The Ravens held a pre-Draft press conference on Wednesday and GM Ozzie Newsome casually mentioned that the Ravens have been talking with the San Francisco 49ers and other teams about trading their 1st Round pick at #17 for a later pick in the first round—plus extra goodies, probably an additional 2nd round pick.
Pretty honest and outgoing talk from Ozzie— or is it just gamesmanship?
Well, the Harbaugh brothers seem to be going along with the trade-talk scenario, even if it is ultimately revealed to be just a misdirectional gag.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said he talked with his brother, Jim, on the phone Tuesday night. John said the two were verbally “sparring.” Might they have explored the details for a potential pick swap?
“Can I get something? Can I get something?” John said, recounting part of the conversation.
If a deal were to go down, ESPN’s Mark Dominik says it would make sense for the teams to swap their No. 17 and No. 30 first-round picks, and the 49ers would have to additionally give up their No. 56 pick (the first of their two second-rounders).
Moving from the 17th to 30th pick may not excite fans, but the trade would mean the Ravens would have three selections in the span of 26 picks – one in the first round and two in the second – plus their two third-rounders. That’s three picks in the top 56, and five in the top 100.
Sarah Ellison said it well in her “Late For Work” column at BaltimoreRavens.com: “The Ravens GM looooooooves draft picks, and his phone lines are open to talk trades.”
Ellison went on to clearly define the logic of why the Ravens should take advantage of a trade-back scenario:
“Baltimore has an attractive spot in the middle of the first round where very good value can be found and, specifically of importance, it is one spot ahead of the New York Jets… teams looking for a wide receiver will want to jump the Jets to land a top pass catcher.”
One team that fits the trade partner profile well is the San Francisco 49ers, says NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
The 49ers have a history of trading up in the first round, they want a vertical threat to team with Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, they have 11 draft picks (Ravens only have 8), the Harbaugh brothers have conducted trade business in the past, and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported the team “could be very aggressive” in the draft.
“Everyone I talk to believes the 49ers are open to moving up, potentially for a speed receiver,” Rapoport said in an NFL Network video report. “When you talk to 49ers sources, that is what they are missing for their offense. They have a ton of picks, and with a ton of picks, not all those guys are going to make their team.
“And oh, by the way, I do think the two coaches of those teams, they may know each other a little bit. I think a deal could get done.”
I don’t want to jump to any conclusions yet. #17 in the 1st Round is rare ground for the Ravens. Maybe they should stay put and draft a guy they really want who could be a difference-maker. But if “that guy” isn’t there, they would be foolish not to at least listen to trade offers from the 49ers and other teams in later draft slots.