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THE GRAPEVINE: Ravens News, Notes and Rumors

Lombardi's Way THE GRAPEVINE: Ravens News, Notes and Rumors

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Time has a way of providing clarity.

Today something may seem rather obvious only to be proven wrong in years to come. Things that are a bit fuzzy now may force you to take pause in the future and ponder, “How did I miss that?”

Such is the nature of the NFL Draft.

One pick too early or too late could alter a career, the future of a franchise or the sports heritage of a city.

Just ask the NFL fans in Boston.

Back in 2002 with the 24th pick in the NFL Draft the Ravens took the 24th rated player on their board. Never before or since has it happened that the Ravens didn’t have higher rated options to choose from.

With the 23rd pick the Oakland Raiders selected Napoleon Harris, the 23rd rated player on the Ravens’ board and a player the Ravens would have selected. But the choice was forced upon Ozzie Newsome who stayed true to the team’s by picking their 24th rated player – Ed Reed.

trips-miami-2014-300x250A few years from now we may look back and consider similar twists of fate delivered by this year’s draft.

The Ravens lost a coin flip to the Dallas Cowboys for the 16th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, a pick the Cowboys used to select Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin. The Ravens liked Martin but since day 1 of the draft we’ve learned that they preferred CJ Mosley at No. 17 even if both were on the board.

We’ve also heard that it’s possible the Ravens may have traded back if both players were still there. But they weren’t and the Ravens turned in the card for Mosley.

One pick, one slot, two careers to watch and wonder what might have been.



Speaking of which, we’ve also learned that the Ravens were prepared to make Terrance West the 99th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft had the Cleveland Browns not traded up to obtain the San Francisco 49ers’ 94th overall pick to take West.

Perhaps the Browns assistant coaches Jim O’Neil (defensive coordinator) and Brian Fleury (assistant linebackers coach), both with ties to Towson University help persuade Browns GM Ray Farmer to make the deal.

In years to come it will be interesting to see how West does compared to the choice the Ravens made at No. 99 (Crockett Gillmore) and the running back they selected in round 4, Lorenzo Taliaferro.



Staying with the Browns for a moment, it was interesting to see them make a deal with the Ravens, allowing Baltimore to get back into the 7th round to select slot receiver Michael Campanaro from Wake Forest.

The Ravens see Campanaro as a Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola type of player. They’ve studied how some teams have used late day 3 picks to fill specific roles and the Ravens wanted a heady receiver who could find soft spots in coverage, move the chains and make plays with his feet after the catch.

If Campanaro becomes that kind of player, the Browns may regret that inter-divisional trade with an organization Browns’ fans despise – particularly if the 6th round pick obtained from the Ravens in 2015 amounts to little.



Many have assumed that the Ravens collective opinion of linebacker Arthur Brown has fallen off dramatically and point to the selection of CJ Mosley and the 4-year contract of Daryl Smith as proof.

That’s not the case at all.

Brown’s athleticism has impressed the coaching staff and insiders suggest that his familiarity with the playbook, position and system will allow his physical skills to show up on Sundays in 2014. Ultimately the team expects the duo of Brown and Mosley to be a formidable 1-2 punch anchoring the middle of the Ravens defense for years.

As for Smith’s 4-year deal, it’s unlikely that he sees that contract through to its end. The bet here is that Smith will be the starter for most of if not all of 2014 and then become a quality backup in 2015.

In 2016 releasing the then 34-year-old Smith would save the Ravens $2.125M in cap space. The team could then groom another quality backup or find a veteran free agent like Smith in 2013, looking to rejuvenate his career.



OTAs (Organized Team Activities): The Ravens’ three-day OTAs begin the week of May 26, and the team makes one day in each of those three sessions open to media. Those dates are: Thursday, May 29; Wednesday, June 4; and Tuesday, June 10.

Mandatory Team Minicamp runs from Tuesday June 17 through Thursday June 19 after which the players will convalesce and train voluntarily up to the start of training camp. Training camp is expected to commence as usual in late July.

Which pairing is most likely to be the starting inside linebacker tandem for the Ravens by Week 17?
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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. Follow Tony's new Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

Do we actually know he was the 24th best player in 2002? Just because he was selected 24 doesn't mean he was #24 on their board. They drafted Mosley at 17 a guy we know for a fact they had in the top 10 due to their comment that he was BPA at 10 as well. How do we know they didn't have Reed say the 15th best player? Seems unlikely the 23rd and 24th player were both 23 and 24 on their board.


TL, First the Ravens denied today West was their choice at slot #99 according to Arron Wilson notes. Second, this ideaof best player on the board has given inconsistant results at times with players drafted like OT Adam Terry ,Cousins, Pittman,Wr Travis Taylor. It is far from being Ozzie's board and more Decosta that I know you know about. Decosta has alot to say about all dragft related issues before and during the draft process. No one can predict or should judge what players are going to be good NFL players until at least 3 years later. The Ravens besides Reed were lucky to get Ngata and Suggs too and maybe even Flaggo because of what other teams did ahead of them.


Hey TL, What need an RB and you do not need a DT but the DT is rated slightly higher than the RB...but you NEED the RB??!!? Cheers.


What if the Board is wrong? Drafting, like economics, is an inexact science. I guess it depends on what player criteria makes up the Board's ratings. Is it secret, like the formula for compensatory picks?


Tony, One thing which remains confusing regarding Terrance West is the claim that the Ravens texted West's agent and told him he was our pick welll before we were on the clock in Round 3. Even if this did not get relayed to the Browns and prompt their trade-up, would Ozzie really tip his hand by texting the agent well before we were on the clock? Sounds like nothing to gain and a lot to lose by doing so. Why give an agent this information at all? Intending to pick West is believable, texting the agent is not. Any inside info from the Castle?


Tony I never understood why the Ravens liked N.Harris over Ed Reed. I also heard Ozzie wasn't real thrilled when he was basically forced maybe the wrong word to take Reed. I love, LOVED the Reed pick at the time.I mean i was about as happy with the Reed pick as almost any one they ever took with a pick. I dare say for me Suggs and Reed at the time when the picks were made were probably my 2 all time fav. picks. I just remember whenever watching Miami games when Ed was there the guy was always around the ball making plays. I always thought to myself this guy is like a wr playing safety a constant play maker. Tennessee needed a safety that year and was picking something like 14 or 15 and I thought for sure he was going there and when he got by them I thought maybe then we had a legit chance to get him because safeties weren't as important in 2002 as they are today. It's always interesting to hear this story about Harris and Reed and brings back memories for me as one of my all time best draft moments hearing Commish Tags call his name for the Ravens.

Tony Lombardi
Tony Lombardi

Yes we do know. Ozzie is on record saying that on more than one occasion.

Tony Lombardi
Tony Lombardi

JWS, what they said is that they didn't contact the agent. I can tell you he was being considered at No. 99. Secondly, the BPA approach isn't an exact science but neither is the draft. But without that approach the Ravens never draft Ed Reed or Todd Heap. Sometimes you hit, sometimes you don't. You just hope you don't miss on your first round picks.


Richie, If it was me and the DT was rated SLIGHTLY higher (like 2 spots) than the RB, I'd take the RB. And I believe the Ravens would as well. I have no proof, just believe so. I know you never said anything about it, but from what they said, it looks like Mosley was rated way higher than the safeties, for example...

Tony Lombardi
Tony Lombardi

Great question. I know that teams from time to time will make a call in advance just to see where a player's head is just moments before the pick. Maybe there was some debate in the Ravens war room. I do know that Kubiak really wanted Gillmore. I don't think West has any reason to fib and I don't think an agent would burn bridges with teams nor would he want to be labeled "untrustworthy" by being a leak. Besides, there's very marginal money relatively speaking to be gained by being the 94th pick over the 99th pick.


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