Blog & Tackle: This and That …

April 21, 2008 | Chris Pika

Inside of the final week before the NFL Draft — as a former NFL GM once said, “The hay is in the barn.” Most of the mock drafting in team personnel offices is done, now it’s just phone calls between teams, GMs, coaches — all looking to get info or spread rumors and innuendo. How can you tell if a NFL big-wig is lying this week? Their lips are moving.

As for the Ravens, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when the final mocks are played out in the draft room. “If Team X picks Player Y, then we will pick Player Z …” Sometimes the best draft picks never made happen during the process.

GMs have to trust their scouts — who have watched these guys all year long, their video of players — they can see who gives max effort and who came to the Combine or Pro Day workouts in worse shape and attitude than the season and their gut — years and years of studying players, position and schemes to figure out the right move to make.

Who we think the Ravens will take on Saturday could change at least seven times internally before Baltimore is up at No. 8 overall. Heck, Miami is more interested in signability than overall talent at No. 1.

Saturday is like Christmas morning for NFL teams. You know that there are presents under the tree with your name on them — the question is: What will you get when you unwrap them? The anticipation is the best part of the day.

Thank you NFL, for cutting the time in the first round to 10 minutes from 15 and from 10 to seven minutes in round two on Saturday. It’s a long day to be mesmerized by Mel Kiper’s hairdo to begin with. Last year’s first round took six hours and eight minutes to be complete. Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “This is a record we really don’t want to break,” and he meant it with the changes implemented.

Nice series win for the Orioles over the Yankees. Anytime you can take two of three over New York, it’s a great weekend, indeed. There is a long way to go in the 2008 season, but on the surface, the Orioles have been entertaining. It’s too early to say if the Orioles will keep up the progress, but they have the right man in charge for a young group in Dave Trembley.

Speaking of baseball, for those like myself who live a long way from the hometown, XM Radio is a great thing to have in the car. I have been able to keep up with the Orioles and listen to some of the tremendous voices of the game like Vin Scully, Bob Uecker and Marty Brennaman. It’s a great way to pass the time when you are in the car on a summer evening.

Here’s hoping the Capitals can force a Game Seven against the Flyers. The victory on Saturday at home was fun to watch and the Caps played with a measured intensity that they will need in Philly to get to a deciding game.

As for the Wizards, well, LeBron James looks unstoppable and Washington does not have an answer for him right now. The Wizards need a Game Two victory in Cleveland, or they will be well on their way to elimination by the Cavs for the third straight postseason.

Final question: Who do you think the Ravens take at No. 8? Do they move up to get their guy? If they don’t take a QB in the first round, what will be your reaction?