Live from Indy: More on the Ravens draft and “interest” in Terrell Owens (1 pm update)

February 27, 2010 | Drew Forrester

1:00 pm update

Strolling around the media center at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy and talking to a few folks about the Ravens and their draft prospects.

But first, a note (again) on Terrell Owens.

At home, when my wife and I try to teach little Ethan something, we tell him to put his “listening ears” on and then we speak to him.

I would encourage a lot of you to put your “reading eyes” on when reading stuff that we (or, at least, I) post from Indy.

I wrote the Ravens are “interested” in Terrell Owens.

A number of you via either the comments section or e-mail then respond by saying, “Well, so-and-so (media) says the Ravens aren’t signing Terrell Owens.  You’re info is bad.”

I’m not saying the Ravens are signing Terrell Owens.  In fact, if you want to lose an order of Moo Goo Gai Pan, I’m betting they don’t sign him.

That said, I’ve heard more than one team staffer say, “We’d have an interest in T.O….sure.  We’re trying to improve our wide receiver corps.”

When I hear THAT, I deem that “new news”…because the Ravens have had a couple of opportunities to sign Owens in the last three years and they passed on him every time.

In fact, LAST spring when Owens was a free agent, I’m quite certain most everyone in the building at Owings Mills said, simply, “no interest” when the subject of T.O. came up.

So, what’s changed?

Plenty.

The Ravens could lose Derrick Mason.  And even if he returns, he’s a year older.  They COULD lose Mark Clayton, although the uncapped year makes that seem more and more unrealistic.  Demetrius Williams is gone.  And even though they’ve added Donte’ Stallworth, he could simply be this year’s version of last year’s Kelley Washington.

In other words, ANY wide receiver with a pedigree would be of interest to the Ravens in 2010.

But at what price?

I don’t think there’s much chance the Ravens are going to take a WR in the first round of the draft.  And I don’t think there’s much chance they’re willing to trade away their first round pick for a WR in the NFL, like, say, Anquan Boldin.

Failing those two options, what do they do?

They go out and sign Donte’ Stallworth.

And they scour the free-agent list for potential signees.

Terrell Owens’ name is on that list.

And because 2010 is different than 2009 and 2008, the Ravens are “interested” in him.

As for the draft, the Ravens really have a wide variety of potential interests – positionally – in 2010.  First, given their 25th pick in round one, I’m thinking the Ravens are going to go with a defensive back with their first pick.  They could, as they’ve done the last two years, try to arrange a draft-day trade if there’s a player of special interest that’s available in the early 20′s or so…but all being equal, picking at 25, I think the Ravens draft a cornerback.

That said, I also think there are particular position needs they’ll fill in April.

  • Tight end (definite) — I don’t think the Ravens’ interest in a tight end is nearly as high this year as it was last year with Pettigrew, but I’m quite certain they’ll figure out a way to get one before the third round expires.
  • Defensive end (definite) — They need to find the next Trevor Pryce.  It would appear that person is NOT Paul Kruger, who figures to play more of a OLB position rather than a hand-in-the-dirt quarterback chaser.
  • Wide receiver (definite) — At some point in the upcoming draft, they’re going to get themselves a wide receiver.  Not sure exactly where…but maybe by round 4.
  • Center (possible) — It wouldn’t shock me at all to see them get a center.  Matt Birk’s in the final two years or so of his career and the Ravens would like for him to tutor a young prospect along the way.
  • Kicker (possible) — Secretly, the Ravens coveted Ryan Succop last spring.  They had verbally agreed on a free-agent deal with him prior to the draft with the caveat “in the event you don’t get drafted, we want you and we’ll sign you” — then the Chiefs took him with the last pick in the draft and the kid turned into a good rookie kicker.  And the Ravens drafted a kid out of Virginia (running back) in the 7th round who didn’t make it past the last pre-season game.  Moral of the story?  Don’t be surprised to see the Ravens use their 7th round pick on a kicker this year if they have one on the board they REALLY like, a’la Succop a year ago.

You can take your “reading eyes” off now.

Back with more later.

10:30 am update

As Glenn noted in his blog, we’ve set up shop in Indianapolis this weekend to watch the Player Combine and sink our teeth into the upcoming NFL draft.  I’m here at the lovely (and it really is lovely…we should have built a place just like this in Baltimore in 1996) Lucas Oil Stadium, surrounded by a thousand media members and every front office/coaching executive in the NFL.  I just stood next to Eric Mangini in the men’s bathroom.  I had the urge (no pun intended) to say, “Dude, get a logo on that helmet”…but I didn’t.

Now, to the news.  And the most important news here could be the rumblings we’re hearing about the Ravens and Terrell Owens.

I’m hearing the Ravens interest in Owens is legitimate.  It’s not “unamimous” throughout the building in Owings Mills, but then again, there’s rarely an acquisition or draft pick that IS unanimous, as a staffer said to me today.

Keep in mind the word “interest” is a fancy way of saying “maybe”.  I’m going to try and visit with as many Ravens execs as I can this weekend to see who in the organization says “yes” to T.O. and who says “no”.  Even though nearly everyone’s remarks to me are off-the-record, I can at least gauge the club’s total interest level in signing the free agent wide receiver.

That’s the chunk of info that’s “newsworthy” to me so far:  The Ravens might try to sign Terrell Owens.

There are some people in the organization who want him.  That much I know for sure, now.

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