30 employees under the player personnel department headed up by DeCosta, and that group includes college and pro evaluators, salary-cap management experts and the analytics group. There are 12 official "scouts" on that list, with different degrees of responsibility. Their backgrounds vary. Some scouts are former NFL players, while others started as personnel assistants in their young 20s and climbed the ladder.

The Ravens are a great example of how there are different paths to the top as a scout. DeCosta started with the Ravens in 1996 as a member of the 20/20 Club – a nickname given to young scouts in their 20s making around $20,000 a year – and worked his way up to GM. Former General Manager Ozzie Newsome had a Hall of Fame career as a player, and then decided to enter the scouting profession where he became the NFL's first African-American GM and built a pair of Super Bowl teams. They traveled very different paths, but both rose to the top of the scouting profession.

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