Don't assume Ravens are trading back

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The overriding theme of the Baltimore Ravens' pre-draft news conference Wednesday was this team loves picks.

General manager Ozzie Newsome talked about how he likes being able to acquire more picks. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta mentioned a few times how he enjoys collecting picks. Newsome even spoke about how owner Steve Bisciotti is an advocate of gaining as many picks as possible.

If there was a "we love picks" drinking game at Ravens headquarters today, no media member would've been able to walk straight after the 40-minute question-and-answer session. That's why you're going to repeatedly hear about how the Ravens are looking to trade down from now until May 8.

There is logic to it. Newsome acknowledged the Ravens have already fielded calls from teams wanting to move up to No. 17, and the Ravens have traded down three times in the previous six drafts.

I'm just not entirely sold on the Ravens doing it this year. It comes from a story told by DeCosta on Wednesday.

"I was thinking about a trade that we didn't make a few years ago," DeCosta said. "In 2010, we had a chance to trade a player that we had drafted. It would've been a great trade picks-wise. However, we couldn't find anyone to pick. We liked the player so much that we didn't see any player close to that player."

What I took from this is the Ravens love picks but they love particular players more. This story may have some relevance in this year's draft as well.

The Ravens find themselves in a rare draft position in the middle of the first round. From 2009 to 2013, the Ravens entered the draft with these first-round picks: No. 26, No. 25, No. 26, No. 29 and No. 32.

This is the first time in years that the Ravens have a shot at getting an impact player instead of just a prospect at the bottom of the first round that you hope will turn into a long-term starter. The Ravens don't want to be in this area of the first round anytime soon, so I don't see them just moving back to the same spot they've been in for the previous five years.

Who could be there at No. 17? North Carolina's Eric Ebron, the best tight end in the draft. Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the top safety in this draft class. Alabama's C.J. Mosley, the consensus top inside linebacker. Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller, who has been ranked as the No. 1 cornerback by some analysts.

Some of these players won't make it to the middle of the first round. But the Ravens also know none of them will be available at the bottom of it.

"We love picks. We've said that a bunch," DeCosta said. "I think it all depends on the trade itself -- who's available and what can we get."

The odds are that a difference maker will be there at No. 17 when the Ravens are on the clock. That's why no one should assume the Ravens are trading back this year.