OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) _ The Baltimore Ravens have spent months pondering the best way to use the 29th overall pick in the NFL draft. Despite all that research, they know their selection will depend on the actions of the 28 teams in front of them.
As a result of their 13-3 record last season, the Ravens will get the second-lowest draft pick in franchise history next week. The only other time they drafted this late in the first round was in 2001, when Baltimore picked last after winning the Super Bowl.
The Ravens snagged tight end Todd Heap with that choice, proof that there's plenty of talent available late in the first round.
General manager Ozzie Newsome and director of college scouting Eric DeCosta have devised an expansive list of players they hope to snare in the opening round. When one gets taken, the next guy on the chart becomes targeted _ regardless of position.
Thus, Baltimore's first-round selection will be dictated by who's left.
``There are some players we like, and I think we'll get a pretty good player,'' DeCosta said Tuesday. ``History is a good indicator that we're going to get a player who falls down to us who we had pretty highly rated. It could be a top 20 player or it could be somebody from our top 25. I feel confident that will happen again, that we'll get a guy we're excited about on draft day.''
The Ravens could probably use help on the offensive line, regardless of whether Pro Bowl left tackle Jonathan Ogden decides to retire or return. Ogden has left his options open, but Baltimore is counting on having him back for at least one more season.
Coach Brian Billick, who recently had lunch with Ogden near the player's home in Las Vegas, isn't quite ready to make a hotel reservation for Ogden at training camp. But he hasn't written him off, either.
``We really didn't talk much football; I just happened to be in Las Vegas. It was enjoyable. I think he feels pretty good about himself,'' Billick said. ``He started very aggressively to condition, which I think is a good sign. Outside of that, it would be conjecture at this point.''
The same can be said about whom the Ravens will take with their top pick.
Will it be a lineman? A cornerback? The newcomer probably won't be able to crack the starting lineup, so the position isn't significant. Newsome insists the selection will not have anything to do with Ogden's choice on retirement.
``If that decision comes down, then that's something we will look at collectively as to how to best handle it,'' Newsome said. ``But if we pull the trigger at 29 on a player that's not good enough to play for us, then we've made two mistakes, and I don't want to do that.''