Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had his season-ending press conference on Thursday. During that press conference, he discussed drafting the eventual successor to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
“It is something that we will talking about, for sure,” Harbaugh said in Thursday’s press conference, via The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec. “Certain positions are going to be more important than others, but when you have a veteran quarterback at this stage, that is the time you are always looking for a young backup.”
Flacco has been consistently banged up for two straight seasons now. He tore his ACL in 2015, causing him to miss the majority of the offseason in 2016. He would also injure his back during the 2017 offseason, which caused him to miss every preseason game.
Baltimore has drafted backups for Flacco in the past. Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was drafted by the Ravens in the 2011 NFL Draft. Keith Wenning was drafted in the sixth round in the 2014 NFL Draft.
On December 15, 2015, Ryan Mallett was signed to the team. He would start two games for Baltimore in that season. He has since become Flacco’s backup, but he is set to become a free agent.
There are a litany of quarterbacks that will be available in the 2018 NFL Draft. Baltimore is expected to draft as many playmakers as possible, mainly ones that could assist them currently. The current expectation is that if the Ravens do draft a quarterback, they will draft one in the mid-to-late rounds.
UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, USC’s Sam Darnold, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Wyoming’s Josh Allen are expected to come off of the board during the early rounds. Baltimore could possibly go in the direction of drafting North Carolina’s Ryan Finley, Washington State’s Luke Falk, Memphis’ Riley Ferguson or Duke’s Daniel Jones could be available.
The key for all four quarterbacks is that they played in cold weather. Falk’s accuracy is highly intriguing, with a career completion percentage of 68.3%. Ferguson also has the ability to go deep, with his throws averaging 9.0 yards per attempt this season. Finley has shown a bit of mobility, rushing for 194 yards in 2017.
Despite these quarterbacks possibly becoming Ravens next season, it doesn’t mean that they will immediately overtake Flacco at the position.
“I do not think that jeopardizes Joe at all,” Harbaugh said. “He is our guy, and I am excited about our chances next year having a great season, and Joe is too. If we draft a quarterback, if it turns out to be the thing we do, it is only going to make our team stronger.”