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Looking for a match

Ravens eye Giants, Jets, Packers as bidders for No. 5 slot

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Posted: Friday April 14, 2000 03:17 AM

  Corey Simon The Packers would like to get their hands on FSU defensive tackle Corey Simon. Brian Bahr/Allsport

By Don Banks, Sports Illustrated

BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Ravens on Thursday continued their exploration of trading down out of the draft's No. 5 spot, holding discussions with the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers and New York Giants, the three teams most interested in moving up.

The Jets and Packers have been the most aggressive pursuers of the Ravens' first of two first-round picks. Baltimore also holds the No. 10 pick, obtained Wednesday from Denver. As part of its double-trade strategy to wind up with two picks in the 10 through 18 portion of the draft, Baltimore sent its No. 15 overall pick and a second-rounder (45th overall) to the Broncos in exchange for the No. 10.

Both the Jets and Packers are believed to be interested in trading up with Baltimore in order to draft Florida State defensive tackle Corey Simon. The Giants are seen as the long shot to execute a deal with the Ravens and most likely don't have enough trade fodder to move up from their No. 11 spot.

Contrary to published reports that No. 17 Oakland also was negotiating with the Ravens for the No. 5 spot, Baltimore team officials said Thursday that they have not heard or spoken to anyone in the Raiders organization about a trade.

Sports Illustrated's Don Banks says Baltimore is in an envious position. Already holding the No. 10 pick, the Ravens are shopping the fifth selection. Banks says that the No. 5 spot will shape the draft's landscape -- as well as offer the most intrigue. 

Baltimore is also believed to have held at least one conversation with No. 6 Philadelphia, which looked to be in line to land Simon before the Ravens' trade talks surfaced.

The Jets hold four first-round picks, but are said to be unwilling to package any two to move up to No. 5. Instead New York is offering Baltimore one of its first-rounders, a second-round pick and a fifth-round selection. The first-rounder is believed to be New York's second, the 16th pick. The Ravens are seeking the Jets' No. 13 pick, plus a second and third rounder.

Green Bay, at No. 14, is also thought to be offering a one, two, and fifth-round package.

Baltimore is not ruling out the possibility of staying at No. 5 and drafting Simon. There is some sentiment for such a move within the organization. But the Ravens had free-agent defensive tackle Sam Adams in for a visit on Thursday and may wind up pursuing him as a potential replacement for defensive tackle Larry Webster, who faces a possible suspension for failing a league test for drugs and alcohol.

The Ravens' talks with Cincinnati about a possible trade for disgruntled running back Corey Dillon continue, but Baltimore views them as a fall-back plan should it not be able to obtain the player its wants at No. 10. The framework of a deal for Dillon could be in place, but not executed unless the Ravens fail to land their top choice at No. 10.

Baltimore's top two draft prospects are Florida reciever Travis Taylor, who it hopes is still around at No. 10, and Tennessee running back Jamal Lewis. The Ravens could chose either player at No. 5 but believe they would be over-paying in each case. Thus, Baltimore would like to trade down their No. 5 pick down into the No. 12-18 range, picking up extra selections and perhaps still landing Lewis. The Ravens are also high on Jackson State receiver Sylvester Morris as a possible selection if they trade down into the high teens.

The Ravens expect to continue trade talks up until Saturday morning, but could reach an agreement with a team Friday and announce their second major trade in three days.

Related information
Stories's Pat Kirwan: Bengals mulling trading Dillon for draft pick
Vols' Lewis could prove best of running backs
AFC Central Draft Preview's Experts' NFL Mock Draft Results
SI's Banks: No. 5 slot where draft fun starts
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