Trade Rumors Highlight Final Weeks of Draft Season

April 16, 2009 | Glenn Clark

Does the name Anquan Boldin mean much to you? With just one story from Jamison Hensley Thursday; the entire scope of the NFL Draft has potentially changed for the Ravens. Hensley reported today that the Ravens are interested in Boldin; who would likely cost them a first and third round pick. Should the Ravens pull the plug on such a deal; they would be forced to try to do more with their remaining 4 picks; but they would have their biggest need (Wide Receiver) addressed.

Now, the trade rumors could be nothing more than scuttlebutt or exploratory at best; but they are certainly interesting. Until there is something more definitive, we must work under the assumption that the Ravens will hold on to their 1st round pick, as well as the 5 other picks they currently have in the Draft. We’ve learned more about the Ravens’ needs from Eric DeCosta during WNST’s annual pre-draft show Monday night; and the players who have visited this week. Thanks to Mike Duffy (BaltimoreRavens.com), Aaron Wilson (CarrollCountyTimes.com), and Ken Murray (BaltimoreSun.com) for info on players the Ravens have brought in for official visits. Thanks to NFLDraftScout.com for providing Combine/Pro Day information; as well as other information about prospects. Thanks to ESPN.com for stats. This is the 7th part in my series about players the Ravens may be interested in during next weekend’s Draft; parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are available. Here are the players I have already introduced to you….

CB’s
Sean Smith (Utah), Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest), D.J. Moore (Vanderbilt), Vontae Davis (Illinois), Darius Butler (UConn), Jairus Byrd (Oregon), Kevin Barnes (Maryland), Greg Toler (St. Paul’s)
WR’s Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland), Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina), Kenny Britt (Rutgers), Percy Harvin (Florida), Derrick Williams (Penn State), Kevin Ogletree (Virginia), Deon Butler (Penn State), Louis Murphy (Florida), Mike Thomas (Arizona), Brandon Tate (North Carolina), Brian Robiskie (Ohio State), Patrick Turner (USC)
LB’s Clint Sintim (Virginia), Clay Matthews (USC), Larry English (Northern Illinois), James Laurinaitis (Ohio State), Darry Beckwith (LSU), Brian Cushing (USC), Rey Maualuga (USC), Moise Fokou (Maryland)
TE’s Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State), Chase Coffman (Missouri), Travis Beckum (Wisconsin), Jared Cook (South Carolina), Dan Gronkowski (Maryland), Shawn Nelson (Southern Mississippi)
K Graham Gano (Florida State)
DE Aaron Maybin (Penn State), Lawrence Sidbury (Richmond), Robert Ayers (Tennessee), Jovan Belcher (Maine)
OT Eben Britton (Arizona), Andre Smith (Alabama), T.J. Lang (Eastern Michigan)
C Edwin Williams (Maryland), Alex Mack (Cal)
S Louis Delmas (Western Michigan), Troy Nolan (Arizona State), Patrick Chung (Oregon)
QB’s Brian Hoyer (Michigan State), Pat White (West Virginia), Mike Teel (Rutgers)
FB Tony Fiammetta (Syracuse)
RB’s Beanie Wells (Ohio State), Andre Brown (NC State)

Let me introduce you to THESE players, who could well be on the Ravens’ radar:

Phil Loadholt (OT, Oklahoma): Loadholt visited the Ravens this week; and has been a steady riser throughout Draft season. During Mike Mayock’s national conference call this week, he said he views Loadholt as a 3rd round talent; but thinks the former Oklahoma Sooner will end up going in the 2nd round-possibly late in the first. Loadholt is a tremendous talent with red flags. He’s 6’8″, 332 pounds with 36 1/2 inch arms; and started the last two seasons after transferring from Garden City (Kansas) Junior College. His red flag comes from an arrest last Summer on suspicion of DUI and transporting an open container. You can’t coach size; and that might be the biggest thing going for Loadholt.

Richard Quinn (TE, North Carolina): The Ravens are sending Joe Flacco to Chapel Hill to work with projected first round pick Hakeem Nicks; but he’s not the only player the Ravens will be working out while they’re on the UNC campus. The Ravens will also be working out Quinn; who is projected to be a mid-round pick in the Draft. The Ravens are clearly interested in drafting a Tight End, as Projected 1st round pick Brandon Pettigrew visited Owings Mills earlier this week. Quinn is a very big target at Tight End (6’4″, 264); and after posting a 4.88 40 at the Combine, he reportedly shaved his time down to the mid 4.7′s at the Tar Heels’ Pro Day. Quinn has never been much of a numbers guy, posting just 8 catches for 97 yards and a TD in his senior season. But he can certainly help teams as a blocker, with the ability to make an occasional grab.

(Editor’s Note: A report in Friday’s Carroll County Times says Joe Flacco was unable to travel with the Ravens for the Nicks/Quinn workout due to a “scheduling conflict.”)

Jeremy Navarre (DT, Maryland): If scouts could measure heart the way they measure height and weight, this Joppatowne High School alum might well be a first day pick. But 6’3″, 285 pounds is not the ideal size for an interior lineman these days. Beefy D-Lineman like Kevin Williams, Albert Haynesworth, Haloti Ngata, and Shaun Rogers are now the ideal body types for the position. Navarre has always made a career out of playing bigger than his size. Navarre played in various systems and stances during his time in College Park; but admitted in an interview Thursday with Drew Forrester on WNST that he would probably be best playing inside at the NFL level. Navarre also admitted during the interview that playing for his hometown Ravens would be a “dream.” The Ravens might not view DT as a priority in the Draft, but Navarre could be a name to watch should they somehow acquire a 7th round pick.

Scott McKillop (LB, Pitt): McKillop finished amongst the Top 5 Linebackers in most of the mesurement categories at the NFL Combine; solidifying his position as a likely mid-round pick. The Ravens have some depth at middle linebacker even with Bart Scott gone, but adding another middle linebacker to the mix couldn’t hurt. McKillop checks in at 6’1″, 244 pounds; and was clocked at 4.70 in the 40. McKillop received plenty of exposure in college, with the University of Pittsburgh creating ScottMcKillop40.com to help his candidacy for postseason honors. The attention was well deserved, as McKillop posted 137 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 interceptions during his senior campaign.

Brian Hartline (WR, Ohio State): Hartline’s decision to leave Ohio State with a year of eligibility remaining was judged as questionable by a number of analysts. His numbers in 2008 weren’t overwhelming (21 catches, 479 yards, 4 TD’s), and he is projected to only be a late round pick. Hartline measures in at 6’2″, 195 pounds; and posted a 4.52 40 at the Combine (a number he reportedly shaved to 4.49 at the Buckeyes’ Pro Day). Just coming from Ohio State will help Hartline’s reputation, but his reputation took a shot this Spring due to some pictures proving him to be, well; human. BustedCoverage.com found pictures of Hartline posing with his girlfriend that aren’t particularly inappropriate, but have ruffled feathers nonetheless. Here’s the must objectionable picture, you judge for yourself whether this would change your opinion about Hartline at all if you were Ozzie Newsome.

http://www.bustedcoverage.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/brian_hartline_bending_over_fiance.jpg

Johnny Knox (WR, Abilene Christian)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGc0tCCzkmA&feature=related[/youtube]

At the 2:16 mark of this video, you are introduced to Johnny Knox. He was believed to have posted the best 40 time at the Combine (4.25), although it was later adjusted to 4.29, and then officially posted at 4.34. Knox doesn’t present much in the way of size (6’0″, 185 pounds); but he can certainly do a thing or do after making a catch. He put up big numbers during his senior campaign at Abilene Christian in Texas (56 catches, 1,069 yards, 13 TD’s). Knox is projected as a mid-round pick, and could be a nice compliment should the Ravens draft a bigger receiver early or trade for a player like Boldin.

Rashad Johnson (S, Alabama): Much like it has always been said that you are safe to assume Ozzie Newsome will select a Tight End during the NFL Draft, it is also safe to assume Ozzie Newsome will select someone from Alabama in the NFL Draft. The Ravens are believed to be interested in safety depth, and Johnson just so happened to play for Newsome’s beloved Crimson Tide. During his senior season; Johnson posted 82 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 5 interceptions, and 2 TD returns. Johnson has had a successful Draft season-posting a 4.49 40 at the Combine, and turned heads at Alabama’s Pro Day. Johnson told Drew Forrester in an interview Tuesday on WNST that he has been honest and upfront about his biggest red flag: a 2008 arrest for disorderly conduct, which he claims was an attempt to work as a peacemaker.

Max Unger (C, Oregon): Considered to be the 2nd best center in the Draft behind Cal’s Alex Mack; the 2nd round may still be too high for the Ravens to select a Center considering the recent signing of Matt Birk. Unger could be an option though, especially if he manages to slip to the 3rd round. Unger measures in at 6’5″, 309 pounds; and did 22 bench reps of 225 pounds at the Combine. Unger showed versatility for the Ducks during his senior campaign, as he made two starts at Tackle do to the team’s injury troubles. Oregon has always had rushing success while Unger has been part of the line; but the 2008 campaign was particularly successful. According to their official site, the Ducks rushed for 3,641 yards and 47 TD’s during the season; school records in both categories. Unger would be a nice addition to an offensive line that could use depth, and could be groomed as an eventual long term replacement behind Birk.

Jarron Gilbert (DL, San Jose State):

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXDSPbZ_OUw[/youtube]

Watching this video of Jarron Gilbert jumping out of a swimming pool reminds me of the video where Kyle Boller threw the ball 100 yards (Note: not exact number) from his knee. It is very impressive to watch, but I am not certain it translates to anything at the NFL level. Gilbert mostly played DT in college, but will likely play DE at the next level. Gilbert collected 9 sacks on the inside of the line during his senior season, which bodes well for a future in pressuring the QB. Gilbert possesses a tremendous combination of size, speed, and strength (6’5″, 288 pounds; 4.81 40 and 28 bench reps of 225 pounds at the Combine). If he had played in a power conference, he might well be projected as a first round pick instead of a 2nd or 3rd round selection.

Sherrod Martin (CB, Troy): Martin’s lack of size may ultimately make him a safety rather than a cornerback. Martin checks in at 6’1″ and 198 pounds. He has tremendous speed (4.43 40 at the Combine), and tallied 9 interceptions during his career as a Trojan. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Ravens’ secondary coach Chuck Pagano attended Martin’s Pro Day at Troy; meaning the Ravens must have some level of interest. Martin’s biggest red flag is injury history, as he suffere broken bones in his hand and had to have shoulder surgery during his college career.

I will try to add more names to this list every day next week.

-G

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