With the draft rumors flying fast and furious on the day before the first round, here’s one we hadn’t previously heard: The Ravens like former Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson so much that they’d be willing to trade way up in the first round to get him.
That’s the word from Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun, who got the team “pissed off” at him the last time we linked to one of his reports, which was about John Harbaugh supposedly not wanting Ed Reed back. This time, Preston reports that the Ravens might trade up for Johnson, if they can make such a trade at a reasonable cost.
Although Johnson is generally regarded as the third-best offensive tackle in this draft (behind Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher), he could go as high as the Top 5 in a draft loaded with offensive line talent. For the Ravens to trade up from their first-round pick, No. 32, and get high enough to draft Johnson, they’d need to give up a bounty of picks.
But the Ravens do own 12 draft picks, which gives them ammunition to trade up if they want to. And it’s also worth noting that the Ravens would love to lock in a franchise left tackle who can protect their franchise quarterback, Joe Flacco, for years to come. Trading up for a left tackle would suggest that the Ravens want to say farewell forever to Bryant McKinnie, and that they want to keep Michael Oher on the right side.
In a draft when most Top 10 teams are reportedly trying to trade down, it makes sense for a team like the Ravens to consider trading up. Still, a move from No. 32 into the territory where they could draft Johnson seems like a long shot.