I love the NFL Draft

April 27, 2008 | Nestor Aparicio

Unpredictability.

Differing opinions.

Mel Kiper’s hair.

Cold beer and great food at Looney’s North in Bel Air.

Another first-round quarterback.

Trades up and back, all over the place, and in the strangest circumstances and situations.

Even drunk Jets fans screaming at the television cameras all day.

Saturday had it all!

And, with the 10-minute first-round clock this year, it all happened kinda lightning fast (especially from a process that sometimes felt glacial in its pace in the past). And the seven-minute second round picks almost made the entire process (and I’m not crazy about this 3 p.m. start) feel a little like “speed dating.”

If you want to see how we spent our day, just click on wnsTV for videos from Looney’s Pub in Bel Air, where there was electricity in the air.

Alas, you know the story. The Ravens traded from No. 8 to No. 26 and then back to No. 18, where Delaware’s QB Joe Flacco was their man. Sure, they would’ve LOVED to have had Matt Ryan, but Mike Smith and the Atlanta Falcons had other plans.

For the Ravens, the questions now begin. And like every other draft, it will take years to evaluate yesterday’s flurry of activity.

Why Joe Flacco? What does this mean for Kyle Boller and Troy Smith? Did Steve McNair’s abrupt retirement absolutely force their hand into using a No. 1 pick for a quarterback this year?

And how optimistic can any of us be with a Div. 1-AA rookie, Boller and Smith as the trio of signal callers for 2008. Can they win a division or a Super Bowl with this crew?

It remains to be seen.

But for the Ravens to trade more picks away to move that far up to get Flacco seems to verify their love affair with the young man from New Jersey via the Blue Hens.

Couldn’t they just have stayed at No. 26 and gotten him?

We’ll never know, but obviously someone spooked the Ravens into a costly trade up eight spots.

I watched Flacco toss the pill vs. Towson six months ago and NEVER thought he’d be the kind of guy the Ravens would be trading picks away to move into the middle of the first round to select.

Newsome and Decosta saw something in him that many other GMs didn’t. Most had Flacco in the same pile with Chad Henne and Brian Brohm, and those guys made it hours and a full round past where the purple contingent picked him.

Good value?

Depends on how he plays, right?

But it WAS costly!

The trading and furious pace of Day 1 will give way to a long day of five rounds on Day 2.

The Ravens are sitting on nine more picks today – the extra picks they got in the Jacksonville trade (and speaking of “costly,” Jack Del Rio better love that kid Derrick Harvey to give up THREE mid-draft picks for him) will give them some firepower to move around at will today if there are players they really love. Just like they did when they moved back with Seattle in the second round.

Trading back (a specialty of Jimmy Johnson 15 years ago and more recently a favorite of Andy Reid in Philadelphia) really has become a great value play if you love your scouts.

The amount of flexibility it creates is wonderful, and the Ravens fully expect to cash in on that today.

That second-round selection of Rutgers running back Ray Rice – a diminutive, strong speedster – came with some inside knowledge and the blessing of new offensive assistant Craig Ver Steeg, who coached him in New Jersey as running backs coach. All of the talking heads on ESPN – from Kiper on down – really loved the Rice selection.

And it also speaks volumes about Cam Cameron’s plans for the offense and the variety we expect to see.

So, they now have Nos. 71, 86, 99, 106, 125, 133, 206, 215 and 240 today. I’m assuming more trades could be in the works.

I’m also assuming – and we’ll find out for sure on Monday night when Eric Decosta joins us at DellaRoses on The Avenue in White Marsh at 7 p.m. – that there are a myriad of players in the Ravens top 60 who are still on the board.

The Ravens will select three of the first 35 names on the board on Sunday.

It will be fast and furious all day…

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As an aside, I want to offer a personal apology for our text difficulties later in the day.

After our first “No. 8 trade” text went out accurately, our service (a third-party service) experienced network delays and problems and some texts were never sent and others were erroneous or duplicated. And in some cases, it depended on what provider you have.

Please accept my apologies and know that we at WNST take the text service EXTREMELY seriously and want it to be perfect every time. (I’m on the service as well and I don’t want to be spammed by myself!)

We’ll do our best to get them all right and timely on Sunday.

But ask around WNST — I HATE when things go wrong with technology but it happens, unfortunately.

As Woody Allen once said: “My war with machines continues…”

 

 

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