Meet Your New Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco, Quarterback, University of Delaware
Flacco, chosen in the first round by the Ravens after they were unable to move up and grab Matt Ryan (much to our satisfaction), is ironically the first QB chosen from a division I-AA school in the first round since Steve McNair in 1995. He is 23 years old, 6’6″ and 230 lbs. Although he finished his college career at UDel, Flacco was originally on the roster at the University of Pittsburgh, where he served as backup to Tyler Palko. Frustrated with his lack of playing time, he transferred to Delaware in 2005, but was forced to sit out that season.
Flacco’s stats from his 2 years as starter at UDel:
264/417 2783 yards 63.3% 18 TD 10 INT 23 sacks 128.8 rating
331/521 4263 yards 63.5% 23 TD 5 INT 25 sacks 144.9 rating
Flacco won the long distance throw competition at this years State Farm ESPN College Football All-Star challenge with a throw of 74 yards. No word on how far he can throw from his knees.
The Ravens QB situation for the future (hopefully) just got a whole lot less murky. As far as this season goes though, it may be even more interesting, as John Harbaugh has not ruled out Flacco coming in and starting right away, should he beat out Troy Smith and Kyle Boller in the preseason.
Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers University
In a surprising pick, given the team’s obvious needs in the secondary and on the defensive line, the Ravens used their 2nd round pick to get Willis McGahee a backup. Ray Rice was considered one of the top 5 running backs in this years’ class, and will see plenty of carries in 2008. Rice is 21 years old, 5’8″ and 195 lbs. He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 2007.
Rice’s stats from Rutgers:
195 carries 1120 yards 5.7 avg 5 TD 0 fumbles
335 carries 1794 yards 5.4 avg 20 TD 0 fumbles
380 carries 2012 yards 5.3 avg 24 TD 0 fumbles
Tavares Gooden, LB, University of Miami
More defensive players from “The U?” Hey, it sure has served us well in the past. Furthermore, linebackers from the U that wear number 52 have always been a good bet for the Ravens. Gooden is 23 years old, 6’2″ and 238 lbs. Gooden gives the Ravens depth at LB, and he will probably come in and be a special teams beast right away. John Harbaugh’s team should be much improved on special teams in 2008, and debacles like the great Joshua Cribbs fiasco of ’07 will hopefully be a thing of the past.
Tom Zbikowski, S, Notre Dame
Zbikowski, a strong safety/return man/boxer, gives the Ravens some secondary depth and a backup return man for Yamon Figurs. He too, will likely contribute right away on special teams. Zbikowski is 22 years old, 5’11″ and 211 lbs. He should fit in well with the Ravens’ defense, as he is a playmaker who that flies around, hits hard, and has a passion for the game. Talking about Zbikowski at the draft, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said he has the potential to be a star.
Fabian Washington, CB, Oakland Raiders
For those of us who were wondering when the hell the Ravens were going to address their problems at CB, we got our answer when it was revealed that they traded a 4th round pick to Oakland for Fabian Washington, who lost his job with the Raiders when they signed DeAngelo Hall this offseason. Washington was the 23rd overall pick by Oakland in 2005, and has started 16, 14, and 15 games in his 3 seasons, racking up 123 tackles and 5 interceptions.
A great move by the front office here. They addressed their need for another CB by adding a young veteran, a first round talent at a discount, and a guy that won’t be prone to the same rookie mistakes and growing pains that perhaps a Leodis McKelvin or Mike Jenkins would be. On the bad side though, Washington has a bit of legal trouble in his past, having been arrested in February for allegedly beating up his girlfriend.
The Ravens’ rounded out their 2008 draft with the following picks:
Oniel Cousins, Offensive Lineman, University of Texas – El Paso
Marcus Smith, Wide Receiver, New Mexico
David Hale, Offensive Tackle, Weber State
Haruki Nakamura, Safety, University of Cincinnati
Justin Harper, Wide Receiver, Virginia Tech
Allen Patrick, Running Back, University of Oklahoma
With Ozzie’s draft history, at least a couple of these later picks will probably end up being significant contributors to the team, at the very least, if not stars. Until we find out who does and doesn’t make the team, though, I’m not really inclined to look them up and read about them.
Grade the Ravens’ draft in the poll at right.