Trading No. 26 For More Picks?

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The Ravens are heading into the upcoming NFL Draft with only six picks - an unenviable situation for any personnel staff.

Seeing how talent evaluators generally want as many selections as they can accumulate, Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome could be prompted to slide back from the 26th spot this year.

As Newsome and the Ravens' scouting department assemble their draft board over the next few weeks, they'll generate a list of players that they deem worthy of their first-rounder. If they can get one of them and still acquire more picks, it's definitely a winning scenario.

"We will be prepared to pick at 26, there's no doubt in my mind," said Newsome. "But, if the opportunity presents itself that we can move back and acquire more picks, the way the board is stacking up right now, that would be something that we could really consider.

"To be able to add an influx of good, young talent is just going to make us stronger."

The last time the Ravens owned only a half-dozen chances was in 2000, when running back Jamal Lewis was snapped up at No. 5.

This year, the Ravens' six picks are sixth-fewest in the league. The Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins all have five, while the New Orleans Saints have four.

How did they get into this situation?

Baltimore would have netted seven, but traded their seventh-rounder to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season for defensive tackle Marques Douglas (who recently signed with the New York Jets).

And, this marks the first year since 2002 when the Ravens weren't awarded any compensatory selections, which are doled out to teams that lose more free agents than they add in the previous season and are also tied to that those players' performance and salary.

The Ravens, who like to build through the draft, have turned some of those compensatory picks into regular contributors, such as Pro Bowl fullback Le'Ron McClain, quarterback Troy Smith and punter Sam Koch.

In fact, since 1994 (the first year compensatory draft picks were established), Baltimore's 29 selections are most in the NFL.

"I think this is the first year maybe in three or four years where all of the GMs out at the league meeting were just happy that we didn't have any comp picks, because I think we've been leading the league in comp picks over the course of the past three or four years," Newsome joked.

Most draft analysts consider the late-first round and second round to be loaded with value because there is a surplus of talent at the top, presenting ideal conditions for moving down.

"I'm in the pick business, so if you have 10 picks and we could get 15 picks, I would be ecstatic," said director of college scouting Eric DeCosta. "It's a deep draft, and anytime we can trade back and we think we can still get a player that we like, we'll do that."

The Ravens worked the system in 2008, trading from No. 8 to the Jacksonville Jaguars' 26th pick, two third-rounders (71st and 89th) and a fourth (125th). When it looked like some teams were targeting quarterback Joe Flacco, Newsome then shipped their 89th and 173rd selections to the Houston Texans and took the signal caller 19th.

Later, he traded the extra fourth-rounder to the Oakland Raiders for cornerback Fabian Washington.

Baltimore still ended the draft with 10 new rookies and a starting corner on the roster.

The Ravens could very well sit tight at No. 26 this year, but as history and philosophy will attest, it would not be a surprise if those six picks eventually multiply. **

Should the Ravens trade the no. 26 pick to move back in the Draft? Tell us what you think! **

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