As most Ravens fans undoubtedly know, the first round last night involved a slight hiccup. The Baltimore Ravens owned the No. 26 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but according to official terminology "passed" on the pick. In other words, they messed up.
I am sure I was not alone in my confusion as I watched the draft unfold last night and the Kansas City Chiefs, holders of the No. 27 overall pick, got the 26th selection, which they quickly used on Pittsburgh WR Jon Baldwin.
As Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome explained in his postgame press conference, he believed that he had a trade in place with another team—the Chicago Bears—to move back to the No. 29 overall pick in exchange for a fourth-round selection. The Bears had wanted to jump ahead of Kansas City to select Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi.
Chicago Bears GM Jerry Angelo has since taken full responsibility for the gaffe and issued a public apology to the Baltimore franchise, saying that for whatever reason no Bears representative phoned the NFL to confirm the trade, leaving the Ravens in a position where the clock ran out on them and they were asked to make a pick, which they used on Colorado CB Jimmy Smith, as many draftniks have predicted.
Now, I love Jimmy Smith. I am glad the Ravens got him—he is a big, talented guy at what I believe to be a need position for the Ravens. He is a player in the mold of the long-departed Chris McAlister. I could not be happier with Baltimore's first-round selection.
However, Chicago's gaffe put the Ravens in the unenviable position of possibly losing the guy they wanted to draft who was still on the board. And, as it turns out, no one took Gabe Carimi before Chicago's pick at No. 29 overall, so the Bears also got their guy. Luckily, in this case, there appears to be no real harm done—well, except for the fact that the Ravens had a deal and did not get their extra pick.
My guess is that no compensation will be forthcoming. But I think a legitimate argument can be made that Chicago should be forced to yield the fourth-round selection it was originally going to use in the trade to the Ravens. A fourth-round pick may not seem like much, but it is simply the right thing to do. It is the Bears' fault and in my opinion they should be forced to pay the penalty, which is by no means a franchise-crippling one.
Again, the silver lining is that both teams got their top choices at need positions anyway, so major damage was not done. And as we know all too well right now, the NFL is a business, not something based on any kind of honor code. I don't expect my opinion to mean much, and of course, I am biased. Still, I think I have a legitimate case on this one- thank you for reading.