- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2008

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Thwarted in their bid to trade up and pick Matt Ryan, the Baltimore Ravens worked a pair of deals to get the second-best quarterback on their board: Joe Flacco.

Flacco, who led Delaware to the NCAA Championship Subdivision title game, was taken with the 18th overall pick in the NFL Draft yesterday. He was second quarterback selected.

Ryan went third overall, to the Atlanta Falcons. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome had conversations with the St. Louis Rams in an effort to secure the second pick in the draft, but the Rams wouldn’t budge.

“Teams in front of you do so much work, when they wake up Saturday morning, they wake up saying, ‘This is our guy,’ ” Newsome said. “It’s hard to get them to move away from that.”

So Newsome waited until it was time to pick at No. 8 before pulling off the first of his three draft-day trades.

Baltimore was on the clock when Newsome dealt the selection to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the 26th overall choice, two third-rounders (71st and 89th overall) and a fourth-round pick.

Rather than risk losing Flacco to another team, Newsome dealt the first-round choice he received from Jacksonville, along with the 89th overall selection and a sixth-rounder, to Houston for the No. 18 pick.

Then, with much delight, the Ravens chose Flacco.

“We decided it was time to pull the trigger on the quarterback that we felt like was the guy to lead our football team into the future,” Newsome said.

The retirement of Steve McNair earlier this month left the Ravens with only two quarterbacks on the roster — the inconsistent Kyle Boller and an inexperienced Troy Smith. Now Flacco is part of the mix, and all three are lined up side by side on the depth chart.

“The quarterback job is going to be an open competition,” first-year coach John Harbaugh said. “The best quarterback is going to be the guy who plays. We’re not ruling anything out.”

Newsome’s third trade of the day was with the Seattle. Baltimore was scheduled to pick 38th overall in the second round, but both players they wanted were gone. So Newsome dealt the selection to the Seahawks for their second-rounder (55th overall) and a third-round selection (86th).

Newsome then took Rutgers career rushing leader Ray Rice, who ran for 4,926 yards and 49 touchdowns in 910 carries.

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