There have already been exploratory calls back with the St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets about the expensive cost of moving up. It’s believed the Jets’ sixth overall pick is as high as the Ravens would be willing to move up with trade discussions involving the Ravens’ fourth-round pick as well as additional compensation.
Under most trade scenarios, the Ravens seem to lack the ammunition to move up from the eighth overall spot to grab Ryan because their third-round pick is an untradeable compensatory selection.
If the Rams draft LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, it’s believed that the Falcons would likely turn the card in on Ryan third overall rather than overload at defensive end with Virginia’s gritty Chris Long or Ohio State’s tempting workout warrior Vernon Gholston.
If the Rams get Long and Atlanta picks Dorsey, the Kansas City Chiefs are considered unlikely to draft Ryan with the fifth overall pick. Even though incumbent Brodie Croyle isn’t a sure thing, the Chiefs need to replace pass rusher Jared Allen and improve its offensive line.
The Chiefs are likely to field calls about trading down.
At sixth overall, the Jets are enamored of Arkansas runner Darren McFadden. However, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis loves flashy, speedy athletes and might pick him fourth overall. That could prompt the Jets to trade back with Baltimore.
The uncertainty above them is why the Ravens have multiple contingency plans in case Ryan is wearing a different team’s baseball cap and jersey today.
Calling an audible from the preferred plan of obtaining Ryan could simply mean standing pat and drafting stout USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis.
It’s believed that Ellis is one of the Ravensâ€™ top-rated prospects on their draft board, certainly no lower than the eighth-best player.
However, Ellis doesn’t really fit a need because of Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngataâ€™s presence.
"Heâ€™s one of my most favorite players in the draft based on the way that he plays, his demeanor, his tempo, his aggressiveness," director of college scouting Eric DeCosta said. "He plays like a Raven.â€
"The year we got Suggs and the year we got McAlister, they were ranked very high for us," DeCosta said. "I don’t think it’s inconceivable that we might get a player in our top three this year."
Since it’s a rich, deep draft, it would make a lot of sense for the Ravens, who have nine selections, to stockpile picks by trading back.
"I don’t lose interest in nine through 14 because we might be picking nine through 14," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "They might want to make a trade up, but the integrity of the board stays all the way through."
Clady visited the Ravens a week ago and Albert, a 6-7, 315-pounder from Glen Burnie, impressed team officials with his intellect and personality during a visit last month.
Either lineman could be potential replacements for All-Pro left tackle Jonathan Ogden, who’s leaning toward retiring but hasn’t made it official yet.
"A lot of athleticism, moves very well," Newsome said of Clady. "He’s going to be a good player for somebody."
If Ryan and Ellis are off the board and the top two offensive tackles are bypassed, Baltimore could trade back to the New Orleans Saints’ 10th spot. If the Saints fail to trade up for Dorsey, they could settle for Ellis.
It’s worth noting, though, that Newsome rarely drafts small-school players during the first day with slow-developing third-round cornerback David Pittman the exception to that rule.
â€œI think people would say cornerback would be a need,â€ DeCosta said. â€œI think we tried to address that a couple years ago, and the jury is still out on some of those guys we brought in. There is work to be done there.â€
It’s considered unlikely that Baltimore would draft USC linebacker Keith Rivers at No. 8 even though DeCosta called him a "safe, no-brainer type pick."
Out of the Ravensâ€™ seven top 10 picks, five have earned Pro Bowl distinction, including Ogden, McAlister, Jamal Lewis, Peter Boulware and Suggs. That’s the most of any team during the past dozen years.
"We just rate the players," DeCosta said. "There’s no science to it. The elite players really show up. Just like when you’re driving down a neighborhood, you see a million-dollar home versus a $300,000 home, and you know which is the million-dollar home.â€