If you weren’t able to attend or listen to the “Pre-Draft Breakdown” show last night at Padonia Station you missed a fun evening. Brian Billick and Eric DeCosta came out along with the folks from WNST and put on a great show. This isn’t the first WNST sponsored event I have attended but it was the best I have been to since the Free The Birds Rally. The atmosphere around the event was very mellow. It felt like we, as the audience, were peering in on a discussion amongst friends at a local bar. It was much more intimate than it was a bustling impersonal media event.
I had never been to Padonia Station before but I found it to be an excellent venue for a party. Personally I was excited because I was able meet and briefly talk to both Eric DeCosta and Brian Billick for the first time, and as you all know I am vying to become the King of Baltimore Sports so I went early to sneak a peek behind the scenes and find out what takes place while setting up an event. I saw the work that producer Ray Bachman puts into his job both setting up and behind the scenes, so as an impartial party I wanted to let everyone know it isn’t all fun and games. If you are interested, the video of the event is posted but I wanted to highlight some of the topics that I thought were particularly interesting.
I was hoping that after a couple of beers Eric might slip up and give us a hint as to who the Ravens would draft at number 26, however to my chagrin he did not. A couple of days prior to attending the event I posted a blog about my plan for the Ravens’ first round pick, and although I still believe I am right on who the Ravens will draft if they stay put, Eric gave some contrary insight. He pointed out that Ozzie would like to gain more picks so trading down is a real possibility, which again I think would be a great idea although historically the Ravens have not done as well with 2nd and 3rd round picks as they have with 1st rounders. Notable 2nd and 3rd round busts include DeRon Jenkins, Jay Graham, Pat Johnson, Musa Smith, Dwan Edwards, Devard Darling, Dan Cody, David Pittman, and Yamon Figurs. It was funny how on describing the way to grade later round talent Eric seemed to get a dig in about everyone’s favorite injured reserve player Cody, although of course that is all hearsay because Eric didn’t mention the player by name whom he was comparing to Jarret Johnson.
Eric mentioned that historically the biggest bust position from 24th to the end of the first round is wide receiver. I took that information with a grain of salt because it doesn’t mean that all receivers selected in this range were busts (see recently Santonio Holmes and Roddy White) and also after thinking about it the Ravens have a history of selecting players from the same school in back to back years (see Chris Chester following Mark Clayton and Dan Cody and others). Even Coach Billick improved my disposition on my assertion of the Ravens’ selection with the following very true statement regarding selecting players with off the field troubles later in the first round, “character is not morals or ethics, it is economics.” For the record I will restate the fact that my prediction is well worth the risk at pick 26.
Again the event was very worthwhile and I would encourage anyone to attend the Draft Day Party which is also being held at Padonia Station by WNST there is plenty of room and lots of TVs. It was also great to hear Eric DeCosta’s story of how he started out getting the oil changed in Ted Marchibroda’s car and has since worked his way up to become the Assistant General Manager for the Baltimore Ravens. His story is truly inspiring for novices like myself who would someday like to transition to a career in sports.
I know I teased by not spelling out who I think the Ravens will draft at 26, and I did it for good reason, I want people to read my previous blogs, get to know my viewpoint, and eventually vote me as their new King of Baltimore Sports. I will leave one nugget here though, since the Ravens reportedly offered Orlando Pace more money than the Bears to play right tackle for them (he turned the Ravens down because he wanted to stay on the left side) they obviously feel that Willie Anderson is not the answer. We all know that Adam Terry is also not going to cut it long term at right tackle, so in the second round the Ravens will probably take a long look at Phil Loadholt out of Oklahoma to eventually take over at right tackle, especially if they trade down from 26. He played left tackle as a senior last year however I think he will transition better to a right tackle in the NFL. If Loadholt is there and pans out it could set the Ravens up with bookends on the line for the foreseeable future.