OWINGS MILLS – Heading into a rich NFL draft, the Baltimore Ravens aren’t equipped with normal ammunition in terms of picks.
Holding five selections currently after trading third-round and fourth-round picks for Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin, the Ravens would love to stockpile picks.
That apparently won’t come at the expense of trading starting offensive tackle Jared Gaither.
Gaither has been the subject of multiple trade rumors with teams such as the Dallas Cowboys supposedly being willing to send their second-round pick to Baltimore in exchange for him.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome didn’t completely rule out the possibility of moving Gaither, but indicated that he hasn’t spoken with any NFL teams about the former University of Maryland lineman.
"No, I have not had any dialogue with any ball clubs about Jared," Newsome said Tuesday during a draft press luncheon. "When it comes to making trades of our players, then we put a value on what we think that player is worth. The same thing that Arizona did with Anquan, they put a value on what they thought he was worth and we were the team that met that value. So, that is what we would do if it came to that.
"I guess there are sources in this building, I never know who they are, but I have yet to field any calls from any team about any of our players this offseason. We look at it and say, ‘Up until someone offers something really, really enticing, then these are our players.’"
The Ravens currently hold the 25th overall selection of the first round.
Among the viable possibilities for the pick: Penn State defensive lineman Jared Odrick, Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham, Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson, Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty, Michigan outside linebacker-defensive end Brandon Graham and Florida center Maurkice Pouncey.
Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, who visited the Ravens last Friday and Saturday, is another potential link because he’s sliding due to concerns about his character.
"We are not averse to taking risks, but we do our homework," Newsome said. "We have very good scouts."
Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta spoke highly of massive Alabama nose guard Terrence "Mount" Cody, who has visited the Ravens, and Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams.
"We love those guys," DeCosta said. "Traditionally, we always had a lot of success with those big, run-stuffing guys. I think Dan Williams is a really good player, very unlikely that he will be there at 25. I think he’ll come off the board very quickly. He can two-gap and rush the passer a little bit, deceptive athlete.
"I think Cody’s just a guy you can’t move. He’s a 350-pound guy, very strong at the point of attack, a deceptive athlete, very good feet in a short area. With all the 3-4 teams in the NFL now, I think both those guys are going to be very hot commodities."
Trading back is almost always a difficult proposition.
It’s even tougher when you consider the influx of 53 juniors who have collectively boosted a solid draft into what’s regarded as an excellent draft in terms of overall quality beyond the first-round prospects.
"We have to be ready to pick at 25," Newsome said. "The only way you’re able to trade back is if you have a trading partner. If the phone doesn’t ring, then you have to pick. If [it’s your turn to] pick, then you have to weigh the player that could be there versus moving back and taking the additional pick."
Newsome isn’t opposed to moving up if there’s a player he covets.
Last year, he maneuvered up to the 23rd overall pick by trading his 26th overall selection and a fifth-round pick to the New England Patriots.
And the Ravens wound up with gifted Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher, an all-rookie selection.
"There are a lot of ways to build your football team," Newsome said. "If we feel like someone starts to come down the board and he can impact our football team, impact it on a way that can afford ourselves to do some things on our roster, yeah we will move up and get that guy.
"Last year, I said the chances of us moving up were not very good, and what did I do? I moved up. So you just never know. You have to be prepared to go either way."
Although the Ravens would love to get some more picks like their AFC North rivals, the lack of selections doesn’t seem to faze Newsome.
Having Boldin, a three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, makes it worth it to him.
"Does it bother me that [AFC North rivals] probably don’t have as good of players as we have in Baltimore? No," Newsome said. "I’m better off with Anquan Boldin than I am to be sitting here with six picks. You’d probably see some sweat on my brow."
NOTE: Newsome reiterated that he still expects Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed to return. Reed has been dealing with a painful nerve impingement of his neck and has said he’ll contemplate retirement.
Newsome said he hasn’t spoken with Reed, who has communicated with other team personnel.
"The way I look at it is up until they send a letter into the league saying they’re retiring, then they’re a Raven," Newsome said. "Until I get the information from the league that they’ve sent that letter, then right now I expect him to play in that very first game. If he sends that letter in, then that’s a different story."