Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Fuller

The Ravens have never taken a Baltimore native in the franchise's 18-year draft history. So, what are the chances that streak ends this year?

Actually, there's a possibility the Ravens could draft two hometown players this week. The Ravens could select Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round and Towson running back Terrance West in the third or fourth round. Fuller and West both played their high school football in Baltimore.

[+] EnlargeTerrance West
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezBaltimore native Terrance West, a running back out of Towson, could be an option for the Ravens in the third or fourth round.
Fuller hasn't been linked heavily to the Ravens, but the team places a high priority on cornerbacks. Most draft analysts consider Fuller one of the top three cornerbacks available, and the NFL Network's Mike Mayock has him rated No. 1.

"He’s a competitive player with excellent speed and athleticism, and he comes from a very good football family," Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said of Fuller.

Fuller has been projected to go in the middle of the first round, and there's no guarantee he will be available when the Ravens pick at No. 17. While cornerback isn't a major need for the Ravens, they could use one to replace Corey Graham as the nickelback and to possibly start in 2015, when Lardarius Webb's salary-cap number is $11 million.

"We’ve always felt you can’t have enough corners, especially when you’re in a league now where it’s a passing league with people putting three or four receivers in the games," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "You don’t have too many corners.”

The Ravens have a history of taking cornerbacks high in the draft, selecting five in the first and second rounds. This is second only to outside linebackers (six drafted in the first two rounds).

"Obviously, we like corners and we’re not afraid to take them," Hortiz said. "If there is one sitting there and we’ve got him ranked high, we’ll take him.”

There's a stronger likelihood that the Ravens will consider West, who ran for 2,519 yards and scored 42 touchdowns (setting an FCS record). The Ravens are expected to start looking at running backs in the third and fourth rounds, and West is projected to go in that range.

Running back is a need because starter Ray Rice could miss time because of an NFL suspension, and backup Bernard Pierce won't practice until training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. The Ravens averaged a franchise-worst 3.1 yards per carry last season.

"Terrance [is] a guy who really burst onto the scene this year," said Hortiz, who attended West's game against Delaware last season. "He ran through [Division] I-AA. What he did in the postseason was pretty fun to watch. He’s a really productive player who has had a great year and a lot of touchdowns and knows how to find the end zone.”
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The overriding theme of the Baltimore Ravens' pre-draft news conference Wednesday was this team loves picks.

General manager Ozzie Newsome talked about how he likes being able to acquire more picks. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta mentioned a few times how he enjoys collecting picks. Newsome even spoke about how owner Steve Bisciotti is an advocate of gaining as many picks as possible.

If there was a "we love picks" drinking game at Ravens headquarters today, no media member would've been able to walk straight after the 40-minute question-and-answer session. That's why you're going to repeatedly hear about how the Ravens are looking to trade down from now until May 8.

There is logic to it. Newsome acknowledged the Ravens have already fielded calls from teams wanting to move up to No. 17, and the Ravens have traded down three times in the previous six drafts.

I'm just not entirely sold on the Ravens doing it this year. It comes from a story told by DeCosta on Wednesday.

"I was thinking about a trade that we didn't make a few years ago," DeCosta said. "In 2010, we had a chance to trade a player that we had drafted. It would've been a great trade picks-wise. However, we couldn't find anyone to pick. We liked the player so much that we didn't see any player close to that player."

What I took from this is the Ravens love picks but they love particular players more. This story may have some relevance in this year's draft as well.

The Ravens find themselves in a rare draft position in the middle of the first round. From 2009 to 2013, the Ravens entered the draft with these first-round picks: No. 26, No. 25, No. 26, No. 29 and No. 32.

This is the first time in years that the Ravens have a shot at getting an impact player instead of just a prospect at the bottom of the first round that you hope will turn into a long-term starter. The Ravens don't want to be in this area of the first round anytime soon, so I don't see them just moving back to the same spot they've been in for the previous five years.

Who could be there at No. 17? North Carolina's Eric Ebron, the best tight end in the draft. Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the top safety in this draft class. Alabama's C.J. Mosley, the consensus top inside linebacker. Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller, who has been ranked as the No. 1 cornerback by some analysts.

Some of these players won't make it to the middle of the first round. But the Ravens also know none of them will be available at the bottom of it.

"We love picks. We've said that a bunch," DeCosta said. "I think it all depends on the trade itself -- who's available and what can we get."

The odds are that a difference maker will be there at No. 17 when the Ravens are on the clock. That's why no one should assume the Ravens are trading back this year.