Ravens Vacate First Round; Pick Up Extra In 2nd
NEWSOME: "SEVERAL PLAYERS ... STILL AVAILABLE"
By Joe Platania
OWINGS MILLS -- Thursday afternoon, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome had identified a cadre of nine players he thought would be desirable first-round draft targets.
Not all of the "Newsome Nine" were off the board by the time the Ravens got on the clock with the 29th overall selection at approximately 10:40 p.m., but the team's quest for more picks and better value seemed to supersede any possible selection.
So, for the second time in three years and the third time in team history, the Ravens did not make a first-round pick.
Just when Baltimore was on the clock with the 29th overall selection, the Ravens traded the pick to the Minnesota Vikings for that team's early second round pick (35th overall) and a fourth-round selection (98th).
It was only the second time in Ravens draft history that they dealt with the Vikings; the team traded a 1999 sixth-rounder to Minnesota for the rights to veteran backup guard/tackle Everett Lindsay.
Thursday's trade was simply a two-for-one pick trade, done to get the Ravens one extra selection and to increase the value of whichever player they manage to select when the draft resumes.
"Several players will still be available for us (Friday)," Newsome said. "I won't divulge (how many of the nine original players were gone), but we felt we could still get one of those players.
"But as long as I'm here, I hope we're still picking at 29, 30, 31 or 32."
The Ravens did not make an opening-round pick in 2004, the year they took Oregon State defensive end Dwan Edwards in Round Two. In 2010, Baltimore traded back into the second round and took Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle.
Round Two of this year's draft begins at 7 p.m. Friday, with only the St. Louis Rams and Indianapolis Colts picking before the Ravens do at the 35th overall slot.
Baltimore will also have another second-rounder at the 60th spot, followed by a third-rounder at the 91st position before the evening wraps up. Six more picks follow during the remaining rounds (fourth-seventh), which take place Saturday afternoon.
Of course, that nine-pick haul is subject to change, especially after the first round included a flurry of trades, which featured teams such as the New England Patriots moving up to grab players the Ravens probably coveted.
Originally armed with the 27th and 31st picks, New England moved up to 21 and 25 to grab Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones -- the brother of Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones -- and Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower, one of four Crimson Tide products to get selected during the first round.
"One thing about (Patriots coach) Bill (Belichick), he's a defensive coach," Newsome said. "Everyone talked about how bad their defense was last year, but their front seven just got a lot better."
Two other Alabama players will now ply their trade in the AFC North Division, Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Tide safety Mark Barron.
As a result of all the trade activity, five teams ended up not making a first-round pick: the Ravens, Denver, Atlanta, New Orleans and Oakland.
Five other teams managed to get two first-round picks: New England, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Minnesota.
A record 26 players were invited to Radio City Music Hall to possibly get a photo opportunity with Commissioner Roger Goodell. But a half-dozen of them were still in the "green room" when the first round ended shortly after 11 p.m.
Posted April 26, 2012