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NFL draft Q&A with Mike Preston

Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston answers your questions about the NFL draft, which begins Thursday night in Chicago. Questions from readers have been edited for clarity.

To ensure the Ravens draft a wide receiver who will have a positive impact on the next 10 years I will pray to saint Jude, keep my thoughts pure, fast every day, and other assorted positive things.  Do you think this will be enough to enable the Ravens to draft a quality wide receiver?  — Joseph (Joe) Cierniak in Frostburg

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Nope, Joe, I suggest you give up smoking, drinking and sex. If you volunteer to live on a desert island for a year and clap your heels three times like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you might get your wish.

If you speak with Joe Flacco, he will gladly give you some assistance. No one wants a talented and fast receiver more than Flacco.

What's your best guess of whether the Ravens will take a wide receiver in the first round? I'm going with 90%. — Brian J. Lease, Beltsville

I just don't think there will be any good receivers left by the time the Ravens pick at No. 26 overall. I assume Alabama's Amari Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White will be gone. I don't think Louisville's DeVante Parker will be available either, but if he slips to the Ravens they will take him. That will leave Oklahoma's Dorial Green-Beckham as the only receiver rated high enough to go in the first round, and he has more baggage than BWI.

I think they either take a cornerback or trade down.

Assuming that Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes is a legitimate first-round guy, are the other three corners (Marcus Peters, Kevin Johnson, Jalen Collins) close enough in ability to be quality, late first-rounders? — Robert in Colorado

Peters and Collins, yes, but Johnson seems to be more of a second round pick. Collins and Waynes are big corners whom the Ravens like, and Peters might slide to the Ravens at No. 26. Even though he has some baggage, the Ravens would take Peters. Peters, out of the University of Washington, has talent and has outstanding potential if he can control his temper and listen to his coaches.

Who do you think can fall to the Ravens that they really covet with the 26th overall selection? — Corey Caudle

Peters and possibly Florida State offensive tackle Cameron Erving, but the Ravens probably won't take an offensive lineman until after the third round. They have good depth on the offensive line. Again, it wouldn't be surprising if the Ravens traded back and gained more picks heading into the second round.

What's more likely: the Ravens trading up in the first round, or trading out of it?

Trading out, even though they have 10 picks. Trading up might cost too much, but if it is only a couple of spots, the Ravens won't hesitate pulling the trigger. The key for the Ravens is to get a solid player, not just a player to make a big splash. If I were a betting man, and of course using your money, I would bet on them moving back.

Do you agree with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti that pass rusher is a quiet need for this team?

He is on target. Both outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs are older players past their primes. The Ravens did a nice job of platooning both last season, so they had something left in the post season, but they can't keep rolling the dice. One good piece of news for the Ravens is that backup outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw was starting to develop as a pass rusher at the end of the season. If he reports to training camp in good shape, he could provide Dumervil and Suggs with more relief in passing situations.

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