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As opposed to last year, when the Ravens entered the offseason with three experienced quarterbacks, Baltimore could have reason to eye signal-callers in this year’s NFL Draft.
Joe Flacco is the quarterback of the present and future. But his backup, Marc Bulger, is an unrestricted free agent. Bulger said he would be happy to return to the backup role in Baltimore, but could get offers to be a starter elsewhere.
The Ravens also have Hunter Cantwell, who spent the majority of last season on their practice squad, but they could look to develop another arm.
The 2011 quarterback class isn’t extremely deep and the cream (Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert and Auburn’s Cam Newton) are both underclassmen. But behind them is a group of solid senior signal-callers.
Here’s the top five senior quarterbacks:
Jake Locker (6-foot-2, 228 pounds), Washington
There was buzz that Locker could have been the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft had he declared. But the Huskie returned to Washington for what will likely be a costly senior year. Locker threw 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Now he’s fighting to stay in the first round and had a turbulent week at the Senior Bowl.
Christian Ponder (6-2, 222), Florida State
Ponder hasn’t looked particularly good at the Senior Bowl, according to ESPN’s Todd McShay. He struggled with an elbow injury in his final season, but still put up good numbers with 20 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. There’s talent there, but consistency is an issue.
Andy Dalton (6-2, 213), Texas Christian University
Dalton led TCU to an undefeated season and Rose Bowl victory in his senior year. He impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl with his accuracy and decision-making. Dalton doesn’t have a big arm and is small in stature, but he’s a proven winner.
Colin Kaepernick (6-5, 225), Nevada
Kaepernick’s stock jumped at the Senior Bowl, perhaps into the second round. The big-bodied former Chicago Cubs pitching prospect showed his arm strength and mobility. Kaepernick became just the second player in NCAA history to pass for over 8,000 yards and rush for more than 4,000 in a career.
Greg McElroy (6-2, 222), Alabama
While Alabama’s defense and Heisman-winning tailback Mark Ingram were acclaimed in the 2009 NCAA national championship, McElroy was the offense’s commander. He’s very efficient, throwing just nine interceptions to 37 touchdowns as a two-year starter. Accuracy and decision-making are his trademarks, not arm strength.