Playing special teams, Ngata barreled into the backfield and blocked a punt by Arizona's Danny Baugher, who scooped up the football and started running down the field. Ngata tracked Baugher down 39 yards later and tackled him so hard the punter tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

Not worried about Ngata's effort level, the Ravens on draft day traded a sixth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns to move up one spot to the 12th overall pick to make sure they secured their man.

"Ozzie made the absolute right call," Jeremiah said. "There was so much conviction among the coaches and scouts and everybody in the draft room. We were all pretty excited when he got that done."

But it can be equally as upsetting when a coveted player is drafted by another team just before your team was on the clock. That happened to the Ravens with safety Bob Sanders, a 2004 second-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts who Jeremiah said the Ravens were very high on.

"There's nothing more deflating than having a guy that you love, a guy that you fought for, and feeling like there is a chance you are going to get him only to see him get drafted one or two slots ahead of where you're picking," Jeremiah said. "Every single year that happened."

In the hopes of avoiding that sinking feeling, teams try to be tight-lipped with their evaluations of players to hide their intentions, sometimes going to extreme measures.

Gil Brandt, a scouting pioneer for the Dallas Cowboys decades ago who now does radio for Sirius XM, calls it "April Foolery."

One of his favorite examples of this is when the Denver Broncos traded up to draft quarterback Jay Cutler in 2006 (one pick before Ngata). They were enamored with the strong-armed quarterback but were coy about it. They didn't bring him in for a visit or go to Vanderbilt to work him out.

"Nobody had any idea Denver was interested in him," Brandt said.

Drafting 32nd overall, the Ravens will likely stick to their board like they did in past years when they drafted future Pro Bowl players such as linebacker Ray Lewis, free safety Ed Reed and tight end Todd Heap late in the first round and players like Yanda and cornerback Lardarius Webb after the first round.

It's a labor of love, but strong scouting and patience have been the secrets to their success.

"I just think we trust our scouts and coaches. We watch these guys starting in the fall, and we watch them in the all-star games and the combine, and we listen to the reports, the background the information," assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "We put it all together and we pick the best guy."

An earlier version of this story said the Ravens missed out on drafting Roddy White, but Baltimore actually passed on the wide receiver at 22 to take Mark Clayton before the Falcons selected White at 27. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.