Ravens: different QB option in draft

Team appears unlikely to choose quarterback until last four rounds

April 16, 2002|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Although drafting a quarterback isn't a priority for the Ravens, it remains a distinct possibility.

With third-year quarterback Chris Redman expecting to make the jump to starter, the Ravens are interested in adding a young quarterback to groom. The team, however, doesn't appear sold enough on anyone to use one of its top three picks and would likely draft one in the final four rounds.

"I think it would probably be unlikely we would come out of the first day with a quarterback," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "But I'd be surprised if we don't come out with one in the second day."

The best bets to land on the Ravens are: Sam Houston State's Josh McCown, Stanford's Randy Fasani and East Carolina's David Garrard.

McCown, who is generally rated as the fifth-best quarterback prospect, has watched his stock soar after showing special athletic ability at the Senior Bowl and scouting combine. Labeled a project, he seems to be able to do just about everything - throw, throw on the run and scramble - but his mechanics are suspect.

The Ravens probably would grab only McCown if he falls to them in the fourth round. McCown has been projected to go early in the third round.

"We have become intrigued with him," Billick said.

Said Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' senior vice president of football operations: "He's got that type of athleticism that people are looking for at the position right now. But he also has the arm strength to make all the throws."

The draft's other top quarterbacks either will be picked early or don't fit in the Ravens' scheme.

Fresno State's David Carr and Oregon's Joey Harrington should be taken in the first 10 picks. Tulane's Patrick Ramsey is essentially a duplication of Redman, and Illinois' Kurt Kittner isn't extremely athletic.

The only other highly rated quarterback prospect who has piqued the Ravens' interest is Louisiana State's Rohan Davey. What he lacks in mechanics, he makes up for with a strong arm.

"He's not as mobile [as McCown] but is real strong in the pocket," said Phil Savage, the Ravens' director of college scouting. "He can shake a tackle and move outside. He has a real strong arm, but his experience level is limited."

Below that upper tier are quarterbacks of the later-round variety like Fasani and Garrard.

Fasani has nice arm strength but struggles with accuracy. He has the ability to escape pressure but holds the ball too long.

His statistics weren't overly impressive (1,479 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions) because he missed three games in 2001 with a sprained right knee. He is considered a tough-minded athlete who played linebacker, tight end and special teams early in his career at Stanford.

"He's a good athlete and played in a very good offense that's conducive to our game," Newsome said.

Garrard, a two-year starter at East Carolina, has fallen on draft boards after playing poorly in the Senior Bowl.

While his athletic ability buys him second chances, Garrard isn't known for seeing the field well. He has a big arm but has a tendency to force passes into coverage.

Both Garrard and Fasani are three years away from developing into starters.

"When you draft a guy in the second day at quarterback, you're not deluding yourself into thinking that you might have your starter here in the first year," Billick said. "You're worried about that if you take them in the first round of the draft."

NOTES: Linebacker Kevin Hardy, who was expected to become the Ravens' first free-agent visitor of the off-season, signed with the Dallas Cowboys over the weekend. ... Yesterday was the deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets with other teams. Newsome said neither of the Ravens' restricted free agents - offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo and receiver Brandon Stokley - received offer sheets.

QB picks

A look at the Ravens' history at drafting quarterbacks:

Year Player (round)

2000 Chris Redman (3)

1997 Wally Richardson (7)

1996 Jon Stark (7)

On the board?

The Ravens have the 24th pick in the first round, the 56th pick in the second round and 87th pick in the third round of Saturday's NFL draft. Quarterbacks who are projected to land in those rounds:

Round 1

Player, School Ht./Wt. Skinny

Patrick Ramsey, Tulane 6-2/223 Strong-armed pocket passer

Round 2

None

Round 3

Josh McCown, S. Houston 6-3/225 Skilled, lacks big-time experience

Kurt Kittner, Illinois 6-2/212 Accurate thrower, average arm

Rohan Davey, LSU 6-2/248 Shorter version of D. Culpepper

Later rounds

Randy Fasani, Stanford; David Garrard, East Carolina; Greg Zolman, Vanderbilt.

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