Deep draft has Ravens in usual mindset of trading down, adding picks

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked recently if he was excited about all of the options at wide receiver in this year's NFL draft.

"Our only problem right now is we don’t have enough draft picks," Harbaugh said.

On the surface, Baltimore is in adequate shape in terms of number of picks. The Ravens' eight selections put them in the middle of the league.

But Baltimore, which has more pressing needs entering this draft than recent ones, has only one of the first 84 picks in this year's draft because it traded its second-rounder last year to move up to take quarterback Lamar Jackson. The last time the Ravens had that few that early was 2004.

This is why the prevailing sentiment is general manager Eric DeCosta will trade down from the No. 22 overall pick to acquire more draft capital.

"If there’s a great player there at 22, we’ll make the pick, and we’ll be very, very excited," DeCosta said. "But one thing we’ve shown over the past years is we know how to manufacture picks. So, if the opportunity is there, we’ll have a chance to trade back and accumulate picks."

Accumulating picks has been a strength of the Ravens. Since 2013, Baltimore's 58 draft picks are tied for the second-most in the league, according to ESPN's Stats & Information. That's an average of nearly 10 selections per year.

The Ravens have traded back in the first round in four of the past 11 drafts, moving out of the first round completely twice (2010 and 2012). Last year, Baltimore fell back two times, from No. 16 to No. 22 and then from No. 22 to No. 25.

The net for the Ravens was acquiring picks in the third and fourth rounds -- both of which were later traded -- in exchange for giving up their fifth- and sixth-round picks and moving down a total of nine spots.

Baltimore sees this draft as a deep one, which is why it took seven days to get through draft meetings in February instead of five. That provides even more incentive to add more picks.

"In this draft, if you can accumulate some additional picks, you have a really good chance to help your team," DeCosta said.

The Ravens have several areas to address. Wide receiver is a major need after Baltimore parted ways with 96 catches this offseason (Michael Crabtree was cut and John Brown signed with the Buffalo Bills). Pass-rusher is also at the top of the Ravens' wish list after they lost 15.5 sacks in free agency (Terrell Suggs joined the Arizona Cardinals and Za'Darius Smith left for the Green Bay Packers).

Baltimore could also use another inside linebacker (after leading tackler C.J. Mosley signed with the New York Jets) and an upgrade at guard and center.

Where the Ravens can do their most damage currently is the middle rounds. Baltimore has two picks in the third round (including a compensatory pick for losing center Ryan Jensen) and fourth round (including the one acquired in the trade that sent quarterback Joe Flacco to Denver).

In recent drafts, the Ravens have used picks in the third and fourth rounds to take Smith, tight end Mark Andrews, offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr., cornerback Tavon Young, defensive tackle Brandon Williams, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and offensive tackle Rick Wagner.

"I think those third-round picks and those fourth-round picks, those are gold for us this year," DeCosta said. "In this draft, having four picks in those two rounds, that’s an ideal situation to be in."

The reality of the situation is the Ravens are truly never satisfied.

"You never have enough draft picks, or high enough draft picks, in your mind to address everything that you want to do as far as your roster goes," Harbaugh said.