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Realistic Draft-Day Trade Possibilities for the Baltimore Ravens

Shehan PeirisCorrespondent IIIApril 29, 2014

Realistic Draft-Day Trade Possibilities for the Baltimore Ravens

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    Patrick Semansky

    Baltimore Ravens fans are very familiar with the first-round options on the table for general manager Ozzie Newsome when he makes the 17th pick of the 2014 NFL draft. But we also know that Newsome isn’t afraid to move around the draft board to go after a player he likes or to accumulate more draft picks.

    Most mock drafts don’t project trades, but this slideshow gives you five possible trade partners for the Ravens to move up or down the draft board.

    NFL GMs have a chart that assesses a value to every draft pick, and I have used this chart (via DraftTek.com) to come up with fair trades for both sides.

    Each slide presents the breakdown of the trade (complete with all picks involved and the relative trade values according to the chart), as well as reasons why the trade makes sense for each party.

    The Ravens are in the uncharacteristic position of picking in the middle of the first round which gives them the chance to add a real difference-maker. On the other hand, Newsome has to like the thought of accumulating more picks in such a deep draft class to shore up a handful of positions on the roster.

    Consequently, don’t be surprised to see any of these deals go down on May 8.

St. Louis Rams

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
    Rams ReceiveRavens Receive
    Round 1, Pick 17Round 1, Pick 13
    Round 3, Pick 79 
    Trade Value: 1145Trade Value: 1150

     

    Why This Makes Sense for St. Louis

    The Rams already have a bundle of picks, but they would pick up an extra third-round pick here by only moving down four spots. Their first pick of the draft (second overall) is normally the one mentioned as trade bait, but giving that pick up would mean passing on a truly elite player from this draft class.

    That isn’t the case here, and GM Les Snead would still have the opportunity to possibly add Calvin Pryor, Odell Beckham Jr., Zack Martin or Taylor Lewan depending on which player/position takes his fancy. Unless the Rams are sold on Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, this trade makes a lot of sense for them.

     

    Why This Makes Sense for Baltimore

    Newsome is much more likely to trade down and accumulate more picks than he is to go the other direction, so this is the only trade on this slideshow that has the Ravens moving up the draft board.

    There are only two players I would consider trading up for if I were in Newsome’s shoes, and both of them are possibilities if this trade goes through: Mike Evans and Clinton-Dix.

    The receiving corps is solid, but the future is still unclear given Steve Smith’s age and Torrey Smith’s impending free agency. Regardless of what happens, the roster still lacks a legitimate “No. 1 receiver” who can alter defensive game plans. Evans is that receiver, with a cruel combination of size, athleticism and hands.

    Evans is a perfect target for Joe Flacco—a quarterback who loves to let it fly and trust his receivers to make the play. He’d be an instant starter and has the potential to be a top-10 receiver in this league.

    On the other side of the ball, Clinton-Dix is the most well-rounded safety prospect in this draft with great size, instincts and range. He would fill Ed Reed’s shoes as a true center fielder roaming the backfield and form a dynamic young safety duo with Matt Elam.

    Either player is definitely worth trading up for since they both look like future stars at the professional level. A future seventh-round pick may need to be thrown in to make the trade more even, but the overall asking price for a dominant player makes it a good deal for the Ravens.

Houston Texans

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images
    Texans ReceiveRavens Receive
    Round 1, Pick 17Round 2, Pick 33
     Round 3, Pick 65
     Round 4, Pick 101
     Round 7, Pick 216
    Trade Value: 950Trade Value: 946

     

    Why This Makes Sense for Houston

    This trade only makes sense for the Texans if the perfect scenario unfolds. Two things need to occur for that to happen: Houston needs to pass on a QB at pick No. 1, and then a QB the Texans like needs to fall past the Tennessee Titans.

    If Houston passes on a signal-caller with the first overall pick, chances are that they will be happy to select a gunslinger with their second-round pick (e.g. Derek Carr, A.J. McCarron, Zach Mettenberger, etc.).

    But if one of the top three quarterbacks (Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel) gets past Tennessee at pick No. 11, the Texans may jump at the chance to add one of them.

    So why trade with Baltimore? For starters, Newsome’s penchant for trading down is well-known, but the Ravens are also in the right spot. The New York Jets pick right after Baltimore, and they may want one of those falling QBs given the ugliness of their situation under center.

    The Texans would also jump ahead of the Arizona Cardinals (No. 20) and Cleveland Browns (No. 26) who may also be in the market for a quarterback.

    Four draft picks is a small price to pay if you’re getting a franchise quarterback in return, and the Texans don’t have that many needs to plug up anyway.

     

    Why This Makes Sense for Baltimore

    Giving up a first-round pick means the Ravens may miss out on the chance to add an elite player who falls down the board, but Newsome would be getting three mid-round picks in return to make up for it.

    This trade would result in Baltimore having two picks in Round 2, three in Round 3 and three in Round 4. Given the depth of this draft class, the Day 2 picks could all be potential starters, and the Ravens are sure to get some very talented players with the additional picks in the middle of the draft.

    Furthermore, the top of Round 2 means the Ravens move ahead of the safety-needy teams and gives them a chance to draft Jimmie Ward if that’s the route they choose to pursue.

Jacksonville Jaguars/Minnesota Vikings

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
    Jaguars/Vikings ReceiveRavens Receive (from Jacksonville)Ravens Receive (from Minnesota)
    Round 1, Pick 17Round 2, Pick 39Round 2, Pick 40
     Round 3, Pick 70Round 3, Pick 72
     Round 4, Pick 105Round 3, Pick 96
     Round 4, Pick 114Round 4, Pick 108
     Round 5, Pick 144Round 6, Pick 184
     Round 6, Pick 205 
     Round 7, Pick 222 
    Trade Value: 950Trade Value: 946Trade Value: 941.8

     

    Why This Makes Sense for Jacksonville/Minnesota

    These two teams are grouped together because they are both in similar situations (and because these are the two least likely of the trades on this list). Both desperately need a quarterback to right the ship, so both are candidates to trade back into the first round to select a quarterback who falls down the draft board.

    Both franchises would need to give up a lot of draft picks this year to make it work (or a third-round pick next year instead of many Day 3 picks in 2014), but a franchise quarterback is worth an entire draft class.

    Furthermore, both organizations are desperate for a quarterback, so they may not be able to resist the chance to add a falling QB in the middle of the first round.

     

    Why This Makes Sense for Baltimore

    The sheer number of draft picks the Ravens would receive in this scenario is staggering. It gives Newsome so many opportunities to pluck talented players from such a deep draft class, but it also gives him the ammunition to be aggressive and trade up for players who catch his eye.

    Baltimore has done a great job of rebuilding on the fly, but there are still a lot of positions that need depth. A trade like this would be the perfect vehicle for the Ravens to shore up their depth chart with a lot of young and talented players.

San Francisco 49ers

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images
    49ers ReceiveRavens Receive
    Round 1, Pick 17Round 1, Pick 30
     Round 3, Pick 77
     Round 3, Pick 94
    Trade Value: 950Trade Value: 949

     

    Why This Makes Sense for San Francisco

    According to ESPN Insider Chris Mortensen (h/t to Bill Williamson of ESPN.com), there have been rumblings that the San Francisco 49ers are preparing to make an aggressive move up the draft board in the first round.

    Mortensen suggested Evans as a possible target for them, but that would cost them an enormous amount of their draft picks considering that he’s certainly a top-15 pick. The more realistic move for the Niners is a move to the middle of the first round, and Baltimore is a perfect trade partner.

    San Francisco’s two big needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, and acquiring Baltimore’s first-round pick puts them in a brilliant position to land a stud at either position.

    The 49ers would leapfrog a number of teams (Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, San Diego Chargers, Browns and Carolina Panthers) that are in the market for a receiver or corner, allowing GM Trent Baalke to select the player he really wants as opposed to waiting for the scraps left by the other teams.

    Even after the trade, San Francisco still has nine picks so this is a no-brainer for them since it gives them the chance to land Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard.

     

    Why This Makes Sense for Baltimore

    As has already been discussed, the middle rounds of this draft are much more talented than your normal draft, so picking up two third-round picks is a lovely haul for Ozzie Newsome.

    Furthermore, the Ravens still have a first-round pick for a chance to grab a player such as Jimmie Ward, Allen Robinson, Morgan Moses or Ra’Shede Hageman.

     

     

    Shehan Peiris is B/R's Lead Featured Columnist covering the Baltimore Ravens and a co-host of Ravens Central Radio, a weekly podcast on the Pro Football Central radio network that focuses on all things Ravens-related. For the latest Ravens news, draft analysis and links to episodes of Ravens Central Radio, follow me on Twitter:

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