Most Disappointing Players in Ravens’ History

Grbac Billick

While 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.”

He didn’t.

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.

Which of these players was the most disappointing in Ravens history?
Kyle Boller (72%)
Elvis Grbac (19%)
Travis Taylor (4%)
Dan Cody (2%)
Leon Searcy (3%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.


33 Raves on “Most Disappointing Players in Ravens’ History

  1. JerryB on said:

    Just as Brian Billick’s demise as a head coach is inextricably linked to his determination to validate his opinion that Kyle Boller was a “franchise QB”, John Harbaugh’s success is similarly linked to the arrival of Joe Flacco in Harbaugh’s rookie season! With few exceptions, every great (winning!) head coach has had a “franchise” QB……

    • East Endzone on said:

      The problem with this theory is that Brian Billick did not draft Boller and Harbaugh did not draft Flacco. If Oz gets credit for the hits, he has to take the blame for the misses. All either coach ever did was put the best QB on the roster on the field.

      • JerryB on said:

        Newsome may have drafted Boller, but it was Billick’s adoration of Boller’s ability to throw a football through the uprights from 60 yards away on his knees! Unfortunately, they don’t give points for that and Billick spent the remainder of his tenure as head coach convinced that Boller was the franchise QB until he was literally forced by management to bring in McNair! True that Harbaugh didn’t draft Flacco, but the two arrived on the scene in their rookie years and the rest, as they say, is….history!

        • East Endzone on said:

          Again, as the coach, Billick did not bring in anybody. The GM did that. When he had a better option than Boller, (McNair) he played him and went 13-3.

          • JerryB on said:

            See Tony’s comments below. Billick made it clear that he wanted Boller and, had it not been for management’s insistence on bringing in McNair, he would have stuck with Boller, who not only was never starting material, he wasn’t even backup material! By the way, Boller was scheduled to be the starting QB in Harbaugh’s rookie season, but fate intervened……..

  2. john schultheis on said:

    One must know the draft and scouting reports before each player was drafted to really pursuit the best opinion with knowledge of how to answer factually this question.,. As you can see Tony by people’s answers they knew little of Taylor. He by far is the biggest disappointment because of where he was drafted in early selections (top 10) that year. Even WR Clayton was drafted higher than Boller. But QBS get all the praise or cause fans the most disappointment. The big surprise was not that Boller failed but that Billick stuck with a QB who for 4 years failed and this coach never brought in competition or benched him. Scouts said at the time Boller ,like this years QB selections by teams, should not have been a first round choice. Add to that very few teams wanted Boller before later in the draft and it made this a bad drafting decision compounded by bad coaxing as well. Making the pick even worse also must include the Ravens giving up a valuable number one pick the following year. The draft is in the hands with final say by Ozzie not Billixk for all decisions including any player trades. It was a “team” effort that no one wanted to omit at the time was bad and they continued to make bad by playing Boller!

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      John, Boller was the 19th pick in the 2003 NFL Draft…Clayton was 22nd pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. Also, Boller was the starter (although hurt in 2 of his first 3 seasons) for 3 years before they brought in Steve McNair.

      As for Billick’s influence, don’t sell that short. He also engineered the team’s selection of Adam Terry. Winning that Super Bowl gave him some short-term clout on draft day. The Boller pick was heavily supported by Billick and later engineered by Phil Savage. But ultimately it was Ozzie’s call and he conceded.

    • Anonymous on said:

      Unfortunately, the 2003 Draft was not a good one for QBs. IIRC, Ozzie wanted Byron Leftwich. He would not have panned out as a franchise QB either. The Top 4 QBs in the draft were Palmer, Leftwich, Boller and Grossman. Had the Ravens waited until 2004, who knows?

  3. Joe on said:

    I think #4 should be split between Kindle and Cody. Both OLBs, both drafted 2nd round, both had injury issues which basically limited them from ever doing anything. There are two camps of Ravens fans I’ve seen…1 thinks Cody was unfortunate and Kindle was a bum, and the other thinks Kindle was unfortunate and Cody was a bum. Personally, I think both were unfortunate AND also bums.

  4. walt on said:

    Sergio Kindle not only was he a bust but after being drafted told many he would win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. I think he had 1 total tackle during his time here and I’m not sure that was even on the playing field.

  5. Nick B on said:

    It’s Grbac without question. Every draft pick is a gamble. Despite scouting, game tape, personal work outs, wonderlic tests, and interviews a high percentage of draft pics fail. Grbac was a proven commodity who threw for 4000 yards the year before in KC. Did Boller have what it took to be a winning NFL QB? No but at least he had guts. He played behind some of our worst O-lines and with some of the worst receiving corps in league history, and despite taking a beating never quit or made excuses. Unlike Grbac who was a coward crying on the sidelines and quitting after one year

    • RJ on said:

      If it wasn’t for the fact that we gave up and first AND second round pick for him, I would probably go with Gerbac over Boller. Boller in fact never did have a decent line or receivers to help him out, though he still was a terrible QB never the less, but Gerbac came in with reasonably high expectations both professionally and personally and simply embarrassed himself and the team. He never seemed like a true Raven and played with no heart, but at least he had the decency to retire after realizing it. With Boller, the expectations were that we absolutely needed a franchise QB like we have now with Flacco, and Kyle was as far from that kind of player as has ever existed. He simply didn’t have what it took to be a leader, let alone a great football player, whose skills were something Gerbac had already proven to possess when we hired him. Of course, no one can predict the future, nor could they predict just how bad (not even just mediocre) Kyle Boller really was.

    • Orphan45 on said:

      I am so sick of people using the “worst O Line” theory when it comes to Boller as a Raven. People, boller had over 50 starts as a Raven and that O-line included Jonathan Ogden and Edwin Mulitalo. That SAME line lead the Ravens to a record rushing season for Jamaal Lewis and a 13-3 record with Steve McNair. Was it GREAT? No, but Boller was bad and made it worse. Ask Ogden how many times he blocked his man correctly only to find Boller in his hip pocket when he released his man! Ask St Louis why they paid a record $$ figure for Brown to be their starting center from that same line. Ask why “bad O-lines” followed Boller to St Louis and Oakland? The kid just did NOT have what it took to be a starting QB in the NFL and that is sad, but it is true. Billick may have rushed him into action but just as Randall Cunningham had success behind the same line that Elvis Grbac floundered behind and Flacco had success behind the same O-line that went 5-11 the year before, it is sometimes more about the PLAYER than the scheme or team. Boller was so bad that he was replaced IN GAME by Carson Palmer in Oakland after being on the team all season as the #2 and Palmer was signed that same week! Now it is true that Oakland was abysmal, but that same team finished 8-8 and all Boller produced was some really bad play in the half of football he started that year.

    • RJ on said:

      Mark Clayton absolutely belongs on both a “biggest bust” AND “most disappointing” list. The man was a first rounder, and that always comes with high expectations, especially when we choose him over the likes of Aaron Rogers, Roddy White, or Vincent Jackson, who fell to the second round. In five seasons with the Ravens, Mark Clayton had a pathetic 14 TD’s, including 0 in 2007 even though he played every game! Clayton never played with heart and was another top example of why I am never one of those “In Ozzie We Trust” people since the man is not infallible, though I still do think he’s one of the best GM’s in the NFL.

  6. Allan on said:

    Explain how Boller cost TWO first round picks? We used our 2003 first rounder on Suggs, and took New England’s 2003 first rounder to select Boller for the cost of our 2004 first rounder and our 2003 2nd rounder. We had our 2005 first rounder to select Clayton….?

    • RJ on said:

      Honestly, I’ve always considered Boller himself to be the second wasted first-round pick since we most likely could have easily acquired him (or someone better) in the second round. If we had to trade up in the second round AFTER leaving the first round I could see it, but honestly I think we could have gotten Boller without needing to resort to that.

    • Orphan45 on said:

      True, but Boller DID cost the Ravens two drafts because in 2004 they picked Dwan Edwards and 2005 Clayton was available because 04 was such a down year too.

  7. Ben Z on said:

    Tony it’s interesting you use the word disappointing rather than bust or unsuccessful. I agree wholeheardidly that Cody would be in this instead of kindle because we needed Cody more at the time because we were less successful at the time. But for that reason I’d say Grbac should be #1 as he was brought in here to win us another Super Bowl automatically whereas Kyle was expected to lead the franchise for the next five years. Also lets not forget Jim Fassel who was the biggest coaching disappointment the Ravens have ever had. Hey if they can rate Ozzie as underrated I think we can rate Fassel as a disappointment.

    • Orphan45 on said:

      Agreed, but don’t forget Ted Marchibroda on that coaching disappointment list. And I would argue that Fassel and Cavanaugh were equally horrible and worked for Billick. Billick the offensive genius, QB guru won a Super Bowl on the backs of Marvin Lewis and that balls out Defense which defined Baltimore’s identity for over a decade, is ultimately to blame for Fassel, Cavanaugh and Boller. So I will offer that HE is the ultimate coaching disappointment for the Ravens.
      Oh and I won’t even get into that failure that was named Greg Mattison!

    • Ebuhuel on said:

      Lee Evans was a disappointment indeed, supposed to be deep field threat but wasn’t cause of injuries. He made like 4 catches i believe what is more then lots of people on the list above.

      Cundiff only messed up in his last season and showed what kinda sourpuss he was in trainingcamp with his “hey if they dont want my services i will take it elsewhere.” A real raven would say, i am going to work my butt off and show i am the nr 1 kicker. So cundiff at least gave us something for quite some games, luckily we have justin tucker now who doesn’t choke when a game is on the line :-)

  8. J on said:

    Why wasn’t Trent Dilfer mentioned? After coming in game three, Dilfer led the team into the Superbowl. Doesn’t matter, I’m a Diehard Ravens fan 4 Life!

  9. Phil fm Frostburg on said:

    Others worthy of consideration are DeRon Jenkins and Yamon Figurs, both of whom Ozzie traded up to get and actually hurt the team with their play.
    Disagree with Taylor on the list as he did help the team to a degree.
    I can’t argue with Grbac but he actually had an ok just not great year. Why he’s so disappointing was his lack of heart. If he had Boller’s or Dilfer’s heart, we would have made another Super Bowl or two.
    Not disappointing per se but the worst draft pick in team history had to be Ron Rogers. After first mini camp practice, the team knew he had no shot to make the roster. Does anyone know the story about how the team messed up their eval on him?

  10. Mill on said:

    I’ve personally always felt like Kyle was set up to fail here. They wanted to much to soon from him. And they wanted him to do it while surrounding him with so-so talent. Boller was far from blameless. But I put the bulk of his failure on Billick and the coaching staff.

      • JerryB on said:

        Boller was athletic, no doubt, but lacked the single most important QB ingredient that cannot be taught or coached……..accuracy! Everyone on the football planet understood that almost immediately, but Billick NEVER did! So, the fault was never with Boller; rather, it was Billick’s arrogant insistence that he was a “franchise QB”! And, that attitude wound up wasting a lot of valuable time and….talent!

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