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So you think that Mike Nolan and the 49ers duped the Ravens when they moved in to take Joe Staley at No. 28 on Saturday after they traded their No. 1 pick in 2008 to the Patriots for that pick, eh?
Why would a man who was treated well by the Ravens, a team that provided him with an abundance of defensive talent which he successfully used to catapult himself into the ranks of a NFL head coaching position want to turn the screws on his former employer? Maybe he just liked Staley. Iâ€™m sure he did otherwise why give up next yearâ€™s No.1 which in all likelihood will be a much more attractive pick than No. 28 in a draft that will arguably be richer in first round talent?
Who among us actually knew who Joe Staley was at this time last year? Probably not many of you right? Next year, there will be another Joe Staley.
Personally Iâ€™d rather have Ben Grubbs. With Ogden returning and with Terry being forced to step up and deliver upon the organizationâ€™s faith in him, where would Staley play this year? He was a left tackle at Central Michigan. Wouldnâ€™t he have to experience an adjustment to move to the right side like Terry?
Grubbs can start from Day 1. The team can slide Jason Brown over to the right side and with the addition of Marshall Yanda and the return of Brian Rimpf, the Ravens can probably slide Keydrick Vincent out and save $1.6million of cap space that Terrell Suggs will happily accept.
But back to Nolan, thereâ€™s no question that he has a keen insight into how the Ravens think and how they approach the draft. But that knowledge goes both ways just as it does with Jacksonville and Cleveland. The connectivity shared by these clubs as well as that of the Ravens and the Patriots certainly helps in plotting out draft day strategies. But those strategies will be carried out for one reason and one reason only regardless of whoâ€™s implementing them. Each team is simply looking to improve their own clubs in any and all ways possible. They arenâ€™t out to rain on the parade of a former colleague.
Last year when Phil Savage forced the Ravens into giving up a No. 6 pick in the draft to switch places so they could select Haloti Ngata, Savage did that to help his team. Certainly his intimate knowledge of the Ravens helped him play that poker hand but donâ€™t you think the Ravens would have done the same to Savage if the roles were reversed? They may have done the same in this yearâ€™s draft when they positioned themselves to move up to get the falling Brady Quinn. Was the Ravens inquiry to move up genuine or were they simply driving up the cost for Cleveland to get Quinn?
This isnâ€™t personal, itâ€™s just competitive. And the fans of each NFL team should want and expect their teamâ€™s front office to do the same in such high stakes games regardless of the participants.
Mike Nolan and Phil Savage used their credit cards this year for Staley and Quinn. Weâ€™ll find out a year from now when the bill arrives what their respective interest charges will be. Weâ€™ve seen what such moves can do to a club when the Ravens moved up to take Kyle Boller while sacrificing 2004â€™s No. 1. In the case of the Ravens, Boller hasnâ€™t worked out and the 2004 Draft was a disaster â€“ Savageâ€™s last as the Ravens Director of College Scouting.
If he misses on this yearâ€™s draft, it might be his last in Cleveland as well.
And if Nolan misses, Iâ€™m sure there will be many in Baltimore that will laugh and say thatâ€™s what he gets for trying to dupe the Ravens.