Joe Flacco Ranked Top First-Round Quarterback Of Past Decade
Skip Bayless (yes, Skip Bayless) and several of his Fox Sports "Undisputed" panelists, say Joe Flacco is the best quarterback drafted in the first round over the past decade.
That's a massive statement.
And we all know Skip.
He's been one of Flacco's harshest critics. He's gone toe-to-toe with Ravens defensive leader Terrell Suggs on multiple occasions about the Ravens' belief in Flacco.
Well, Bayless is finally, but begrudgingly, giving Flacco his due because of the many victories he's delivered on the biggest stages of football. Begrudging compliments are often the best because one's play demands respect from those who don't want to give it.
"In the end, I'm sorry … this is shocking to me because I'm not the biggest Fluke-O fan, but Joe Flacco [is] number one on this list just because of what he's done in the postseason," Bayless said in the video below. "If that's what matters, he's really mattered in the postseason."
Flacco has a 10-5 postseason record (the second-most wins by a starting QB since 2008), including 7-5 on the road (the most road wins by a QB in NFL history). He's thrown 25 touchdowns* *to 10 interceptions in those games.
The 2008 first-round pick had to go through the best team of our generation (New England Patriots) and best quarterback of all-time (Tom Brady) in order to advance to Super Bowl XLVII and be crowned the MVP. Flacco is 2-2 in Foxboro in the playoffs, and Bayless says he should be 3-1, had wide receiver Lee Evans held onto a potential game-winning touchdown in the 2011 AFC championship.
"That's not good, that is great," Bayless said.
USA Today recently ranked its top-10 first-round QBs in this order: Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons), Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions), Flacco, Sam Bradford (L.A. Rams), Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins), Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans) and Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings).
Many analysts proclaimed Luck as the next John Elway coming out of Stanford, but Bayless says he hasn't lived up to that billing thus far, throwing too many interceptions over the years and only going 3-3 in the playoffs.
Ryan was selected ahead of Flacco in 2008 and was the league's overall MVP last year, but hasn't had the same postseason success as Flacco, including losing to Brady in the Super Bowl about two months ago. Newton was also an MVP, but lost in Super Bowl 50.
Bayless wasn't the only "Undisputed" panelist to rank Flacco No. 1.
Both Shannon Sharpe and Greg Jennings, two retired Super Bowl champions, also have Flacco on top of their lists, citing similar reasons as Bayless.
"He's gone to Brady's home … very few quarterbacks can say they've beaten Brady in Foxboro in the playoffs," said Sharpe. "[Flacco] says, 'I beat him twice!' And as you mentioned, he's a dropped touchdown by Lee Evans away from being 3-1. He won the Super Bowl, won an MVP, that's got to be No. 1."
Added Jennings: "The Super Bowl, the winning percentage in the playoffs – huge. You can rate that against some of the top, elite quarterbacks in this league and [Flacco is] top two or three."
Now nearly two years removed from tearing his ACL in 2015, Flacco is expected to return to his top form, and the Ravens believe he'll bring home another Lombardi Trophy (or more).
"The expectation, when he first walked into the building in 2008 was, 'Hey dude, we're going to win multiple Super Bowls. We're going to win multiple championships here.' And we're going to," Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the end of March.
Who Will Challenge Patriots In AFC?
While Flacco and the Ravens are one of the few teams to put up a good fight against Brady and the Patriots, New England has gotten the better of Baltimore in recent years.
Baltimore has company, however.
No NFL team has enjoyed much success against New England recently, so NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal asks who will challenge the Patriots, who are early favorites to win the AFC again in 2017.
Rosenthal named four teams he thinks are most likely to make the playoffs and have the opportunity to stop the Patriots: Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.
"It's unlikely that every team in this tier will make the playoffs," Rosenthal wrote. "But they all have championship aspirations and the pedigree to believe they should be playing in January. Any one of them could take out the Patriots if things break right."
Along with three other teams, Baltimore was named as one of the playoff "contenders."
"Baltimore wasn't that far away from the playoffs last year, although General Manager Ozzie Newsome knows his defense is far away from its heyday," Rosenthal wrote. "The Ravens need instant impact from this draft, just like the Bengals. Both teams aren't used to having so many depth-chart holes.
"There isn't much separating this group from the tier above. They all enter the season with realistic playoff hopes."
Ravens Six-Round Mock Draft
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter is building his way up to a seven-round draft, and his first six rounds are in.
The Ravens don't currently have a pick in the seventh round, so let's look at who Reuter has coming to Baltimore this April:
Round 1 (No. 16): UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley
Round 2 (No. 47): Florida CB Quincy Wilson
Round 3 (No. 74): Alabama LB Ryan Anderson
Round 3 (No. 78): Florida DT Caleb Brantley
Round 4 (No. 122): LSU C Ethan Pocic
Round 5 (No. 159): Toledo TE Michael Roberts
Round 6 (No. 186): Florida St. FB Freddie Stevenson
Reuter addresses several of the Ravens' needs, including a young pass rusher who can get after the quarterback in the first round and another cornerback to add to the stable. The Ravens also get help at center and linebacker, where they lost starter Jeremy Zuttah (free agency) and Zach Orr (early retirement), respectively.
Fans likely won't be happy with Reuter for not adding a wide receiver or right tackle to help make up for the losses of Steve Smith Sr. (retirement) and Rick Wagner (free agency).
Would NFL Owners Have Voted Differently Had Dean Blandino Already Stepped Down?
The league sent a memo to all 32 NFL teams Friday morning,* *announcing Dean Blandino would step down as the senior vice president of officiating.
The news came just a few weeks after owners voted to centralize all replay calls at the league's officiating office in New York City with Blandino making the decisions.
The MMQB.com's Peter King says Blandino stepping down was a surprise to many, and had the owners known he would, there's a "strong chance" they may have not voted for centralized replay.
"Clearly, a big part of voting … was because of the strength of Blandino, and how good a media face he was for officiating," wrote King. "He ran the beehive of an officiating command center, the size of a large Manhattan studio apartment, with 82 TV monitors and 21 employees following the games, calmly and authoritatively. He earned the trust of the league, and the officials.
"So why didn't the NFL make sure to have him under contract so he couldn't walk away to do TV? That's the question many around the league were asking after this bolt out of the blue happened Friday."