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Don’t Expect the Ravens to Leap for Sammy Watkins

NFL Draft Don’t Expect the Ravens to Leap for Sammy Watkins

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The NFL Draft is three months away, which means we have three months to uncover every scenario for the Baltimore Ravens.

One scenario has already made its rounds, and is sure to strengthen as May approaches.

But we can put it to rest before it’s too late.

The Baltimore Ravens won’t be trading up for Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, nor should they.

Russell Street Report’s Tony Lombardi kicked off the discussion on this site last month and he’s surely not the only one to present the scenario.

With all due respect to the man who runs RSR, we have a disagreement.

Let’s first start off with why the Ravens won’t trade up for Watkins, before we dive into why they shouldn’t.

We have to travel back in time to April 26, 2003.

The Ravens entered draft day with the need for a new face of the franchise at quarterback.

When it came time for the Ravens to make the 10th overall selection, they opted to take Arizona State defensive end Terrell Suggs (that worked out well).

Nine picks later, the future of the franchise changed.

Without another first round pick, general manager Ozzie Newsome worked the phones to cut a deal with the New England Patriots for the 19th overall pick.

It cost Baltimore the hefty price of their 2003 second round pick and a first round pick in 2004.

They found their then franchise quarterback in Kyle Boller.

A bold move that at the time looked like a promising one.

Now almost exactly 11 years since that draft day, the Ravens have a Super Bowl-winning quarterback not named Kyle Boller, who retired in 2012 after playing his last NFL game in 2011.

What did Newsome learn that day?

If you’re going to bet the house on a player, that player better work out.

The Ravens made the playoffs just twice in the five years between when Boller was selected and when Joe Flacco was brought in.

Newsome’s bold decision would likely lead to most NFL general managers losing their job, but luckily for Ozzie, his track record has outweighed the rare catastrophic failure that happened in 2003.

What have the Ravens done since drafting Boller?

One thing: they discovered a newfound value for draft picks.

Both Newsome and Eric DeCosta have publicly expressed their affection for draft picks, and most importantly their desire to trade down on draft day, which happens almost on an annual basis.

What don’t they do on draft day anymore? Trade up while giving away high draft picks like they did in 2003.

So how does this relate to Watkins?

No matter what the perception is of Watkins, there’s nothing about him that will result in the Ravens trading up for him. He could be the next Jerry Rice (which he isn’t, but just for argument’s sake), and it still wouldn’t happen.

Baltimore’s determination to capitalize on staying put or trading down has worked thus far, and as the old adage goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Just remember, this is a front office that traded BACK in the draft before eventually moving up to get their FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK in 2008. Baltimore values picks so much that Newsome and Co. decided to forgo the option of taking Flacco with their original 2008 pick, trading back and risking him being selected by another team.

For a team with as many needs as the current Ravens, now would be one of the worst times to change a trend that has worked fairly well.

Also a quick reminder because it appears some may need it: it’s easy to say “trade up and take (insert any player’s name).”

Only one problem: there actually has to be a team willing to trade down.

Back to the task at hand.

This year’s wide receiver class is as deep as ever, perhaps the deepest of the past decade.

Is this really the type of year to give up multiple Top-100 picks for a receiver who isn’t considerably better than other receivers in his class?

In terms of playmaking ability with the ball in his hands, Watkins is uncontested.

Getting the ball to him and letting him make plays after the catch was the base of Clemson’s passing game.

Here’s an example of what Watkins can do after the catch.

Plays like that are a consistent theme of Watkins’ game.

But is someone who does his damage after the catch worth what some think he’s worth?

That’s up for discussion.

Watkins is much more than a speed receiver, and he’s not a 2014 version of Cordarrelle Patterson, who does his work exclusively after the catch.

He can work his way through intermediate routes, and has the extension to make plays on balls.

But he’s far from the refined receiver, as his ball skills are a here-and-there trend as opposed to a consistent trait.

Watkins may be the most dynamic receiver in this year’s class, but he’s not the most refined or the most reliable.

It depends on who you ask, but if I’m trading a first, second and third-round pick possibly just to move up in the first round for a receiver, I want a sure-thing, franchise-changing type of player.

It’s hard to think Watkins is surely going to be that.

Don’t get your hopes up, Ravens fans.

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Kyle Casey

About Kyle Casey

Kyle's love of pro and college football stems from his passion for the Baltimore Ravens. He has held season ticket in section 542 of M&T Bank Stadium since 2004. He is a senior Mass Communications student at Towson University. More from Kyle Casey

i hope we go o line first and second round everything on offense starts with good o line play running and passing game will excel if the have holes or lanes to run in and time for joe to pass.


ozzie will trade down for certain. most ravens fans knew the boller move was on billick and never thought it was the right one. the ravens tried to move up for leftwich (not much of an upgrade) instead of drafting boller. just for the record boller was horrible.

Jon Fazzone
Jon Fazzone

Its on Ozzie Now...We Need Playmakers on O and D...We Can't Afford 3 Average Drafts in a Row... S MElam was our ONLY Contributor from last years Draft and he is Nothing Special...A 5'9 Strong Safety? Really!!! ...Oz should have traded out of the 1st Round last year...Just not sure if would have taken the right guy though...We traded out and took a player in CUpshaw who has Bust written on the Front of his Training Camp Helmet...It doesn't matter if u trade up or down...It's Drafting the Right Player that Matters...Coaching Matters and so Does Drafting...If Ozzie Drafts like he did Last Year its going to Cost Harbaugh his Job !!!


I don't buy into the hype. IMO, Watkins isnt even the 2nd best WR in this draft. I'll take Evans and Lee over him all day. That being said... his speed and acceleration is going to make it extremely hard for teams to pass on him. I think when its all said and done he falls out of the top 10...but talent wise I wouldn't be surprised if he was a top 5 pick this year. Hit or miss prospect in my opinion. If we pass on an elite tackle and choose to go the route of finding a weapon for Joe then I hope its one of the 3: -Mike Evans -Marqise Lee -Jace Amaro

theodore powell
theodore powell

Watkin is the next paul Warfield. ..those small safety...get big like seahawks..variety of defense. ..some 6-4 or 6-5 with range...elam is too small


You can say whatever you want about the trading down. It actually did not work very well. In the past several years, Ozzie gave up first round picks twice for early second round picks plus later rounds. You are fooling yourself if you think that was smart. Ozzie sometimes tried too hard to act like a magician. The outcome for those moves is pathetic. He thought he could find first round talent in early second round but he never did. Forget about him magic moves on draft days. His draft day performance has been disappointing for the past several years.


I'm not saying the Ravens should trade up for Watkins but recent trades up for Oher, Reid, Pierce and Arthur Browns very much suggests they are willing to trade up if they believe the right player is there. In fact a quick count of Ravens draft trades over the last 5 years says they traded up 5 times and down 3 times. In no way does this support any theory of them being more likely to trade down than up.


All I know is I just want the Ravens to draft a receiver early this year.I am tired of watching certain guys get drafted by other teams every year that I liked and watch them get drafted by other teams.I remember wanting Eric Decker, I remember wanting Alshon Jefferey instead of C. Upshaw I wanted us to take Keenan Allen last year instead of Aurthur Brown and several others over the years. We need to address this position early and often this year.I also say with the drafts best position this year being WR I would not mind seeing us double dip .Maybe the first round and then again in the let's say 4th round after the comp picks are rewared. You are paying Flacco a boat load of money and we have to get him some weapons if he produces like he did this past year with a bunch of new toys to play with then we will know that in 3 years when his contract really kicks in that we may have to consider getting another qb because he will not worth that 20 something million cap hit if he performs like he did this past year.

Boldin Raver
Boldin Raver

I remember looking at these big boards a month ago, when Watkins was a top receiver but a dozen or so below where he's rated now. I hope people keep hyping this guy and other skill players like him - you mentioned Ebron in another post before Kiper mocked him to us, but I'm glad you're sounding caution -- as teams in front of the Ravens fall victim to shiny object syndrome, the Ravens will scoop up someone who grades out six or seven spots higher, effectively giving us a legitimate top-ten pick. Probably some boring ole D-or-O lineman who will dominate for a decade. Team doesn't always get to pick this high, so hoping for the hype to help. BTW Kyle, love the way you incorporate video into your presentations, and you pick relevant and interesting topics with the best of them, IMO.


trade down and pick a big TE and a WR!


OL is important obviously but I tell you what if you have receivers who can't run routes and get open it's not going to matter how good your line is either we need playmankers as well and thus there is no way you can spend the first 2 picks on OL.


Correction: 4 trades up (not 5) in the last 5 years.


Big difference between giving up a day three pick(s) to move up a few spots like in the examples you mentioned, and what it'd take to move up for Watkins. Not comparable scenarios.


That depends on how high Watkins goes and whether he falls out of the top 10. I agree the Ravens are not likely to make a blockbuster trade for a WR. But saying they are more likely to trade down than up is pure speculation unsupported by any facts. In fact, the recent facts that do exist say they are slightly more likely to move up a few spots than down.


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