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After 3 1st-round swaps, Ravens get AB Jackson and TE Hurst
By DAVID GINSBURG
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) One trade, then another. And still another.
When Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome finally got done dealing in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night, he walked away with Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and sure-handed tight end Hayden Hurst.
Joe Flacco is Baltimore's quarterback for now, but Jackson is sure to get some consideration in the near future after Newsome jumped back into the first round to snag the man who threw a combined 57 touchdown passes over the past two years.
Jackson was secured with the final pick of the first round in a trade with the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Earlier, Newsome traded back twice before taking Hurst at No. 25.
"It was masterful the way it happened in the draft room tonight," beamed Newsome, who is heading the Ravens draft for the last time.
Newsome and coach John Harbaugh made it clear that Flacco remains the No. 1 quarterback. But they simply couldn't pass up the chance to take Jackson, who ran for 50 TDs and threw for 69 more during his spectacular three-run with the Cardinals.
"Joe Flacco is our quarterback. That's the thing that you got to remember," coach John Harbaugh said. "Lamar is going to have a chance to develop."
Newsome's strategy for the night was to move back twice in order to get enough chips to make the trade with Philadelphia.
His first swap was with Buffalo, when he traded picks No. 16 and 154 overall (a fifth-rounder) to the Bills for their 22nd overall pick and No. 65 - the first pick of the third round.
Newsome then gave up the 22nd pick and a sixth-rounder to Tennessee for the 25th overall pick and a fourth-round selection.
That fourth-round pick went to the Eagles, along with Baltimore's second-rounder and a second-round pick in 2019, for No. 32 and 132.
"What happened in that room was a masterpiece," Harbaugh said.
Jackson hoped to go earlier, but was content to have the Ravens come calling.
"There is a chip on my shoulder. Both shoulders," he said. "I'm not mad. It's just motivation."
Hurst, meanwhile, caught 44 passes for 559 yards and two scores as a junior last season.
He is a potential replacement for Benjamin Watson, who led the Ravens with 61 catches in 2017 before leaving as a free agent.
"They said they needed a guy to come and stretch the field vertically," Hurst said. "That suits me perfectly."
Hurst was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th round of the 2012 Major League draft. He played two seasons in the Gulf Coast League, first as a pitcher then as a first baseman, before giving up the sport and joining the Gamecocks as a walk-on.
"When I was with the Pirates, I just didn't have a lot of success," he said. "It was time for me to make a life change."
In the weeks leading up to the draft, Newsome focused on improving a passing attack that last year ranked 29th in the NFL. He signed three free agent receivers - Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead - and added free agent quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Now comes Hurst.
"We added three wide receivers, now we've added a young tight end to the mix to continue to provide Joe some targets," said Newsome, an NFL Hall of Fame tight end.
Newsome's contract expires after this season. He has been in charge of every Baltimore draft since the team moved from Cleveland before the 1996 season.
His goal this year is to snag enough talent in the draft to help the Ravens end a three-year playoff drought. Baltimore went 9-7 last season, losing the finale to Cincinnati 31-27 when a victory would have given the Ravens a wild-card berth.
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Updated April 27, 2018