John Harbaugh bungling Devin Leary situation with suspect QB plan

The Ravens need to let Leary shine.
Missouri v Kentucky
Missouri v Kentucky / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens decided to wait until the No. 218 overall pick in the well-regarded 2024 NFL Draft to address their need for a backup quarterback behind Lamar Jackson. With that pick, the Ravens took a chance on Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary at the end of the sixth round.

The Ravens don't have the best quarterback situation behind Jackson right now. Josh Johnson, who is 37 years old, will be in the mix as a backup quarterback alongside Malik Cunningham. John Harbaugh has also stated that Cunningham could be a potential wide receiver convert who switches positions.

Instead of leaning into the rifle arm Leary possesses and upgrading at an area of need, the Ravens seem inclined to put him on ice all season long. Leary is going to be the subject of a long development plan that could take multiple years to ultimately realize.

Harbaugh said that Johnson will be the unquestioned No. 2 quarterback, bumping Leary to the No. 3 spot. This decision may not be the best for Leary or the Ravens, as Baltimore might be choosing experience over the long-term ceiling both quarterbacks have.

Baltimore Ravens have confusing plan for sixth-round pick Devin Leary

Leary's final season with Kentucky saw the rise of accuracy problems (56% completion) and turnover issues (12 interceptions). Baltimore is likely very enticed by his 2021 season at North Carolina State, when he threw 35 touchdowns against just five interceptions in his breakout season.

Leary's best pro traits are a rocket arm and a willingness to try and make some big throws into tight coverage. He isn't a great runner, but he has reeled off some big plays when forced out of the pocket. The Ravens would have some added verticality in their passing game neither Johnson nor Cunningham can provide.

Leary is going to turn 25 in the middle of the season, which will make him less appealing as a pure developmental prospect. The Ravens need to consider making him the backup, as the nightmare scenario of Jackson missing time wouldn't be as painful if they bring in a player with Leary's solid arm.

While this isn't one hundredth as impactful as what the Falcons did with Michael Penix Jr. this year, the Ravens need to invest more in Leary than just sticking him on a practice squad. Leary's ceiling exceeds what Johnson could provide and the Ravens need to let him turn it loose.