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Round 6: Ravens Draft QB Keith Wenning


Cross quarterback off the Ravens' needs list.

The Ravens took quarterback Keith Wenning in the sixth round with the 194th-overall pick, filling a need they had identified heading into draft weekend.

Wenning is a developmental prospect who will compete with Tyrod Taylor for the backup job. He could also use the year to watch and learn as the third quarterback behind Taylor and starter Joe Flacco.

"I'm not going to come in and try to beat out Joe Flacco. He's the starter.  He's the man," Wennning said on a conference call with Baltimore media. "I feel like he's a great quarterback that I can learn from, and I feel like I can push and try to make other guys around me better."

Adding a quarterback was a priority for the Ravens, as Taylor is heading into the final year of his rookie contract. He has played sparingly during his three seasons with the Ravens – Flacco has never missed a start – and the Ravens wanted more competition at the position.

General Manager Ozzie Newsome expects Wenning to challenge Taylor, as there is competition at every position, but stressed that Taylor's contract situation was critical in the decision to draft another quarterback. 

"Yes, he will be competing," Newsome responded when asked if Wenning will be in the mix for the No. 2 job.

"If Tyrod gets an opportunity to get on the field and plays lights out, then it would be very difficult for us to be able to retain him [in 2015]. To be able to have somebody here to start to develop to work with Joe is a very positive thing."

Flacco and Taylor have been the only two quarterbacks on the roster the last two seasons, but the addition of Wenning could lead to them keeping another passer on the 53-man squad.

"I think it's a great opportunity," Wenning said. "Not every guy gets the opportunity to play behind a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that I'm going to take full advantage of."

Wenning, 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, had a standout season last year at Ball State. He threw for 4,148 passing yards and 35 touchdowns, along with seven interceptions.

He was a four-year starter at Ball State and he holds a number of school passing records. His 11,402 passing yards and 91 touchdown passes both rank as the best in school history.

"I feel like I'm really composed as a player," Wenning said. "My composure, that's just the way I play the quarterback position. I'm always calm and cool under presser, and I just feel like if you do what you practice with everything you've been through you're able to rise in those types of situations."

The Ravens had shown interest in Wennning throughout the pre-draft process, and came to Baltimore for a visit with the organization.

"It was a great visit," Wenning said. "Meeting with the coaches and the front office personnel was great, and I know there was a possible chance. And I'm just grateful they took a pick on me."

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