For GM Ozzie Newsome and director of player personnel Eric DeCosta, the decision to trade down out of the first round on Thursday night wasn't an easy one.
As an organization that prides itself on building through the draft and successfully finding the next wave of young playmakers, the Ravens go into every draft confident that they will find a Pro Bowl player with their first-round pick. The fact that the organization had never traded out of the first round prior to this year is evidence of that.
It might have been a tough move to make, but by dealing the 25th overall pick to the Broncos, the Ravens netted Denver's second, third, and fourth-round selections, stockpiling picks in what was considered an incredibly deep draft. The result was a draft class that analysts are universally applauding.
"Sitting there Thursday night and just having picks, it was a very uneasy feeling," Newsome said. "But sitting here today, and if someone were to ask me the question, 'Would you make that trade again?' I'd say, 'Yes, I would,' based on the picks we got and based on the players we got with the picks."
You could look at the trade this way - instead of getting Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams (who would have been the pick at 25), the Ravens were able to add three pieces that they were very high on. Linebacker Sergio Kindle came in the second round, and tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta fell to Newsome in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.
Those three, as well as defensive tackle Terrence Cody (who was taken with the Ravens' other second-round pick) were considered good value picks. All four were projected by many experts to go at least a round higher than they did.
"You can get picks, but picks don't mean anything until they become players," Harbaugh said. "You know, we'll find out three [or] four years down the road how good these guys are, but they got players that we're excited about as a coaching staff to have - guys that we targeted and we wanted. That just speaks volumes."
In the end, how people view the Ravens' 2010 draft will hinge on how the trade's key components pan out.
If Williams becomes a stud and turns into a perennial Pro Bowler, there will be fans and media members who claim that Newsome should have stuck at 25 and gone with the bulky defensive tackle. If Kindle's injured knee becomes an issue and neither tight end develops as planned, the Ravens will hear plenty from the critics.
But the very early returns on the trade, and the Ravens' overall draft, have been resoundingly positive. Both from outside The Castle and inside it.
"I'm excited," DeCosta said. "I think, as Ozzie alluded to earlier, that trade was mentally challenging, but it ended up really being the beginning of a great Draft. I mean, without that trade, we're sort of handicapped. We had to deal with a little bit of frustration early, but if you had said to me that just looking at the first three guys - Kindle, Cody, Dickson - those are guys that we honestly coveted before the Draft started.
"So we feel really good about it."