January 28, 2012; Mobile, AL, USA; South Squad defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw (41) sacks North Squad quarterback Russell Wilson (16) of Wisconsin during the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE

Report: The Ravens could trade Up in the First Round

Mike Preston of Sporting News is reporting that If Dont’a Hightower or Courtney Upshaw, the two players Baltimore covets most, are available at pick number 20(Tennessee Titans), The Ravens will attempt to make a move up the board to go after one of them. Preston doesn’t mention a source but the information makes a ton of sense as Preston in essentially reporting that the Ravens don’t feel like they are going to get a true first rounder if the stay put at 29.

Moving up to get Upshaw make more sense to me then going to get Hightower does. Upshaw provides a long term need and a short term fix replacing Jarrett Johnson at OLB. Upshaw would likely be a day one starter because his ability to rush the passer is essentially equal to Paul Krugers ability, but Upshaw is considerably better as a run defender and has more pass defense ability. Kruger would likely become a third down specialist.

Moving up to get Hightower only makes sense if the Ravens believe the Steelers will take him at 24. If Ravens believe that Hightower is a future Probowler and they think their hated rival is going to steal him from them, the move to trade up becomes a no brainer, help the team, hurt the Steelers.That’s a Win-Win. That said, i would disagree with a move based solely on taking a player away from the Steelers, but i don’t think its necessary to think that way about the Ravens personnel group.

Preston also listed a few other players the Ravens might be targeting with a trade up, Stephen Hill being the main option saying that The Ravens see him as having “enormous potential”, despite the fact that he is not a polished player. I would be fully on board with any decision to get Hill as i think there isnt a single player in the past 2-3 years of the draft at the WR position who had as much long term potential as Hill and was available late in the first round. WRs with Hills physical tools generally are top 10 picks. Stephen Hill is like a less polished, but taller and faster version of AJ Green. If the Ravens were to drft him and ease him into the pro game, he could be one of the best WRs in the NFL in 3 years.

Mohomed Sanu, Alshon Jeffery, Brian Quick, Andre Branch, Devon Still, Dontari Poe, Whittney Mercilus, Cam Johnson, Chandler Jones and Peter Konz were all also mentioned as player the Ravens would likely target in the first three rounds of the draft. Jeffery, Still, Jones, Mercilus, Konz and Poe would all have to be first round targets or possibly targets if the Ravens were to trade back 5-10 spots. Sanu, Quick, Branch and Johnson could all be second round targets. I’m not so sure that any of these guys will fall to the back half of the third round.

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Tags: Alshon Jeffery Andre Branch Baltimore Baltimore Ravens Brian Quick Chandler Jones Courtney Upshaw Devon Still Donta Hightower Dontari Poe Draft Draft Trade Football Mohomed Sanu NFL NFL Draft Peter Konz Pittsburgh Steelers Ravens Stephen Hill Tennessee Titans Trade

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