Ravens fans heard some of the rumors over this draft weekend that we may have seen the last of Marc Bulger in a Baltimore uniform should the NFL’s lockout be lifted.
The Arizona Cardinals appear to be ready to sign Bulger-the longtime NFL veteran of the St. Louis Rams who backed up Joe Flacco this year-to a contract when the teams are allowed to sign free agents pending a new CBA.
If the Ravens were to lose Bulger, it would absolutely create a gaping hole in the depth chart behind Flacco, and on Saturday, Baltimore’s personnel department made a move in the draft to ensure that they have at least one quarterback behind Flacco should Bulger decide to move on to Arizona or another NFL team.
With the 180th pick in the sixth round of this weekend’s draft, the Ravens selected Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor-a 6-foot, 217 pound quarterback who started all four years for the Hokies in Blacksburg.
Taylor joined Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to talk about becoming a Raven and taking the short drive up I-95 to begin his NFL career.
“I’ve learned a lot,” Taylor told Nelson. “But there’s still a lot to learn, and I can’t wait to learn from Joe Flacco.”
“It’s always good to get drafted by a team close by so I can keep track of the Hokies and stay close to home for the family.”
In his four years playing for Frank Beamer starting 41 of 49 games for Virginia Tech, Taylor finished with 6,795 passing yards, 43 TDs to just 19 INTs.
He really put it together in 2010, earning ACC Player of the Year honors while passing for 2,521 yards, 23 TD and 4 INTs.
His passing yardage, 2,174 rushing yards and 23 rushing scores over his Hokie career also set school records, and it shows that his versatility being able to throw the ball as well as make a play with a legs can help the Ravens offense move the chains.
If Ravens fans want to make a correlation, you can compare Taylor to that of a Troy Smith.
Taylor hopes that the Ravens use all his physical skills as an asset.
“Will the Ravens plan plays just for me? I want to help out any way I can,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s biggest concern coming into the draft was the lack of a proven track record playing at VT.
Despite his stellar numbers as a Hokie his senior year, most of those numbers came too late in his college career for NFL scouts to give him due notice.
That was one of the reasons why he lasted till the sixth round when the Ravens took a chance on him and his athletic ability.
“Going into it, my agent and I talked about what might happen,” Taylor said. “It was disappointing to slip to the sixth round. I was hoping for the third, fourth, or fifth.”
In a way, it was his post-season work after the page was turned on his college career that caught NFL GM’s eyes the most, especially January’s East-West Shrine Game where Taylor completed four of five passes for 59 yards.
“Early in the process looking at the numbers, some teams had mixed feelings,” Taylor said of his visits. “But I think after evaluating film, teams changed their minds about me, especially after the East-West Shrine Game.”
Still, the biggest question mark for Taylor will be if he can be a pocket-passer in the NFL who relies on his arm first-and his legs second.
Taylor answered that doubt with all the confidence in the world.
“It shouldn’t be hard for me,” Taylor said. “It’s just learning the reads and trust in the system. Be yourself and move the chains.”
The Ravens see him as a quarterback as well.
“We feel like he has the skill sets to play quarterback and he also brings the added dimension of being a terrific athlete that can-as we see so much now-get out of the pocket and hurt people,” Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said Saturday after the draft was completed.
Taylor said he already has that chip on his shoulder for being drafted so low over the weekend by the Ravens.
Could there be a comparison to another big-time college quarterback who had to wait till the sixth round in Tom Brady?
“With him being drafted in the sixth round also, I also feel motivated to prove them wrong. Ten quarterbacks were drafted ahead of me, so again, it’s all motivation,” Taylor said.
But, at least he’s not motivated to take #5 away from his incumbent teammate after having it at Virginia Tech the last several years.
“It’s Flacco’s number,” Taylor laughed, “so I’ll change it.”
WNST welcomes a former ACC-rival in Tyrod Taylor to Baltimore! Check the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault for the chat with Tyrod as well as many of your other Ravens draft picks! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!