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Stanton had excellent billing at the start of the season, but played himself out of contention with his hot and cold style that has defined the Michigan State Spartans for years. Stanton has the size to play the position well and is able to do a lot on the field with his legs. This danger has helped the Spartans at times though in many instances Stanton would have been better off moving to make time to throw the ball, a transition made by Troy Smith this past year with remarkable success. Outlooks vary on the prospect, ranging from the second coming of Tony Banks with great ability and horrendous decision making to Phil Simms comparisons. Some of Stantonâ€™s issues may be caused by his supporting cast of lineman and receivers who are less than those of many other quarterbacks in this draft. Finally, Stanton has a tendency to get flustered under pressure which is where most of his mistakes are made, drawing comparisons to Banks and other quarterbacks who never adjusted to the NFL pass rush.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: Stanton will certainly go on the first day and could still be available with the Ravensâ€™ second round selection. However, he will need to sit for one season to acclimate himself to the NFL game and switch from the Michigan State spread offense to the professional game. Further, the Ravens may be scared off by his difficulties with the pass rush and decision making. Stanton might be hauntingly familiar. The pros and cons on him are very similar to those of Kyle Boller coming out of college.
Trent Edwards, 6’4", 231, Stanford
Edwards is a frequent fan favorite for the second round, and the Stanford product played well on a team with little talent surrounding him, much like current professional Jay Cutler. Injury problems are a concern with Edwards. It is also important to note that many draft publications and websites point out that nearly two-thirds of Edwardsâ€™ interceptions were caused by poor receivers who inconveniently tipped balls into the awaiting hands of defenders.
Edwards is at his best when given more time to read through progressions and then select his target than making a quick decision under pressure. With the Ravensâ€™ new offensive line and the addition of quick outlet McGahee as a receiver out of the backfield there may be a better chance for Edwards to develop his ability to react. Finally, there is a concern about happy-feet under the rush and not having good ball security, leading to fumbles when hit hard. Edwards is still a solid prospect and he could edge out Kevin Kolb and Drew Stanton as the third quarterback chosen in the 2007 draft.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: Edwards appears to be a top of the second round selection. This presents a great option for teams like Cleveland or Detroit that may pass on Brady Quinn to select Calvin Johnson or Gaines Adams to then select the quarterback of the future in the second round. Edwards most likely wonâ€™t last this long, which might be why Ozzie Newsome is hinting that the Ravens could take a quarterback in the first round to drive interest in the 29th selection for a potential trade. There is also a slim chance Edwards might be the first round selection of the Ravens but that would represent a real reach, something Eric DeCosta has repeatedly said the team will not do.
Kevin Kolb, 6’3", 218, Houston
Andre Ware and David Klinger brought the Houston offense into the spotlight, but those glory days faded until the arrival of Kevin Kolb. Kolb played in a wacky offense, but has done well making decisions to adjust pre-snap or when under pressure his senior year. Before his senior year, Kolb was a streaky player, but his last year in college proved to be a good investment as his decision making improved markedly. Improvisation is not Kolbâ€™s strong suit as this has tended to result in poor results though these instances tended to be when the Houston product sat in the pocket too long trying to force a play rather than take an escape valve, create a short gain with his feet, or to simply throw the ball at the water cooler.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: Kolb has visited with Ravens personnel several times and seems to be a major smokescreen or a very real possibility. At the moment, Kolb carries a second round billing and many drafts that have the Dolphins missing on a first round quarterback has the team sneaking Kolb away from the Ravens with the 60th selection of the draft. However, a minor trade of two to three slots to guarantee a player might be worth it, especially if it might only cost a 6th round selection that might not even be able to make the roster. Given the talent displayed by Kolb and the significant interest, a second round investment could prove very fruitful if the team were to pick up the accurate Texas native.
Troy Smith won the Heisman, then his line was completely humiliated by the Florida defensive line and his stock dropped like a rock. Granted, Smith may never have been a first round selection, but to say that he wonâ€™t go during the first day seems to be a stretch. Questions about his height continue to dog Smith, but not to the extent of his Florida counterpart Chris Leak. Also, there is a worry that Smith may be a Jeff Garcia type player that could be excellent in the West Coast offense or the spread but might not be able to adapt well to other systems. Even with the negatives, Smith has demonstrated incredible decision making over the past two seasons and has been able to create some impressive improvisational plays when under pressure and able to buy time with his feet.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: Smith is like current Ravens Steve McNair in being most effective in the short to intermediate passing game. Questions also arise with his working most effectively out of the shot gun and the talent at the receiving position carrying him at times. If the second round run on quarterbacks occurs as some predict, Smith may be all that remains of this list by the time the Ravens hit the clock with the 61st pick. Smith certainly isnâ€™t a second round talent yet he might be considered a value should the Ravens trade down into the third or fourth round to get him.
Beck is one of the most interesting stories of the 2007 QB draft class. Beck will enter the NFL relatively long in the tooth at the age of 26 due to his participation in the traditional three year mission for young men of his faith. After returning from his time in Portugal, Beck quickly made an impact by starting games as a freshman. Known as a student of the game, Beck is a very effective field general as demonstrated against Boston College in 2006 and through his continual reduction of interceptions throughout his collegiate career. Beckâ€™s delivery gets the ball out quickly and his accuracy and velocity donâ€™t diminish when he throws on the run. A weakness in Beckâ€™s game is his comparative lack of speed to be an effective threat to run the ball on a consistent basis though he is still substantially faster than Byron Leftwich at 4.8 seconds compared to 5.1 in the 40. Finally, Beck can stand to improve his deep ball that sometimes wavers forcing his receivers to make tough adjustments to the ball in flight.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: When hearing Ravens scouts and personnel men, a repeated favorite quarterback in the league is Tom Brady. Of the quarterbacks in the 2007 draft class, it seems that Beck may be most like Brady in being a student of the game and making the most out of what the defense provides. Others compare him to Mark Bulger without the height, which seems to fit the new Ravens style of crossing and intermediate routes with potential for long plays if a receiver is hit in stride. Beck seems to be moving up the boards recently. Two months ago he may have been a solid value pick during Day 2 of the draft. Now, he is considered by some as the third or fourth best QB in the draft. This then leads to the question of whether Beck merits second round billing for the team. Given media reports Kevin Kolb may be the subject of more discussion inside the team, but this could easily be a screen to deflect interest in Beck for the second round selection.