Tuesday, April 17, 2007

RAVENS PRE-DRAFT LUNCHEON = LIARS' POKER


Just a few thoughts and observations from the Ravens pre-draft luncheon…

The tone of the post luncheon press conference was extremely upbeat with Ozzie, Brian Billick and Eric DeCosta sharing laughs, stories, tales, truths, half-truths, lies and anecdotes with the media.

Ozzie made it very clear that the Ravens are ready immediately if they were on the clock. They will again stay true to their board.

The Ravens have 29 players that they’ve ranked on their draft board and according to Ozzie the only certainty in the draft for the Ravens is that one of those 29 will be available for them to take. There is the possibility that they could move down in the draft and try to get back the third round pick they lost to Buffalo in the McGahee trade just as they did last year when they found a trading partner in the New York Giants to earn back the No. 3 they sacrificed in 2005 to move up and get Adam Terry.

As of this moment, no one has discussed trading up for the Ravens pick but the Ravens will wait as long as they can for their phone to ring to see if they have a trading partner should a player fall that another team(s) covets more than the Ravens do.

Ryan Kalil’s name seems to come up often in conferences involving Eric DeCosta and that might be an indication that the Ravens have no interest in Kalil at No. 29. But then again, that could be part of his style when playing the NFL’s version of liars’ poker. Ben Grubbs was mentioned as a solid interior lineman who could bring value at the bottom of Round 1. Justin Blalock was suspiciously not mentioned today. Perhaps that too is part of the game of draft deception.

In previous conversations with DeCosta, he mentioned how he finds the dynamic between player agents and the draft boards to be interesting. Agents will work the media to move their clients up boards and some will not be completely forthcoming when it comes to actual player visits. Some agents will tell members of the media that certain players they represent have visited teams when in fact they have not. For instance one player that will go unmentioned did not visit the Ravens yet an agent will claim that he did to create demand for his client.

An interesting nuance in this game of cat and mouse is that the Ravens will sit back and say nothing all the while being amused by the shenanigans. They won’t publicly refute the agents’ claims because the information and misinformation fuels the game of liars’ poker. Regardless of the gamesmanship, the Ravens say that none of it affects their board whatsoever.

Brian Billick was in much better spirits this year than he was last year and with good reason. An observation was presented to Billick about playoff teams and how a few employed the “tactic” of utilizing a tandem of running backs. I took this as a veiled attempt to ask, “Why wasn’t Mike Anderson used more?”

Billick responded, “Tactics are always dictated by personnel.”

And I took that as not such a great endorsement of the former Bronco and current Raven who in the court of public opinion was grossly underutilized.

Billick added that he sees Willis McGahee as a 300-350 carries per year kind of back.

The subject of Terrell Suggs was brought up and while Ozzie appears hopeful and confident that a deal could be struck, he cautioned about the dynamics of a more expensive free agent market and the uncertainties that it can sometimes bring. They are efforting but nothing is guaranteed until the ink on the new contract dries.

4 comments :

MB Genius said...

In Oz We Trust....and DeCosta too! Let's hope that there's some sort of developmental path here for DeCosta. I think he's every bit as good as Phil Savage...probably even better.

Here's to Ted Ginn, Jr. falling like an Enron stock. Now that would make for some interesting weaponry for the Ravens offense...it could put the Air back in McNair!

Anonymous said...

The Ravens have perfected the art of holding a one hour press conference without saying a single thing. Kudos to Brian, Ozzie and Eric!

Anonymous said...

Why would the Ravens say anything insightful about the draft? Truthfully, they don't know who will be there at number 29. Furthermore, they can't afford to say anything because Cleveland is always out to screw us up somehow.

Harryos29 said...

Harryo29
I think that Billick was out of his ever-livin MIND for not utilizing Mike Anderson more often last year.. Every time Mike got the Ball, it seemed like he rambled for 7 or 8 yards.... didn't he rush for 1,000 for Denver before he came to Baltimore... a big DUH? for Billick on that one...
But, I know they will do well in the upcoming DRAFT..they always do..
HarryOS29