The NFL draft is just a couple of days away and the Ravens appear to be in a good position. Despite having the No. 26 overall pick, the Ravens have 10 selections, which allows for multiple options.
They could trade up in the first round for a coveted player or move down to obtain more picks. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how much the fallout from Ray Rice's domestic violence case will affect their 2015 draft.
The Ravens have to be careful because they really don't want any more players with character issues. But at least two of the top 30 players, Washington cornerback Marcus Peters and Oklahoma receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, carry that baggage.
Two of the Ravens' top needs are cornerback and receiver. Can they afford to take a gamble on either player?
"I would hope that wouldn't happen again, but we will do any and everything that we can to make sure the 10, 11 or six, seven or eight players who we bring into Baltimore will hopefully stay out of trouble, and we'll probably do the extra work on that," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said at the team's recent draft luncheon.
"But there's not a guarantee that it's going to happen. It's just impossible for us to guarantee that."
There are few boy scouts in the NFL. If some players weren't allowed to play based on character, there wouldn't be a league. So in essence, nearly every pick is a gamble.
Peters was dismissed from the Washington football team on Nov. 6 after repeated clashes with the coaching staff. Green-Beckham reportedly has been arrested twice for marijuana possession, although one charge was later dropped. He was reportedly dismissed from Missouri after allegedly pushing a female down a flight of stairs. No charges were filed.
From a public relations standpoint, it would appear that the Ravens shouldn't have interest in either, but Newsome has already admitted that both have visited and been interviewed at the Ravens' training facility.
The team might have serious interest or it might just be a draft ploy to throw off the other 31 NFL teams. The visits, though, just make good business sense.
The Ravens have been one of the NFL's best at drafting players because of their extensive background checks. They also aren't afraid of drafting or signing players with troubled pasts. Remember, this is a team that signed tight end Eric Green and running back Bam Morris as free agents.
Team officials gambled and won on rookies who've had problems in college like running back Jamal Lewis, and lost on others like linebacker Sergio Kindle. The latest they seem to be winning on is cornerback Jimmy Smith, whom the Ravens signed to a 4-year, $48 million contract extension last week.
Wisdom prevailed, and Newsome selected offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden. Newsome, though, is much like Modell; another bleeding heart.
So, it's really not just all about winning.
"Everything matters. We scrutinize everything, every piece of information," Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "Obviously, if a guy has a positive drug test, we talk about it. We don't do this in a vacuum. We consider everything, and we look at all the different facts of the matter. We talk to people, people who have spent time with them [the players]. But again, we don't treat anybody exactly the same. We consider all the different situations and circumstances, and we make a decision."
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Green-Beckham and Peters could help the Ravens instantly. Green-Beckham is the type of receiver the Ravens haven't had since Michael Jackson when they first moved to Baltimore for the 1996 season. Green-Beckham is 6-foot-5, weighs 225 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.49. He has strong hands and can make catches with defensive backs draped all over him. Some scouting reports rate him as the best receiver to come into the league since A.J. Green with the Bengals in 2011.
The criticism of Green-Beckham on the field is that he needs to improve his route running, but with Torrey Smith gone, imagine him opposite veteran receiver Steve Smith.
Almost any cornerback worthy of a first-round selection would help the Ravens, but Peters might be considered a gift if he fell to the Ravens. At 6-0 and 197 pounds, he is big, physical, fast and has outstanding ball skills and quick feet. Peters on one corner and Jimmy Smith on the other would be imposing.
Newsome and DeCosta have gone over many draft scenarios since the end of the season. It won't stop until they pick Thursday night. It's always a risk when drafting a 20-something out of college and offering him millions of dollars.
Some can handle, a lot of them can't.
But more than at any other time in the team's 20-year history, the Ravens have to be public relations concious. They can absorb the baggage of a Peters, but not what Green-Beckham brings to the table.