The first round of the NFL Draft was filled with surprises. There were five quarterbacks selected in round one, but none more interesting than pick 32. The Baltimore Ravens aggressively moved up into the first round to obtain the 32nd pick from the Philadelphia Eagles to draft QB Lamar Jackson. After already selecting Hayden Hurst, a Tight End that will be rushed into a starting role out of need, the Ravens took valuable steps to ensure their future is bright with arguably the most talented QB in the 2018 draft class.
But what does this mean for Joe Flacco?
Flacco has been the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens for a decade. He has only missed six games in his career, has a 92-62 record (59.7%) and has won a championship back in 2012. However, since winning Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens have only been to the playoffs once and have become a .500 team (40-40 over the last 5 years).
Flacco still has four years left on the six-year, $125 million deal he signed back in 2016. Getting out from under that deal right now would be too damaging long-term to the Ravens salary cap situation. There is no more guaranteed money remaining on the contract after this season, so it would be far more manageable for the Ravens to move on from Flacco in 2019. The Ravens could free-up $18.5 million of salary cap space if they make Flacco a post-June 1 cut next year.
The moves GM Ozzie Newsome made this offseason have been well thought out, in terms of short and long-term potential. Some fans were not thrilled with the selection of Hayden Hurst, however, they the team did trade back twice before selecting him. This draft class should challenge for a few starting positions while adding depth to the overall roster.
The team beefed up their receiving group this offseason with Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead to replace last years receivers Mike Wallace (signed with the Eagles) and Jeremy Maclin (Free Agent) to give Flacco more help at the skilled position.
|RD | Pick||Baltimore Ravens|
|1 | 25 | 25||Hayden Hurst, TE | South Carolina|
|1 | 32 | 32||Lamar Jackson, QB | Louisville|
|3 | 19 | 83||Orlando Brown, OT | Oklahoma|
|3 | 22 | 86||Mark Andrews, TE | Oklahoma|
|4 | 18 | 118||Anthony Averett, CB | Alabama|
|4 | 22 | 122||Kenny Young, ILB | UCLA|
|4 | 32 | 132||Jaleel Scott, WR | New Mexico State|
|5 | 25 | 162||Jordan Lasley, WR | UCLA|
|6 | 16 | 190||Deshon Elliott, S | Texas|
|6 | 38 | 212||Greg Senat, OT | Wagner|
|6 | 41 | 215||Bradley Bozeman, C | Alabama|
|7 | 20 | 238||Zach Sieler, DE | Ferris Sta|
Most NFL teams are either rebuilding for the future or putting together pieces for a playoff push. The Ravens have arguably done both this offseason. Drafting Lamar Jackson and allowing him to be groomed in the Ravens system is a smart plan. Despite his unique skill set and talent level, he is still very raw. I think working on his mechanics as a quarterback will pay off long term. The ideal situation for both the Ravens and Jackson is for him to sit for a year and study the offense alongside Flacco and fellow quarterback Robert Griffin III. He can learn from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who has coached mobile quarterbacks like Steve Young and Michael Vick.