Kiper, Mayock Suggest Trading Down

Both believe CB Jimmy Smith will be gone and there won’t be a worthy pick at 26.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, April 21st, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Categories: 2011 NFL Draft, Ryan Mink

Analysts have been projecting who the Ravens will take at pick No. 26 for months.

But now that the draft is just a week away, it seems two of the most-respected draftniks don’t think there will be a worthy enough pick when Baltimore is on the clock.

If Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith is not available for the Ravens at pick No. 26 – which they do not believe he will – then ESPN’s Mel Kiper and NFL Network’s Mike Mayock think Baltimore should trade back from their first-round pick.

“If Smith’s gone and you’re sitting there at 26, I’d get out of there. I’m not reaching,” Kiper said on a Tuesday conference call. “In this draft, I think that could be a great scenario for the Ravens.”

“I still think they’re a logical trade-down candidate,” Mayock said a couple hours after Kiper. “They’re hoping to get two picks in the second round. I think the vertical receiver and the rush guy are the two they’d love to get.”

It’s a scenario Baltimore is quite familiar with, having traded their original pick each of the past three years and four of the last five. For the first time in franchise history, the Ravens traded out of the first round entirely last year.

“We like picks,” Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta said. “We’re always looking if we can to accumulate more picks.

“What I’ve found is that you often trade back and still get the same player you would have taken at the higher pick. It doesn’t always work that way – we’ve been burned – but we’ve also had huge successes where we wanted to take a guy but had the opportunity to trade back and rolled the dice a little bit and still get that guy plus an additional pick. If you can do that – and it takes guts to do it, you have to have a keen awareness for the board and the value of the players across the board – if you can do that, in my mind you’ve hit a slam dunk.”

Kiper projected Smith to be taken by the Ravens in his latest mock draft, but now believes the big-bodied cornerback will be selected midway through the first round as teams have become more comfortable with his character after additional research.

Another popular choice among draftniks has been Maryland’s Torrey Smith, but that’s now fading as more analysts have him projected as a second-round prospect.

Kiper said teams vary on their opinion of offensive tackle Derek Sherrod and the other first-round offensive linemen are all projected to be taken before Baltimore is on the clock.

Mayock said he doesn’t believe the Ravens are interested in defensive ends Cameron Heyward of Ohio State or Cameron Jordon of Cal because Baltimore wants a “pure pass rusher.” Yet Mayock also wasn’t a big fan of outside linebackers Akeem Ayers of UCLA or Justin Houston of Georgia and believes it would be a reach to take Arizona’s Brooks Reed at No. 26.

“Baltimore is pretty good at moving around the board, especially when they can move down,” Mayock said. “It wouldn’t surprise me again if they were able to move down.

“However, the good news for them is that the defensive end-outside linebacker class is pretty deep this year. If they have to sit at 26, and if Jimmy Smith is off the board or they decide not to go that way, that defensive end-outside linebacker guy is an interesting [pick].”

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome emphasized that the team will be ready to make a pick at No. 26 if they do not move.

“The thing that I’ve learned from the very beginning is when you’re picking [at No.] 26, you better have 26 players,” Newsome said. “Because you may not get the opportunity on the trade and you may not be able to trade up, so you better have that 26th guy that you think could come in and contribute.”

Tags: , , , , ,