Ravens love playing Let's Make a Deal in NFL Draft
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has been extremely successful securing talent through the NFL draft over the past 16 years and one big reason is he rarely plays a pat hand.
Baltimore has the 29th overall pick and seven subsequent selections in the 2012 draft, to be held April 26-28. Before the draft ends, there's a good chance Newsome will make a deal to move up in a round or to get more picks.
Or, he might do both.
Newsome has made a trade during every NFL draft since Baltimore won the Super Bowl in 2001. Newsome said Wednesday that the Ravens will soon discuss trade scenarios in which they climb up to 10 spots or drop back between four and 10 spots from their position in the first round.
"We make calls to teams ahead of us and behind us to alert them that we have the potential to move," Newsome said.
Three years ago, the Ravens traded their No. 1 and No. 5 pick to take offensive tackle Michael Oher with the 23rd overall selection.
Two years ago, Newsome dealt two picks to Arizona for former Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin. Newsome then auctioned off his No. 1 selection to get three choices from Denver.
Last April, Baltimore traded two choices to Philadelphia to move up in the third round and take offensive lineman Jah Reid, who is currently atop the depth chart at left guard.
The Ravens have definitely developed a pattern.
Sometimes it doesn't work. Newsome gave up a No. 1 pick in 2003 to get quarterback Kyle Boller, a deal Newsome regrets to this day. Other notable first-rounders, however, include Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Jamal Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata.
In addition, Newsome pulled off a trade to secure first-round pick Joe Flacco, who has led Baltimore to the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.
The Ravens don't make trades just to keep themselves amused between rounds.
"It's really who the player is and who the other players are around him," said Eric DeCosta, Baltimore's director of player personnel. "You'll never see us trade up to get a player unless we think clearly he's by far he's the best player there."
Such was the case last year with Reid, a 6-foot-7, 335-pounder out of Central Florida.
"One of the reasons we did that is we looked at the offensive line board and it was barren," DeCosta said. "We basically said, 'This is the last guy left that we covet on the offensive line.' When you start to get the itch, you make some phone calls."
Whether it be via a trade or with a pick of their own, the Ravens usually choose talent over need. Sometimes talent and need intersect, such as last year, when Newsome took safety Jimmy Smith in the first round and wideout Torrey Smith in the second.
"Jimmy was the highest rated player on the board when it came time for us to pick. It wasn't even close," Newsome said. "When we got to Torrey, it was the same thing. Some needs have to come into play because we have to fill them, but we have said this for 16 years: We will not take need over a real good player at another position."