Several scenarios available to Ravens
How the Ravens act, or potentially barter, their 10th overall pick in today's first round is likely to be predicated by general manager Ozzie Newsome's trade discussions with his colleagues around the league. "I still could make a trade, yes," Newsome said late Friday afternoon, hours after the announcement of the Chicago Bears exchanging their fourth overall pick for the New York Jets' No 13 and No. 22 selections. Whether Baltimore manages to maneuver high enough in the first round to obtain Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich likely depends upon acquiring the Minnesota Vikings' seventh overall selection. Leftwich is a traditional pocket passer at 6-foot-5 and 236 pounds, and a former understudy of the successful New York Jets starter Chad Pennington. He has apparently answered aquestions about his twice-fractured left tibia with an audition in Florida attended by a large delegation from Baltimore. The Washington, D.C. native also visited the Ravens' training complex and passed a physical. If Baltimore wants to stay at its current selection of the first round, massive Penn State defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy remains a strong possibility. However, the Vikings are seeking competent assistance for tackle Chris Hovan, which complicates a pursuit of the Nittany Lions' 330-pound "Grizzly Bear." Plus, Newsome said that he anticipated talking Friday evening or by this morning with Jacksonville Jaguars vice president of player personnel James "Shack" Harris, his close friend and former director of player personnel. There's an element of gamesmanship afoot as Newsome tries to ascertain the legitimacy of Harris' interest in Leftwich at No. 8 overall over other possibilities like Washington State cornerback Marcus Trufant, Utah offensive tackle Jordan Gross or Kennedy. "It's going to be some cat-and-mouse," Newsome said of chatting with Harris. "It will also be informative. I trust him. He trusts me. We'll be able to talk through some things, but there will also be some mixed signals that will be sent back and forth. "You have to realize that we were together for five years, so we know each other pretty well. And he has a very good poker face." The Ravens have also reportedly engaged in talks with the Dallas Cowboys (No. 5) and Arizona Cardinals (No. 6 ) as well as exploring the benefits of trading backward in the first round and still acquiring talented Cal quarterback Kyle Boller. Baltimore apparently doesn't value Boller highly enough to choose him at No. 10. Clubs interested in moving up to take advantage of the wealth of defensive linemen are the New Orleans Saints (No. 17 and No. 18), New England Patriots (No. 14 and No. 19) and Kansas City Chiefs (No. 16). Trufant is also a consideration for New Orleans. One of the chief differences between Boller and Leftwich is Boller was more of a one-season success story under Golden Bears coach Jeff Tedford. Boller passed for 2,815 yards, 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in a 7-5 season last year while being asked to only read half of the field. Boller is capable of throwing a football through the uprights from one knee on the 50-yard line and has 4.59 speed. Leftwich passed for nearly 12,000 career yards with 89 touchdowns and 28 interceptions on 65.1 percent accuracy. His cumulative quarterback rating for the Thundering Herd: 150.94. "I think Byron is a terrific pure passer, one of the best to really come into the draft in quite a while in terms of accuracy," Ravens director of player personnel Phil Savage said. "He has more than just a fastball. I think his character and charisma brings a lot to the table. Whenever I've left the stadium, I've thought he has his act together." Besides all of the intrigue about potential trades, Ravens coach Brian Billick squashed Internet reports regarding any division over what course of action should be taken at quarterback. According to one report, Billick favored Boller and the personnel department wanted Leftwich. "Our job is to make a decision, not just develop consensus although Ozzie does a good a job as anyone in the league at that," Billick said. "Our perspective will be a unified perspective whatever it is we do." And if Baltimore winds up with a defensive lineman like Kennedy, Arizona State pass rusher Terrell Suggs, Gross or Trufant? "If that pick represents more value and we have to bypass a quarterback, we have that laid out properly," Billick said, "I will be equally excited because I will know we're getting a great player in either circumstance."
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