With the Ravens publicly condemning quarterback Tyrod Taylor's play and discussing bringing in competition for the backup job to franchise quarterback Joe Flacco, we will look at some of the options at the end of the 2014 draft. With most of the veteran quarterbacks off the market, it is increasingly likely that the Ravens look towards the draft to address the backup quarterback need.
The Ravens would be foolish to pick up what would definitely be a backup quarterback in the first 4 rounds. That leaves the Ravens with the 5th and 6th rounds as being the best options. After running several mock drafts, the following quarterbacks are available with the Ravens' 5th round pick (175th overall):
DAVID FALES - SAN JOSE STATE
The more I read about him and review his film, the more that I see a less polished, smaller armed Joe Flacco. He is a leader and is a workout fiend, which is exactly what you want from a backup. He has toughness that rivals Flacco with about the same amount of ability to run around as well. He can make all the short and intermediate throws that you would ask of him. The knocks on him are his size and his arm strength which is why he would be available this late, but even still, he could be gone in the 4th or early 5th round.
TAJH BOYD - CLEMSON
Boyd is an interesting candidate here because he seems to be more in line with what the Ravens already have in Tyrod Taylor. A shorter (6-foot-1) quarterback with decent mobility and a cannon for an arm. He has had some issues with his weight in the past and has been nicknamed "Fat Boy" by his teammates. By that estimation, he seems like a higher character version of Jamarcus Russell after having been a team captain for 3 straight years at Clemson. Boyd has the stats behind him but that likely comes from having Sammy Watkins as a receiver. Boyd ultimately has issues reading defenses and would be more of a project with a limited upside.
STEPHEN MORRIS - MIAMI
Again, Morris is an interesting candidate that seems to be in line with Tyrod Taylor than Joe Flacco. Having run a 4.63 40 yard dash, he is one of the fastest quarterbacks in this year's draft and has the athletics to go with that speed leading him to be more of a wildcat option than a pocket passer. The biggest knock on him is his accuracy and with a 57.7 career completion percentage, it is worth noting that he has serious trouble leading his receivers. However, the intriguing part about Morris' game is his arm strength and his pure athletic talent which should give a lot of teams reason to look closer. Morris seems to be the player with the most upside and if he could get his accuracy better under Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, he could very well shine as a backup with starter qualities that might be able to be trade bait for a quarterback hungry team down the road.
AARON MURRAY - GEORGIA
Murray is a shorter (6-foot-1) quarterback with bad mechanics that will see balls batted down at the line in the NFL. While accurate on short and intermediate throws, he has difficulty forcing the ball down the field and tends to be wildly off target which will lead to interceptions at the pro level. Murray would be a good candidate for a timing based passing attack, but with Gary Kubiak leading the charge, it isn't expected to be that type of quick hitting offense which would leave Murray as a pretty weak option at backup. Coming off an ACL injury, his injury history and ability to remain healthy has to be of some concern which really wouldn't make him a viable option for the Ravens to push in as the only other quarterback on the roster.
JEFF MATHEWS - CORNELL
Mathews is the option that I like the most after reading about him and watching his game. Watching film on him, I could easily see Flacco in that uniform making the same exact throws, which is what I really love about Mathews.Seriously, watching him play against Princeton, I thought I was watching Flacco play. Same mistakes that Flacco made early in his career, same types of throws and placement, same mobility and same toughness.
His production is off the charts at Cornell even though he isn't the greatest athlete and even though he didn't have the best athletes around him. He is a 4 year starter and a captain for 3 of those years which is a testament towards his passion and drive. At 6-foot-4, he is one of the tallest quarterback options and would fit into what the Ravens would like as a pocket passer with some limited ability to roll out and make those tough sideline throws. Mathews has pretty good arm strength but excels in his accuracy which would have been better if he had better receivers around him. Mathews seems like the absolute perfect fit for what the Ravens are looking for out of a quarterback given that he would be available later in the draft and would be able to run the same scheme as Flacco without missing a step.
While other names like Fales and Boyd probably ring a little more with the casual fan, neither truly fit with the Ravens. Mathews seems like a slam dunk in the 5th round and I would be incredibly happy to jettison backup Tyrod Taylor if the Ravens were to grab Mathews late in the draft.
Comment below with what quarterback you think will be available in the 5th round and why the Ravens should choose him.