April 27, 2008

Ravens/Redskins Excel on First Day

Will Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Devin Thomas, Fred Davis and Malcolm Kelly make the Pro Bowl? We won't know for a while, but we can say today that the Ravens and Redskins both handled a mediocre first draft day perfectly.

After the first seven players came off the board in the predicted order, with none of the predicted trades, the poor Ravens sat just outside the first tier with the 8th pick. Their primary needs were CB and QB, but anyone they would have picked at 8th would be available later on for a smaller cap hit. Surely no one would allow them to trade out of the spot, but Jacksonville came along with the first head scratcher of the day. To move up from 25th to 8th in order to select DE Derrick Harvey of Florida, the Jags gave the Ravens two third rounders and a fourth, all in this year's draft. The Ravens later traded back to the middle of the first round, sending a third rounder and a sixth rounder to Houston to get into the 18th spot, where they took Joe Flacco.

NET: Plus a third, a fourth, 10 slots in salary cap; minus a sixth. Umm, that's pretty awesome.

In the second round the Ravens again traded down, this time partnering with Seattle, swapping the 38th overall selection for Seattle's second and third rounders. With the second round selection they took Rutgers RB and Heisman Candidate Ray Rice.
The Redskins had made a push to vacate their draft picks earlier this week, offering two firsts and a third for disgruntled Bengals receiver Chad Johnson. The Bengals turned them down, and the Redskins entered the draft with most of their picks intact for the first time in a while. Sitting at 21, the Redskins apparently felt they could get their target later, so they traded their first, third and fifth round picks for Atlanta's high second, mid-round second and high fourth round picks. With the 34th overall pick, the Skins selected Devin Thomas, WR from Michigan State. Thomas was widely considered to be the best WR in the draft, though the draft is weak for top-tier WRs this year. With the other Falcons' second rounder, the Skins took USC TE Fred Davis. They took receiver Malcolm Kelly out of Oklahoma with their third second round selection.

The Ravens and Redskins handled the first day beautifully. This draft had a very tight 7-man top tier, then 15 or so first-round guys, then literally 120 guys who were 2nd/3rd/4th round talents. Someone has to pay some of those guys 1st round money, but the Baltimore/Washington-area teams got value and won't be forced to overpay for unproven talent. The Redskins have five picks in the 2nd/3rd/4th rounds, and the Ravens have seven. Time will tell how many starters are produced by all those valuable picks.

Check out videos of these players and many others at NFL.com

2 Responses:

Brien said...

What, no love for the Steelers? They picked up a workhorse running back to take some of the load off Willie Parker and also another big target for Roethlisberger.

I'm not sold on Flacco. Any the best thing they can say about a quarterback is "great arm strength" my Jeff George alarm goes off. I love the Zibikowski pick, though.

J-Red said...

I'm sure the Steelers picked well, they just didn't do any trade manouevering like the Skins and Ravens. At least not that I saw.

"Big arm" makes me think of Scott Mitchell. Neither would be good.

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