Ravens' first pick might be on the trading block

BALTIMORE - Crystallizing the Baltimore Ravens' intentions toward the upcoming NFL Draft isn't only a matter of deducing franchises' draft boards. Although the league rumor mill isn't always based on reality, figuring out what the Ravens might do with the 10th overall pick of the first round means perusing the trading block. During a press conference Tuesday afternoon at Ravens Stadium, Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome acknowledged the likelihood of impending trade discussions.

In all probability, that means either compiling a package of selections to move up to select Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich, or shifting downward to obtain fast-rising Cal quarterback Kyle Boller.

Both players have been linked to Baltimore in several mock drafts. Boller has already visited, and Leftwich is expected to visit this week.

"Starting on Monday, I think the phones will be buzzing," Newsome said. "We are in the business of trading this year."

Possible trade partners for Baltimore to acquire Leftwich are the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys or Minnesota Vikings, who hold the fourth, seventh and eighth overall selections.

Moving up at the top of the draft tends to be expensive, including at least a first and a second-round pick and perhaps even more.

Baltimore has extra ammunition for trades with 11 picks, including four compensatory selections it's not allowed to swap. Moving down might mean a swap with the New Orleans Saints, the owner of the 17th and 18th selections, or the Oakland Raiders.

With needs at quarterback, defensive line, wide receiver, offensive line and defensive back, the Ravens could also stay put in the first round with a selection they've held in four of eight drafts.

Among the possibilities at No. 10: Georgia defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan, Oklahoma State defensive tackle Kevin Williams and Washington State cornerback Marcus Trufant. Elite defensive lineman like Kentucky's Dewayne Robertson and Penn State's Jimmy Kennedy, Arizona State's Terrell Suggs or Utah offensive tackle Jordan Gross are unlikely to slide quite that far.

"We believe we'll come away with a football player that can impact this team," said Newsome, adding that ongoing negotiations with free agent outside linebacker Jamir Miller and receiver Frank Sanders and offensive tackle Orlando Brown's presence won't affect the Ravens' actions. "If you don't get the phone to ring, then you have to pick."

Baltimore could also address the quarterback spot with, say, Texas' Chris Simms or Louisville's Dave Ragone later in the first day, or target receivers in the second round such as Penn State's Bryant Johnson, Florida's Taylor Jacobs or Illinois' Brandon Lloyd.

Newsome said the Ravens will hold a series of internal meetings before finalizing the draft board a week from Thursday.

"That will be the last opportunity for our scouts to stand up on a table for a player," Newsome said. "We live in that room on conviction."

Meanwhile, Ravens coach Brian Billick cautioned observers from assuming quarterback conversation means that the team has soured on starter Chris Redman. Redman is on the mend from back surgery, but is expected to be available at minicamps.

"We have a lot of faith in Chris Redman," Billick said. "No one should misconstrue if we take a quarterback with that first-round pick, or anywhere in the draft, that indicates a displeasure or the fact that we've given up on Chris Redman. That's not the case."

Whatever the Ravens ultimately decide to do with their draft picks, Baltimore sounded convinced that it was building a contender a year removed from an extensive salary-cap purge. Unable to participate in free agency, the Ravens had a 7-9 campaign that left them in third place in the AFC North last season.

"I think we're on the road back," director of pro personnel Phil Savage said. "We're excited about what we can add to this team in the draft. Last year was kind of the first half of retooling the team. This draft will be the second half."

NOTES: The Ravens hosted Johnson, a Baltimore native, on Tuesday. Some analysts project the 6-2, 214-pound Johnson toward the end of the first round or the early second round. … Ravens officials said they recently hosted Georgia offensive tackle George Foster, another first-day prospect, mentioning Maryland defensive end Durrand Roundtree as an impending visitor, too. … Next year, director of college scouting Eric DeCosta will organize the draft as Savage takes on additional personnel chores. With former pro personnel director James Harris's move to Jacksonville and the promotion of his former assistant, George Kokinis, there's an assistant director of pro personnel opening likely to be filled from within after the draft. … The Ravens' Spring Football Festival at Ravens Stadium from 11 to 5 p.m. on April 26 includes players Todd Heap, Edwin Mulitalo and Edgerton Hartwell, cheerleaders, mascots and the Baha Men. For ticket information, call 410-261-RAVE. … Safety Will Demps is participating in a panel of athletes and coaches today for the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Baltimore Marriott.


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