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Heading into the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, many analysts predicted that the Ravens had their eyes set on Alabama inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower to become the heir-apparent to Ray Lewis.
Some even predicted that Baltimore would trade to get in front of Pittsburgh (pick No. 24) if Hightower was still on the board.
But when that point came – and Hightower was still available – the Ravens decided against trading up, and Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta said they didn’t consider doing so.
“No, that was not one of our various scenarios,” DeCosta said Tuesday on Ravens Chat Live. “We had about seven players that we really liked in the first round, and he was not one of the players that we would have traded up to get.”
The Patriots ended up trading with Denver to take Hightower with the 25th-overall pick.
The other player that some pundits speculated could entice the Ravens to move up in the first round was Stanford guard David DeCastro. He was widely considered the best guard in the draft, but slid into the early 20s.
DeCastro, who could have potentially filled the Ravens’ immediate need at left guard, ended up going to the Steelers at pick No. 24 and DeCosta said they didn’t want to give up any later draft picks to move up for him.
“We liked DeCastro,” DeCosta said. “But again, he was not a player that we were prepared to trade up for.”
DeCosta and General Manger Ozzie Newsome have routinely said that the Ravens covet draft picks, which makes it unlikely for them to trade up in the first round. Instead of moving up, the Ravens decided to slide back six spots into the second round by adding another fourth-round pick.
Baltimore ended up taking Courtney Upshaw with the 35th-overall pick, who was someone they had rated inside their top-20 prospects.
In the second round, trade speculation continued when offensive tackle Mike Adams fell to the back of the round. He was rated as a first-round talent, but slipped mostly over off-field issues, such as failing a drug test at the NFL scouting combine in February.
Moving up for Adams wasn’t an interest for the Ravens either.
“Mike Adams specifically was not a player of great interest to the Ravens because of off-field concerns,” DeCosta said. “We always consider moving up based on scout opinions and coaching evaluations. We didn’t see any tackles in this draft other than [USC left tackle Matt] Kalil that we would have considered moving up to take in the first round.”
Adams ended up going to the Steelers with the 56th-overall pick, and the Ravens then took tackle/guard Kelechi Osemele four picks later.