2011 NFL Draft: The Baltimore Ravens, Trades, Rumors and the 2nd Round
The Baltimore Ravens may have done the best of any team in the AFC North of setting themselves up for next year. The Browns and Bengals had too many holes to fill for only one round of the NFL Draft. That leaves just the Steelers and Ravens looking for a first-round prospect that can keep them contending.
Oddly enough, both teams share similar needs. Most pressing for both would have been the need for a starting cornerback. You could also make the argument that an offensive tackle would be an area they both need to address.
Only the Ravens looked to improve on those areas, however. Baltimore chose to address their injury-plagued and underachieving secondary by drafting Jimmy Smith with the 27th overall selection.
That's right, I said they made Jimmy Smith their selection with the 27th overall selection.
The Ravens were supposed to be picking 26th overall, but they let the time run out on the clock and were passed up by the Kansas City Chiefs, who quickly made Jonathan Baldwin their first-round selection. The Ravens were considering a deep threat wide receiver, which Baldwin is.
How quickly the Chiefs reacted makes me think that the Ravens may have been considering Baldwin, and the the Chiefs wanted to move in and select him quickly before the Ravens had the chance to.
The Ravens seemingly missed their pick because they were negotiating a trade with the Chicago Bears to move back. Those negotiations broke off with no time remaining and the Ravens subsequently lost their pick.
The big news on the rumor mill today is the fallout caused by that drop in the draft. Now the Ravens have supposedly had Jimmy Smith rated highest on their draft board for some time, but that won't stop them from using Baldwin as a bargaining chip.
The Ravens and Bears were in talks to swap first-round picks and for Chicago to send their fourth-round pick to Baltimore. According to the Ravens, their was a miscommunication, and the Bears did not inform the league of the trade.
The Ravens are appealing for the Bears fourth-round pick, although it is expected they will lose that appeal.
Some speculate that the Bears and Ravens will work to get a deal done in the second round, and the Bears will be able to move up and select a wide receiver with their pick.
The Ravens second round could also include a wide receiver. Some thought that Jonathan Baldwin would still be available by the time the Ravens chose in the second round. That is obviously out the window at this point.
Instead, the Ravens will likely look toward adding an offensive tackle or a defensive end.
The Ravens could try their luck at tackle and select Ben Ijalana of Villanova. Although Ijalana played for a small school, he is a big guy with big upside. It wouldn't be as tough for Ijalana to learn right tackle in the NFL, and it would allow the Ravens to move Marshall Yanda back to his normal spot at guard.
The Ravens could also target Justin Houston, who has seen his stock drop significantly. Houston is being called a "tweener." Some feel he is too small for defensive end and too big for outside linebacker. The uncertainty of Sergio Kindle's playing career also leaves room for the team to draft an outside linebacker.
The Ravens could always reach for a speedy receiving target here as well. Some expect the Ravens to select UNC wideout Greg Little or Tandon Doss of Indiana. I think it is still too soon for the Ravens to add a receiving target here, but if they were to draft a wide receiver, I would think the Ravens first choice would be Randall Cobb of Kentucky.
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