Ravens draft Lamar Jackson's new backup in Devin Leary: Instant grade and analysis

The Ravens have a new backup
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - Clemson v Kentucky
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - Clemson v Kentucky / James Gilbert/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens decided their current quarterback situation wasn't good enough behind Lamar Jackson. To fix that, Baltimore used the No. 218 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to select Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary. He should immediately compete for the QB2 role.

The Ravens are currently leaning on one of the oldest at his position in the league in Josh Johnson as their backup. With Tyler Huntley in Cleveland and Malik Cunningham possibly moving to wide receiver, the Ravens decided to take a chance on the North Carolina State transfer.

While Leary threw for a preposterous 35 touchdowns and five interceptions during the 2021 season at NC State, but an injury and a transfer to a poor Kentucky offense hurt his stock. The high-end flashes are there, as Leary's ceiling is that of an elite backup quarterback.

Ravend NFL Draft grade for Kentucky QB Devin Leary: B

Leary may have only completed 56% of his passes and tossed 12 interceptions last year, but he had a horrendous offensive line and only one NFL skill player in running back Ray Davis. Leary also threw 25 touchdowns, showing a very strong arm and some of the best playmaking out of structure in the SEC.

The arm will be the main selling point, but Leary's aggressive mindset in the pocket will be a welcome sight for Ravens fans. Baltimore won't have to change the offense too much if Leary comes into the game, as he has solid mobility that belies his nonexistent rushing stats from college.

Leary might lack the raw speed of Cunningham or the veteran moxie of Johnson, but he clearly has the best arm of those three. Even if he starts out the season as QB3, don't rule out Leary eventually moving up the depth chart by the end of the campaign.

If Leary doesn't play a single snap for the Ravens this season, that's likely a big win. However, in a league where having a solid backup quarterback is as important as ever, the Ravens wisely rolled the dice on a player with a whip-like arm and enough high-end throws on his resume to stick around in the pros.