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Draft Q&A with The Sun's Ken Murray

Each Tuesday in the Toy Department we bring you a Q&A with the reporters and writers who are in the field, chasing the news. This week The Baltimore Sun's NFL reporter Ken Murray took time to answer some of our questions. Murray had two stints as Colts beat writer, with The News American in 1981 and The Evening Sun in 1983. He also covered the Baltimore CFL team in 1994 and the Ravens in 2000, and has predominantly covered the NFL during his 25 years at The Sun.

Question: What was the first NFL draft you covered? How did you cover it, and can you compare it to the circus the draft has grown into today?

Murray: My first experience with the draft was in 1979 as a rookie beat reporter covering the Dallas Cowboys for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It was another lifetime, another world away from the manufactured glitz we endure these days. It was pre-combine, there was no Mel Kiper, no ESPN, no hysteria. I didn’t comb through magazines in the days and weeks before trying to find scouting reports on guys the Cowboys might take. The team was secretive about its plans, but it almost didn’t matter. There was no buzz. And it didn’t help that the Cowboys’ first-round pick was a center from Tennessee, Robert Shaw, who lasted just three seasons before a knee injury ended his career.

Question: The Lions have the No. 1 pick. What are the odds that they blow yet another draft?

Murray: Very high, maybe 4-5. But admittedly, they’re in a bad position. This is one of those drafts when you don’t want the first pick because there is no player worthy of the first pick and the $30 million in guarantees that will be attached to it. Since they need a quarterback, everyone has Matthew Stafford going to Detroit. That has the makings of big-time bust, just because of how terrible the Lions are. They have a chance to get a player who will help more immediately at pick 20, but I expect them to blow that one, too.

Question: Having covered this a few times, have you picked up anything from watching Ozzie Newsome that gives you any clue what the Ravens might do? Does he ever show his hand?

 

Question: Well, what does your gut tell you? Will they be picking at No. 26 or will they trade the pick away?

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Question: Let's say they don't trade it. In your mock draft, you have both Darrius Heyward-Bey and Hakeem Nicks off the board before the Ravens' No. 26 pick. You have them selecting USC linebacker Rey Maualuga. What do you like about Maualuga?

Question: Come Saturday afternoon, do you think the Ravens will essentially be choosing between Maualuga and Illinois cornerback Vontae Davis? Or do you think the Ravens have reached a point where they'll avoid cornerbacks?

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Question: You were at the combine in Indianapolis. Of the names floated as likely Ravens' targets, did anyone especially impress you?

Question: Has your opinion of this draft class changed in the last couple of months?

Question: What's draft day like for a reporter? With the Ravens picking late and the draft's start time pushed back to 4 p.m., it sounds like a lot of sitting around.

Photos: Associated Press; Getty Images


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