FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Matt Ryan Was Almost a Raven

matt-ryan-joe-flacco

You may recall that the Ravens, driven by owner Steve Bisciotti’s desire to land a franchise quarterback, nearly moved up in the 2008 NFL Draft to take quarterback Matt Ryan. The move would have been costly. The picks that Ozzie Newsome was reportedly willing to part with turned into Ray Rice, Tom Zbikowski and Lardarius Webb.

Oh and then there was this guy from Delaware named Flacco. Here’s a look back at an article published on April 27,2008… ~ Tony Lombardi

 

When it came time to pull the trigger near the top of the draft board, the St. Louis Rams stuck to their guns and selected defensive end Chris Long instead of accepting a package of picks from Baltimore to move to the eighth slot.

This decision by the Rams brass will be a pivotal review point in NFL draft history for both franchises.

According to SI’s Peter King, Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome laid out a trade offer to St. Louis a day before the draft that included the Ravens’ first-, second- and fourth-round picks, and a third-rounder in 2009 for the second overall selection. The St. Louis front office politely declined the trade and wrote Long’s name on its draft card.

Had the Rams agreed to move down, the Ravens would have used the No.2 choice on Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan.

Instead, Baltimore kept the picks and added ten new players to its roster. It is too soon to tell, but as of today, the organization should be glad that the Rams declined their offer.

Unless Matt Ryan turns into a franchise quarterback (which some personnel people in the Owings Mills complex believe he will), the non-trade could go down as one of the best moves the team has ever made, or should I say never made?

Mortgaging the future for one player is never a wise choice unless a team is good enough to withstand the loss of multiple draft choices. The Ravens are not one of those teams. In fact, the Ravens needed players badly at many positions.

Even if Ryan becomes a blue-chip player, the sting of losing out on him would be lessened if Joe Flacco (selected at No.18) turns into a solid quarterback in his own right.

Flacco has the tools to be better than Ryan. He has a slightly stronger arm, better touch and an overall bigger upside.

However, Ryan has the intangibles. He has made key plays when he needed to in order to help his team win. Ryan is the type of quarterback who will command the huddle and garner the respect of his teammates. It is questionable if Flacco brings the same degree of leadership to the table.

While Ryan may not have the potential to be as proficient a passer as Flacco could be, there is a better chance that he will be a more stable player. Ryan has less upside, but the prevailing notion is that he will at least be a middle-of-the-pack starting signal caller in the league.

Meanwhile, Flacco has the chance to be special. His delivery is picture perfect. He has the arm and the accuracy to place a deep ball wherever he wants to. He can throw it soft or he can throw it hard.

But if Flacco doesn’t clean up his choppy footwork, he could struggle to avoid the pass rush at the pro level. If he doesn’t adjust to playing against more talented defenders than he faced at the I-AA level at Delaware, he could turn into a bust.

However, as much as Flacco may be a more boom or bust player than Ryan, the front office directors in Baltimore can sleep better at night knowing that if Flacco flames out, they won’t lose as much in the long run as they would have potentially lost if Ryan didn’t turn out to be the one.

The Ravens traded away pick No.125 to Oakland in exchange for cornerback Fabian Washington.
The move could turn out to be a good one, if Washington is able to shake off the cobwebs after being benched last season in Oakland.

As Newsome pointed out, Washington is a better player right now than a prospect who the Ravens might have selected on day two. He is still young enough to bounce back from a forgettable year in which he was picked on repeatedly on the back end.

Washington is a man-to-man cover corner with speed and a smooth stride. He will likely be in the mix as nickel, lining up outside on third-down, while Samari Rolle would move inside to man the slot.

It will be interesting to see how Tavares Gooden, a linebacker who was chosen by Baltimore in the third-round, fits within Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme.

Gooden has the skills to play at any one of the three linebacker positions. Given that the Ravens require their linebackers to handle multiple defensive roles, Gooden should be able to make a seamless transition.

The beauty of this pick is that it gives the team a safety net if it is unable to re-sign either Ray Lewis or Bart Scott following the ‘08 season. It is probable that Lewis will be brought back, but Scott’s days may be numbered if he doesn’t put together a more productive year.

Gooden joins an already deep group of backers. Between Gooden, Prescott Burgess, Antwan Barnes and Edgar Jones, the Ravens have a new wave of explosive, athletic linebackers that could be outstanding in a year or so.

7 Raves on “FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Matt Ryan Was Almost a Raven

  1. Cheri on said:

    I still think the Ravens could had won a Super Bowl with Ryan.You can’t argue that he has been a better QB then Flacco in the regular season as Bill Parcells use to say number don’t lie. With that said, Flacco has proven to be a better QB then Ryan in the post season so knowing that the Ravens won the Super Bowl with Flacco and did not have to lose those other players as you mentioned, yes it worked out fine. Though, I still say a much worst decision then this one would had been the Ravens taking Brady Quinn at the time that would had really set the organization back with 2 qb misses Quinn- Boller ) in such a short period of time.

    • Ron on said:

      Without Ray Rice, I serious doubt that we would have won a Super Bowl. We wouldn’t have gotten Ray if we had traded up. Ryan has had more weapons throughout his career than Joe has. It all worked out.

    • Aaron on said:

      The question is would Ozzie have surrounded Ryan with the same players, hence would he have been as successful here as he is in Atlanta? I look at it as Ryan landed in a place that was not defense first or playing multiple top ten defenses year after year. He landed in a place where they would jump up into the top 6 and give up 5 picks to land an elite WR. That doesnt happen in Baltimore, but it worked out, Flacco has won a Superbowl and multiple playoff games. Ryan, while a regular season stat star, can’t get out of his own way in the post season.

      I’ll also take the player that can take a shot in the chin and not get gun shy. Matt Ryan is good, but he’s not fearless Joe. Joe fits this city.

  2. BOP on said:

    It never was close to a deal and Ravens end up with one of best drafts in NFL history.
    Ryan continues to choke in POs while Flacco is the SB MVP. Nuff said.

  3. BOP on said:

    Also, Ryan had all those great receivers while Joe was limited to Mason for a while. He
    finally got Boldin and Torrey Smith and still didn’t have the talent Ryan had to throw to.

    • James on said:

      Everyone talks about Ryan being so much better, but outside of Ryan’s breakout year in 2012 their stats are pretty close. Give Flacco Ryan’s weapons and have him play indoors against a division with questionable secondaries and you will see a jump.

  4. Cheri on said:

    IN history. hmmm okkkkk Have you see some of Chuck Noll’s drafts from the 70′s Bill Walsh drafts from the 80′s and Jimmy Johnson drafts of the 90′s.. Hell it’s not even Ozzie’s best draft does 1996 with the first 2 picks being hall of famers count for anything.

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