LOMBARDI’S WAY: Ravens Duped by Nolan?

Lombardi's Way LOMBARDI’S WAY: Ravens Duped by Nolan?

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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.  I’m sure he did otherwise why give up next year’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 I’d rather have Ben Grubbs.  With Ogden returning and with Terry being forced to step up and deliver upon the organization’s faith in him, where would Staley play this year?  He was a left tackle at Central Michigan.  Wouldn’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, there’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 who’s implementing them.  Each team is simply looking to improve their own clubs in any and all ways possible.  They aren’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 don’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 year’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 isn’t personal, it’s just competitive.  And the fans of each NFL team should want and expect their team’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.  We’ll find out a year from now when the bill arrives what their respective interest charges will be.  We’ve seen what such moves can do to a club when the Ravens moved up to take Kyle Boller while sacrificing 2004’s No. 1.  In the case of the Ravens, Boller hasn’t worked out and the 2004 Draft was a disaster – Savage’s last as the Ravens Director of College Scouting.
If he misses on this year’s draft, it might be his last in Cleveland as well.
And if Nolan misses, I’m sure there will be many in Baltimore that will laugh and say that’s what he gets for trying to dupe the Ravens.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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