Ravens could be in market for later-round qua

OWINGS MILLS -- Spearheaded by franchise quarterback Joe Flacco and Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens don't lack for talent in their offensive backfield. That doesn't mean they couldn't use some quality reinforcements.

With backup quarterback Marc Bulger expected to be in heavy demand as a free agent and backup running back Willis McGahee unlikely to return due to his $6 million base salary next season, the Ravens are expected to explore adding depth at both positions later this week in the NFL draft.

The Ravens would like to bolster the quarterback position, but that will likely be a lower-profile passer selected in the middle to later rounds. Think Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi, a big, strong pocket passer at 6-foot-4, 221 pounds. The Ravens sent quarterbacks coach Craig Ver Steeg to the Pro Day workout for the All-Big Ten Conference quarterback and also observed him at the Senior Bowl.

"It's a guy that plays well on tape, first of all," Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said. "Our coaches and scouts have looked at these guys. Intelligence is important at that position and the accuracy is important. Experience, production, character, a whole bunch of different things just like with every other position.

"Every position has what we call position-specific and critical factors. Again, we've ranked all these quarterbacks in value. Craig Ver Steeg has done a great job looking at all of these guys. We've got a good quarterback board, and if there's a good player at some point in the draft available, we could turn the card in." Other second-tier or third-tier quarterbacks who could be of interest to the Ravens are Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy, Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle, North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates, Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber, Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, California (Pa.) quarterback Josh Portis, a former University of Maryland player, and Texas A&M quarterback Jerod Johnson. Taylor, Portis and Johnson are athletic enough to run the Wildcat formation or even offer some positional flexibility as wide receivers. McElroy broke his hand at the Senior Bowl, but is healthy now. He won a national championship with the Crimson Tide as a junior, completing 70 percent of his throws as a senior.

"Stanzi is a smart, heady quarterback who makes good decisions and is a leader, but has struggled to be a consistent accurate guy," said Russ Lande, the Sporting News' draft analyst who used to scout for the Cleveland Browns and the St. Louis Rams. "McElroy is intriguing. He has everything above the shoulders. Mechanically, he's not quite there and he's not a very good athlete with a good arm.

"Guys have developed arm strength. He could be like Gary Kubiak and stick around for 10 years as a backup. McElroy would be a great guy for Flacco to be around and wouldn't be a threat to him." Johnson was benched as a senior and ruined his draft stock.

"I would have bet he was going to be a second-round pick or a third-round pick after his junior year," Lande said. "He basically pissed down his leg." Devlin played at Delaware, Flacco's alma mater.

"Devlin has got a chance," Lande said. "I'm not super-high on him." Weber has visited the Vikings. He passed for 10,917 yards, but struggled with his accuracy. Yates was an ultra-productive four-year starter for the Tar Heels with 58 career touchdowns who has been tutored by former New England Patriots quarterbacks coach Larry Kennan.

"Yates is a very talented kid, athletic with a big arm," Lande said. "He can make all the throws. He's not consistent. You watch him in games sometimes and he's pretty. There are games where he's as athletic as you want to see."

In the history of the franchise, the Ravens have drafted the following quarterbacks: seventh-rounder Jon Stark (1996, Trinity), seventh-rounder Wally Richardson (1997, Penn State), third-rounder Chris Redman (2000, Louisville), seventh-rounder Wes Pate (2002, Louisville), first-rounder Kyle Boller (2003, Cal-Berkeley), sixth-rounder Josh Harris (2004, Bowling Green), sixth-rounder Derek Anderson (2005, Oregon State), fifth-rounder Troy Smith (2007, Ohio State) and Flacco in the first round (2008, Delaware).

"I don't know how many years we've drafted quarterbacks, but I think you can never have enough good quarterbacks on the team," DeCosta said. "Obviously if there's a good player at the quarterback position available at some point in the draft, we'll turn it in. It's just based on how they stack up against the other players in the league." The Ravens sent running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery to Blacksburg, Va., to conduct a private workout with speedy Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams. Williams has visited the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins and has worked out for the New England Patriots and the Dolphins. Williams is a projected second-round draft pick with 4.45 speed, a 40-inch vertical leap and the strength to bench press 225 pounds 19 times.

"A number of people think he's the best back in the draft," Lande said. "The hamstring might keep him from being a second-round pick. On film, he's special. It wouldn't shock me knowing the ravens if they got him in the second round even though they have Ray Rice. They might say, 'He's too good to pass up. This kid is a dynamic football player. I love this kid." Although prone to injuries last season, including a torn hamstring as he missed five games., the 5-foot-9, 211-pound junior rushed for 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns as a freshman and slumped to 477 yards and nine touchdowns last season. An NFL advisory committee told the former Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year would get picked between the first and third rounds.

"I was able to show that I can still be a home-run threat," Williams said. "I feel that my vision is the biggest asset to my game. I feel that what I do extremely well is to keep my eyes forward while my feet are moving and being able to move as quickly as I can." Williams said it feels like everyone else is running in slow motion when he's on the field.

"Yeah, it's funny because my high school coach was talking about that," Williams said. "How the college game kinda slowed down for me. It's cool that you mentioned that, because those were words right out of my mouth."

Eastern Washington junior running back Taiwan Jones is an intriguing speedster who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.28 seconds with a 42-inch vertical leap and an 11-foot broad jump. Undersized at 5-11, 194 pounds, he has rare speed and game-breaking ability. Jones rushed for 1,742 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and finished with 2,421 all-purpose yards.

"If you needed a workout to find out that Taiwan Jones was fast, you're blind," Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said. "The guy is fast. And he's a fun player to watch on film. The biggest thing that helps Taiwan is the film." USC running back Allen Bradford is your prototypical bruiser at 5-11, 235 pounds. He's fast for his size with a 4.53 clocking.

He's a powerful, downhill style back as a converted linebacker-safety who has played fullback and delivers a blow as a tackle-breaking, leading blocking presence. Bradford rushed for 794 yards and five touchdowns last season. Connecticut running back Jordan Todman and Hawaii standout Alex Green are other versatile options. Montgomery attended Green's Pro Day in California.

"Green's a good football player," Lande said. "He can run. He's a big, thick-bodied kid. Todman is a good football player, and the Hawaii kid is explosive and powerful. He looks the part." .

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