Flacco in the Fold

The Baltimore Ravens wanted their first-round pick signed on time so he can compete for a starting job. They got that done on Wednesday evening.

The Baltimore Ravens have reached a contract agreement with first-round pick Joe Flacco, Scout.com has confirmed.

The former University of Delaware strong-armed signal caller will sign a five-year worth a maximum of close to $30 million with $8.75 million guaranteed.

Last year's 18th pick overall, CB Leon Hall, signed a five-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals worth $8.067 guaranteed with a total max package of $13.6 million.

The second quarterback taken in the 2007 draft, Brady Quinn by the Cleveland Browns, signed a five-year deal with $7.75 million guaranteed with a total max package of $30 million. Quinn, who was the 22nd player selected overall, became a contract holdout and didn't win the starting job last season. If he doesn't beat out incumbent starter Derek Anderson this season, Quinn will miss out on a significant amount of incentives which will significantly reduce the total package of the deal. So getting Flacco signed on time before the Baltimore rookies report this Monday will give him a much better chance to compete for the starting job against second-year QB Troy Smith and veteran QB Kyle Boller.

Flacco's ascent to the first round was one of the more interesting developments of the rookie class when you consider he was thought to be a late round selection coming into his senior season. Flacco only started two seasons for Delaware after transferring from the University of Pittsburgh where he backed up current New Orleans Saints No. 3 Tyler Palko. After Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt told Flacco he wouldn't be given a chance to compete for the job (something he told us earlier this year he still doesn't understand totally), he decided to play closer to home.

Flacco's rise up draft boards continued after being named to the Senior Bowl as a replacement for Boston College QB Matt Ryan. It was the first time the six-foot-six plus quarterback got to show his talent on a national stage. While he had somewhat of an up and down week in Mobile, Flacco had a terrific NFL combine workout which helped solidify his standing as the second highest ranked quarterback coming into the draft.

While some would criticize Delaware's offensive scheme being run mostly out of the spread formation, Flacco was still asked to check down quite a bit. But when asked to throw the ball down field, he showed to easily have the strongest arm coming out of this year's draft. His impressive TD-turnover ratio (23-5) as well as a 8.18 average per pass attempt caught the notice of scouts when evaluating his Senior coaching tape. But perhaps his strongest trait which probably doesn't get enough credit is his ability to stand in the pocket and stay in there against oncoming pass rushers--a trait which is rarely found in young quarterbacks.

Now he'll get to show off those traits again--but this time against a much higher level of competition.  

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