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Quarterbacks Will Affect Ravens' First Pick


The Ravens aren't looking at the top quarterbacks at this year's NFL Scouting Combine thinking one might look good in purple and black.

But Baltimore will be hoping this year's quarterbacks make other teams start drooling.

Simply put, the more quarterbacks drafted before the Ravens are on the clock at No. 6, the better. That pushes players at other positions down the board for Baltimore, and it could mean a top talent, such as defensive back Jalen Ramsey or pass rusher Joey Bosa, falls to the Ravens.

The number of quarterbacks drafted in the first five picks will be a major determining factor in who the Ravens end up selecting.

Nearly every mock draft has the Cleveland Browns selecting a quarterback at No. 2. The big question is whether Dallas (or some other team trading up) would take a quarterback at No. 4. And there's even the possibility of San Diego looking at one at No. 3.

"At No. 2, Cleveland needs a quarterback," NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast. "At No. 3, you can make an argument that San Diego better get ready for life without Philip Rivers in their future. And at No. 4, you can say the exact same thing about Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys."

The prospects Ravens fans should be rooting for when watching the quarterbacks work out Saturday are Cal's Jared Goff, North Dakota State's Carson Wentz and Memphis' Paxton Lynch.

So far, the news about the top quarterbacks has been positive, which is music to the Ravens' ears.

"I think there's a little bit more buzz on those top two quarterbacks," Mayock said in a conference call Tuesday. "Obviously the Goff and Wentz thing has heated up."

Mayock said that Goff is "more polished, ready to go today." He says Wentz "has more significant upside."

The Browns may be looking for a new starting quarterback for the 2016 season, so Goff would fill a more immediate need.

"Polished, great in the pocket, finds lanes to throw, really good arm," Mayock said of Goff. "Not elite, but a really good arm, very accurate with a quick release. Most ready to play quarterback in the draft today."

Wentz, who credited Joe Flacco for paving the way, is a similarly small-school prospect with a big arm and big frame. He could make sense for the Chargers or Cowboys, who have veterans in place but are nearing the ends of their careers. Wentz could study underneath Rivers or Romo before taking over.

"When I look at [Wentz], I see a kid that's as athletic or more athletic than Andrew Luck," Mayock said. "He's bigger than Andrew Luck. He's got arm strength comparable to Andrew Luck. He just doesn't have the experience that Andrew Luck had at a high level that Andrew had coming out of college. So I see a ceiling for this kid similar to Andrew Luck. That's why I believe in this kid so much."

Lynch is another possible prize that teams could fall in love with enough to warrant a trade with the Ravens or a team ahead of Baltimore on the draft board.

"The next guy up is Paxton Lynch and you'd better do your homework on him," Mayock said. "Reminds me of Joe Flacco coming out of Delaware. He's a great athlete for 6'7". He'll surprise you with his athletic ability. He's got a big arm, but he's a year or two away from playing.

"Whether it's San Francisco, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Rams, if you think Paxton Lynch is a franchise quarterback, you'd better go get him because there aren't many of those guys out there."

The 49ers (No. 7 pick) could be in the market for a quarterback given Colin Kaepernick's struggles last season and injuries. Kaepernick has reportedly requested a trade. The Eagles (No. 13) and Rams (No. 15) also have pressing quarterback needs.

That spells a market in which there are more suitors than quarterbacks, and with increased demand and short supply, there may be teams looking to trade up to snag their signal caller of choice.

"I'm at number six, so they can always call me," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said Wednesday with a laugh when asked about the possibility of quarterback-hungry teams seeking a trade with him.

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