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Ravens May Seek to Add Another QB in Draft

After a second straight season in which the Baltimore Ravens failed to meet high expectations, the team has vehemently expressed its intent to stick with Joe Flacco as the starting quarterback in 2017. But the Ravens also realize the value of a capable backup, and will look to fill that role either through free agency or the upcoming NFL Draft.

“You have to have two quality quarterbacks to be successful year-in and year-out,” Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome told reporters during his season-in-review press conference earlier this week. “We realize that Joe is only one play away from being injured. We have seen that.”

Newsome need only turn to Wild Card weekend as proof that even the most well-rounded teams can be reduced to mush in the playoffs without a decent signal caller. Minus Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr, the Dolphins and Raiders mounted virtually zero offense against their competition.

Even with Flacco, the Ravens offense struggled mightily through large stretches of the 2016 season. Joe Cool threw 15 TDs to 21 INTs in what is looking increasingly like a rapid regression to the mean since his superhuman postseason performance in 2011, culminating in an MVP showing in Super Bowl XLVII.

Nobody in Charm City likes to talk about it, but Flacco has desperately failed to live up to his enormous contract. And while he remains the unquestioned starter for now, his demotion could be just one Romo/Prescott situation away.

As for the rest of the depth chart, only practice squader Dustin Vaughan and soon-to-be free agent Ryan Mallett currently back up Flacco. Since entering the league in 2014, Vaughan has never made a team’s final roster, and he doesn’t look to be the answer going forward in Baltimore either.

Though a more accomplished player, Mallett’s only contribution of note as a Raven was an improbable victory against the heavily-favoured Steelers late in 2015. His 274 yards through the air ripped seeding control out of Pittsburgh’s hands, before some outside help the week after helped them sneak into the playoffs anyway.

So with no one else on the roster and a lack of throwing talent emanating from this year’s free agent class, the Ravens could seek a mid-round pick to back up the 32-year-old Flacco for several seasons. The franchise has drafted only two QBs since 2008: current Bill Tyrod Taylor and journeyman Keith Wenning. Both were selected in the sixth round.

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