McNair’s retirement means we MUST draft Matt Ryan

April 18, 2008 |

As soon as the Mac-9 love-fest at One Winning Drive is over, it’s going to be time to get down to business and really evaluate this quarterback situation.

Before I get too deep into this thing, I first want to say that I think Steve McNair should be congratulated for retiring on his terms, which is a paradox in professional sports today. As frustrated as some are about McNair’s retirement, let’s remember that he’s a person, not a robot (even though you would think he’s not human after playing with a cracked sternum for four years). It’s his decision; not yours, mine, or the Ravens’.

With that said, this has certainly left a brand new coaching staff with quite a predicament. John Harbaugh does not know who will be running his offense in 2008. So, does that make drafting Matt Ryan a top priority?

I think so. Before, it would have been GREAT to get him at #8, but we could also grab a Sedrick Ellis or Vernon Ghoulston there and get, say, Joe Flacco later. We could see if McNair has anything left in the tank and, if not, give the ball to the guy with the Heisman. But with McNair no longer here, it’s time to begin the rebuilding process at the quarterback position with some concrete talent.

This franchise has struggled at the quarterback position since…well, forever, really. Vinny made the Pro Bowl, but that doesn’t really matter when you’re 4-12. It’s time for the Ravens to step up and do whatever it takes to draft Matt Ryan. If Ozzie thinks they need to trade up to #3, do it. Do whatever it takes. Please. We NEED a quarterback.

I feel bad (a little bit) because I also want to give Troy Smith a fair shot. But Matt Ryan has something that Troy Smith doesn’t: size. Now there have been a few productive small quarterbacks (Jeff Garcia, Doug Flutie, et. al.), but there have been many smaller signal callers who have failed. Flutie is the exception, not the norm, and that scares me as a fan.

But I really like Troy Smith on a personal level. I was producing Sports Night with Michael Popovec (filling in for Sean) when we had him on for an interview. What a great guy. He’s intelligent, speaks very well, professional, courteous, and respectful. Professionally, he’s everything you could ask for as a member of the media. But as a fan, I’m just not sure. I want to give him a shot, I want to believe in him, but, for some reason, I just can’t…yet.

I’d like to see Matt Ryan and Troy Smith slugging it out in training camp for the starting spot because competition brings out the best in all great athletes. John Harbaugh promised this city an explosive offense and if he plans to deliver he needs a solid quarterback. I think, in lieu of McNair’s retirement, we need to make drafting Matt Ryan a top priority. Don’t let him go the Falcons or the Chiefs…he needs to be in purple and black in ’08, even if he’s holding a clipboard. Your thoughts…