With the San Francisco 49ers win over Tampa Bay last week, they notched their 5th win of the year, bumping the Ravens up to #5 on the 2008 NFL Draft Board, as it stands right now. Over at Scouts, Inc., the #5 player on the board is…..
Strengths: Is tall enough to scan the entire field from within the pocket, reads defenses fairly well and generally finds the open man given enough time. Accurate, takes something off underneath passes and can lead receiver when throwing underneath. Puts good touch on downfield passes and flashes the ability to drop the ball in over coverage. Mobile enough to get outside the pocket and throws well on the run. Shows good poise, is a leader on the field and wants the ball in hands late in games. Appears to be adjusting to new offense well and can be an effective game manager.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, doesn’t put great zip on downfield passes and gets into trouble when tries to throw into tight coverage. Lacks ideal mobility, has some problems buying time in the pocket and doesn’t always make sound decisions when the protection breaks down. Isn’t going to make defenders miss, doesn’t have great top-end speed and isn’t a dangerous open field runner that can consistently pick up yards with feet. Though tough and willing to play through pain, sustained a high-ankle spring during the 2006 season opener, broke left foot during 2006 Virginia Tech game, underwent foot surgery in January and durability is a concern.
Overall: Ryan was redshirted for the 2003 season. During his first three seasons (2004-06) Ryan played in 26 games (18 starts) completing 419 passes on 693 attempts (60.5 percent) for 4,806 yards, 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Ryan missed one game in 2006 with a sprained ankle. The table is set for Ryan to have a big year because Boston College is expected to open up its offense and he has the accuracy as well as the smarts to excel in the new scheme. However, his lack of elite arm strength and mobility does put a cap on his upside. His potential to develop into an effective starter or above-average backup should make him a late first-day pick if he stays healthy and improves his decision making in the face of pressure.
Obviously, this assessment was written prior to the 2007 season, and Ryan’s numbers this year helped his draft position immensely. He completed 60% of his passes for over 4200 yards, with 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. We know Ravens fans will salivate at the thought of a potential franchise quarterback like Ryan, but how comfortable would you be with Brian Billick developing him? And what about Troy Smith? How would you feel about a Ravens quarterback soup come training camp that consists of the ingredients Troy Smith, Kyle Boller, Matt Ryan, and possibly even Steve McNair? We know we are desperate for a QB of the Future here in B-More….should the Ravens take one this high on the board?