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Trading picks has been part of Baltimore’s draft strategy for the last decade.
The Ravens have made at least one draft-day trade every year since 2001, and they have developed the reputation of being one of the league’s best at maneuvering around the draft.
With the 29th selection in this year’s draft, trading that first-rounder is once again being discussed, and General Manager Ozzie Newsome left open the possibility when he talked with the media on Wednesday.
“The trade scenario – trading up four or five spots, maybe as much as 10 spots – then, trading back as far as 10 spots; it’s already prepared for,” Newsome said.
Before the draft, Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Vice President of Football Administration Pat Moriarty put together the scenarios for what the Ravens would likely have to give or receive if they decided to make a move.
The cutoff with trading up in the first round is typically moving no more than 10 spots.
“If you go beyond that,” Newsome said, “you start to deal with a first-round pick the following year, and only once have we given that up. We’d do it for a quarterback, and we did it for Kyle [Boller]. But, I think that’s why there’s a cutoff.”
The Ravens already have their franchise quarterback in Joe Flacco, so they don’t plan to make any drastic moves up the board.
Instead, a more likely scenario is to trade back to accumulate picks. Baltimore traded out of the first round in 2008 and 2010, and tried to do so again last year.
“We covet picks,” DeCosta said. “There’s nobody that covets picks more than the Baltimore Ravens. And so, the notion of giving up a pick is pretty distasteful for us, unless the player is pretty darn good.”
When the Ravens do decide to relinquish a pick and move up, DeCosta said that decision typically comes when a particular position is cleared off the board or when most of the players the Ravens like in that round are gone.
As an example, DeCosta pointed to the decision last year to move up in the third round for offensive tackle Jah Reid.
“We basically said that this is the last guy left that we really covet on the offensive line,” DeCosta said. “All these guys got picked and it made it easy for us to make that decision. There were no other players at that position – or even any other players with third-round-type value – when we were picking.”
As the Ravens head into this year’s draft, they’re planning to stick with their strategy to accumulate picks and be cautious about moving up.
“You’ll never see us trade up to get a player unless we think clearly he’s by far the best player that’s still there,” DeCosta said. “I mean if it’s close, and there are other players there, then we’ll stay and pick.”