Ravens See a Very Good Year for Quarterbacks. Will They Draft One?

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For the past decade, there was no sense in spending much time talking about the quarterbacks as the draft approached.

The only conversation was about how many would go before the Ravens were on the clock so it would push players at other positions down the board.

The Ravens have long known – and still know – their starter is Joe Flacco. But this year, there seems to be a higher likelihood that Baltimore will pick a signal-caller at some point in the draft.

Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said the Ravens scouts always evaluate the quarterbacks, but at this year's Senior Bowl, there was more to look at.

"This is a very good year for quarterbacks," DeCosta said.

"There will probably be five or six quarterbacks that have a chance to be drafted in the first round, possibly second round. We'll know those guys. But there's also going to be a pool of guys that are going to go in the second, third, fourth round. We'll know those guys as well. If we really covet a guy and he's there, we'll take him."

The consensus first-round quarterbacks are Southern California's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Wyoming's Josh Allen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Louisville's Lamar Jackson.

DeCosta didn't rule out the possibility of drafting Mayfield or Allen, who both put on a show in Mobile. He said, "It just depends on who's available. It's always about the value of the player, talent of the player, the pick that we have, who else is available and who best fits our team."

But the more likely scenario for Baltimore would be drafting a quarterback in the middle rounds.

After the previously listed five sits Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph, Western Kentucky's Mike White, Washington State's Luke Falk, Virginia's Kurt Benkert, Richmond's Kyle Lauletta and more. All five were at the Senior Bowl.

Rudolph was sidelined by a foot injury, Falk was one of the most accurate passers in practice and Benkert made some special throws. White (8-of-11, 128 yards and a touchdown) and Lauletta (8-of-12, 198 yards, three touchdowns) lit it up in the game.

So, will the Ravens draft one?

After the season ended, Head Coach John Harbaugh said that when you have a quarterback at Flacco's stage (33 years old), "that is the time you are always looking for a young backup."

Flacco was hampered by a back injury at the start of the last season. He suffered a torn ACL in 2015 that hindered his preparations for 2016.

Teams must have quality backup signal-callers. Just look at the NFL playoffs, in which backup quarterbacks led offenses for the Super-Bowl bound Philadelphia Eagles (Nick Foles) and Minnesota Vikings (Case Keenum).

The Ravens have bigger immediate needs, but they realize they can never be overprepared.

"Obviously, it's probably the most important position on the field," DeCosta said. "We look at these guys every single year and for us, it's always about how they stack up against other players."

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