While NFL.com is flirting around with the most Overrated and Underrated for each team and the ridiculous notion that Ray Lewis is among the former, I’ve opted for a slightly different approach – Biggest Surprises and Worst Disappointments in Ravens History. Here are the disappointments.
5. Leon Searcy ~ Feeling that they had the ability to repeat as champions in the 2001 season the Ravens decided to invest in the best free agent tackle available and signed the 6-foot-4, 320 pound, 31-year-old veteran to a five-year, $31.5 million contract. From 1993 through 1999 Searcy had started in 111 of a possible 112 games. On game day Searcy never stepped on a field as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.
4. Dan Cody ~ The former Boomer Sooner from the University of Oklahoma looked like the kind of player that would be a fit for the Ravens. Projected by many to be a first round selection in 2005, Cody slipped to the Ravens at Pick No. 53. Although he flashed promise during the preseason at times while a Raven, injuries crushed Cody’s career. He sat out the 2005 and 2007 seasons completely and made it on to the field just twice in 2006. The Ravens parted ways with Cody during the summer of 2008. He registered just 1 career tackle – an assist with Trevor Pryce while bringing down Warrick Dunn for a 4-yard gain.
3. Travis Taylor ~ The Ravens picked this Florida Gator with the 10th overall pick in 2000 and during his first start as a Raven in Week 2 of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Taylor showed promise, delivering a 4 catch, 80 yard, 2 touchdown performance. Unfortunately, things went downhill from there for Taylor and he never came close to living up to such a lofty draft position. He would later be labeled soft and he did little to dispel that rap. He lasted only 5 tumultuous seasons in Baltimore.
2. Elvis Grbac ~ Knowing that they needed more firepower on offense if they planned to repeat as World Champions during the 2001 season, the Ravens signed free agent quarterback Elvis Grbac to provide the spark. Grbac initially talked a good game when introduced to the Baltimore media.
“It’s time that a quarterback comes in here and provides leadership, a go-to guy, a vertical passing game. This is a great team. I can make it better.”
When Leon Searcy and Jamal Lewis went down early in training camp, the Ravens could never surround Grbac with the complementary talent. Grbac was a loaner and not a leader at all and as the offense struggled his offensive mates found it difficult to rally around him. He flopped, registering just a 71.1 QB Rating in his only season with the Ravens and his last in the NFL. He was abysmal during the Divisional Playoff game against the Steelers throwing 3 interceptions while posting a 26.1 QB Rating during the game.
1. Kyle Boller ~ Desperate for a dependable signal caller that he could groom into a franchise quarterback, Brian Billick fell in love with the measurables of Kyle Boller. His arm strength, mobility, charisma and toughness lured Billick and then later the front office. The Ravens traded up in the 2003 draft to select Boller with the 19th overall pick. To get there, the Ravens traded away their 2003 second round pick and their first round pick in 2004 to New England. The Patriots used the 2004 pick obtained from the Ravens to select Vince Wilfork, a 5 time Pro Bowler.
The investment in Boller cost the Ravens dearly. Not only did it amount to a waste of a first round pick and a 2nd round pick, it wasted away too many Top 5 performances by a great defense while Boller was a starter. By 2006 the Ravens had seen enough and traded for aging star quarterback Steve McNair. Boller finished his career with a passer rating of 69.5.