A Potential Flacco Backup At Combine

The Ravens might need to draft a backup quarterback to play behind their starting man.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Saturday, February 26th, 2011 at 9:56 am | Categories: 2011 NFL Combine, Mike Duffy

The Ravens are comfortable with Joe Flacco as their starter.  More than comfortable, even.

But with Marc Bulger heading towards the end of his one-year contract, Hunter Cantwell currently owning a reserve/future contract and an uncertain labor situation potentially shortening the window of free agency, the Ravens said they are open to a backup for their franchise signal-caller.

Luckily, the group of scouting combine third-day prospects has some promising talents outside of the Cam Newton/Blaine Gabbert/Ryan Mallet/Jake Locker quartet out of the top of the rankings.

“Somebody has to fall in this class of quarterbacks,” said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay told BaltimoreRavens.com.  “We’ve averaged over the last four years three quarterbacks coming off the board in the first two rounds. Right now, I have eight guys with grades that are in the first two rounds or just slightly thereafter.

“So, one, two, or three of these quarterbacks have to fall to the third day is my guess.”

The Ravens have already done their due diligence on each prospect of interest entering the draft, but they are getting an up-close and personal look at the group this weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine.

McShay cited Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi as one later-round prospect who could be of interest.

The 6-foot-4, 221-pounder has a 26-9 record as a starter. And as a senior, he completed 221 of 345 passes for 3,004 yards and 25 touchdowns with only six interceptions.

While Stanzi’s footwork has been criticized, he seemed determined to improve.

“You find what you’re falling a little short on and see the pros and how they’re playing, with their footwork,” Stanzi said Friday.  “Their consistency is outstanding with what they do.  Everything looks the same, every single rep. That’s hard to do in a game, remain consistent in a game setting.

“There’s always something you can learn from watching film.  You just have to point out something you want to learn and really hone in on that.”

Stanzi is by far the only late-round candidate that could provide depth for the Ravens.  North Carolina’s T.J. Yates led the Tar Heels to a bowl game despite a massive number of suspensions to their defense with a school-record 3,418 passing yards.

In addition, Alabama’s Greg McElroy, Pat Devlin of Delaware, Andy Dalton of TCU, Idaho’s Nathan Enderle and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernik are just some of a few other names analysts have tabbed as potential third-day selections.

And each player is making their case in Indianapolis.

“I’d challenge anybody to go look somewhere else for some worse adversity for a team and a program, because we had it from all angles, as far as the NCAA and academic stuff. And then on top of that, we had a ton of injuries,” said Yates.  “It got pretty hectic at some points. I don’t think any other team in the country went through what we did and we still salvaged a good season out of it.”

Get more insight from Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine by following 1WinningDrive on Twitter

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