The Ravens are, from top to bottom, perhaps the most complete roster in the NFL. That doesn’t mean that they are without needs, or that they lack the ability to upgrade. In this segment I will be taking a position-by-position look at where the Ravens could use an upgrade or where they my have holes opening up in the near future. Today I will be focusing on finding a backup for Joe Flacco.
Tyrod Taylor is a fine player. He is extremely athletic and fast. He is fairly accurate and he played very well in the preseason. That said it is well established that you can never have to many good QBs on your roster just in case one goes down, just ask the Colts.
Another reason to draft a QB if one comes your way is that teams with established starting QBs find ways to draft players, develop them, and flip them for more draft picks. The Patriots with Matt Cassel, and the Eagles with Kevin Kolb are great examples in the past few years. The Packers also could have gotten at least a second rounder for Matt Flynn this past year if they had wanted to, but the lockout shortened offseason forced them to stand pat and likely let him walk in free agency. Tyrod Doesn’t offer much trade value because teams want to trade for pocket QBs, not athletic ones.
This years QB class is absurdly deep. And there is talent to be had in rounds 2-5 that other years would be high second round talent. Here are some guys that could come the Ravens way later in the draft.
1. Ryan Tanehill, QB, Texas A&M- Tanehill is a rising prospect right now and there is a decent chance he will be a first rounder, but for the sake of this article lets assume that he has a poor combine or an injury or something to that effect and he slides to the end of the second round. If the Ravens have the opportunity to get a first round caliber QB at the end of the second, and no other talent has slid down the board then Tanehill wouldn’t be a bad pick at all and would make a nice insurance policy for the Ravens, if he pans out, the Ravens could flip him for a first rounder in a couple years.
2. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State- Weeden is a first round talent. There is no debating that. He is a better prospect than Jake Locker or Christian Ponder were last year. But he is likely a third round pick. The reason? He is currently 27 years old and will be 28 by the time his first NFL game comes around. Teams don’t like spending high picks on players with a 6 or 7 year shelf life, especially when they have already busted out of one professional sport(in this case baseball). Weeden doesn’t offer much trade potential but he would make the best backup of this class as he provides starter caliber play off of the bench.
3. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona- Foles is another guy that should probably be a career backup but could be flipped for picks down the line(like Kevin Kolb). He has good accuracy and pocket prescense but his footwork and arm strength leaves a lot to be desired. Foles is a third round grade player that could slip up and be a fourth or fifth round steal.
4. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State- let me start by saying that I absolutely love Kellen Moore, im a little bias because I love high character guys and I love rhythm passers and Moore is definitely both. Moore is another guy that has the ability of a high round pick but his size is a serious concern. He weighs in at just 6’0” and 187 lbs. that’s about 2 inches and 40 lbs smaller than the average NFL starter. However, I see a lot of potential if he plays behind a solid offensive line. He is insanely accurate and has probably the best ball placement on his throws of any QB in this draft class. When he gets in rhythm he is almost unstoppable. There is some question about the level of his competition but in my eyes those issues are make believe because he plays just as well against great teams as he does against WAC and MWC teams. He is also a winner and currently has more wins than any other college QB in NCAA history, his career record of 50-3 will likely never be topped. Moore will be at highest a fourth round pick and could likely be had in the 6th round, the Ravens would be wise to use one of their upcoming compensatory picks for him.
5. Case Keenum, QB, Houston- here is another guy that has played against bad competition and will be punished for it in the draft. Unlike Moore, Keenum has not played much against top shelf competition and he is a little old for a draft prospect(he received a rare 5th year of eligibility and also redshirted his freshman year). Keenum also has tremendous accuracy and ball placement but his decision-making is pretty bad at times. That said Keenum has shown a lot of potential but whether or not he can play with the big boys is yet to be seen.
I believe drafting a QB would be a good investment for the Ravens if one falls to them. it may not make a popular pick but it would be a solid one.
Personally I would like to see Brandon Weeden in a Ravens Jersey but there is a good chance he will be a second round pick and I would not like to see the Ravens take Weeden that high, Foles would be my second choice because I believe he offers the highest potential return on investment in terms of trade value down the road.
That’s it for today. next time I will be discussing WRs, see you then!