Stability at Quarterback Gives Baltimore Ravens Huge Advantage in NFL Draft
Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) looks on prior to the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
People can debate the true worth of a quarterback all day long, but teams that lack a franchise signal caller know the cost all too well. In recent years, many teams without a steadying presence at the position have repeatedly spent a number of premium picks as they try to sort through the crapshoot of finding a guy who can start under center for years to come.
So while teams like the Browns, Bucs, Texans, Bills, and Jets continue their seemingly annual search for a quarterback who can at least perform reasonably well on the field, the Ravens recognize the fact that they lucked out in the first round of 2008. Joe Flacco was considered a bit of a reach with the 18th pick that year as a bit of an unknown, small school commodity. Needless to say, that risky move has paid off.
Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome is quite aware of how having a franchise quarterback makes things a whole lot easier come draft time.
"“As I told John (Harbaugh), it’s probably a quarter, maybe half the league that’s looking for a quarterback right now to help their franchise,” Newsome said at the Ravens’ pre-draft press conference. “We got fortunate in Joe, and Joe continues to get better. Joe continues to mature. So, I’m glad to have Joe Flacco as a part of our organization as our quarterback. But it’s a position that is hard to win in this league when you don’t have one.”"
Even though Flacco has never posted truly elite numbers in a given season, he simply knows how to win. He’s never missed a game over his seven year career, helping the Ravens secure 10 playoff wins and a Super Bowl victory in that span. Over that same time period, the Browns have started an amazing seven different quarterbacks and spent two first round picks on the position (with another one coming in 2007).
While there are few players in the draft that can be considered “safe” picks at any position, quarterback selections appear to be more volatile than the rest. It is extremely rare to find a “sure thing” at the position, with Andrew Luck and perhaps Matthew Stafford as arguably the only ones to come along since the quarterback rich draft of 2004, which produced Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger.
The shortage of quality quarterbacks in recent years has been a plague for teams that have a need for one, dooming them to perennially high draft positions and losing records. It has caused a shift in philosophy for teams like the Bills and the Chiefs, who have simply resorted to pluggin in a veteran and installing a safe playcalling system, using the ground game and a strong defense to win games.
Thankfully, the Baltimore Ravens haven’t had that problem for quite a few years now. They have been able to build a strong team around Joe Flacco by spending their valuable first round draft picks on playmakers at other positions. It’s also one of the reasons why they are one of the best teams in the NFL, year in and year out.
Next: Ravens Aren't Ruling Out Anything in Draft
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