Five years ago, the Ravens drafted a franchise quarterback in Lamar Jackson. Three weeks from now, they could draft his replacement in the first round. Or maybe they’d wait until the third round. Perhaps even the sixth.

“It’s quite possible to get a good quarterback at any point in the draft,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said at the team’s predraft news conference Wednesday. “Obviously, the ‘GOAT’ [greatest of all time], as my son would say, Tom Brady, was a sixth-round pick. So they’re all over the place in the draft.”

But the Ravens labor over their draft board for a reason. It’s why they had Jackson as a first-round talent in 2018, and it’s why they waited to take Trace McSorley until the sixth round a year later. Jackson was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in only his second year; McSorley completed just three passes over two-plus seasons in Baltimore. Tom Brady, he was not.

With Jackson’s future in Baltimore increasingly uncertain after his public trade request last month, the Ravens will enter this month’s NFL draft seeking stability at the sport’s most important position. But the longer they wait, the harder it’ll be to find a starting-level prospect. Over the past decade, just two quarterbacks taken in the fourth round or later have established themselves as capable starters, with at least 30 career starts.

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The Ravens, picking No. 22 overall, would need either a minor miracle or a major trade to select one of the class’ top-tier quarterback prospects on April 27: Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson or Kentucky’s Will Levis. Where could they look for help instead? Here’s a round-by-round look at potential quarterback targets — and the case for picking sooner rather than later.

Round 1: Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker

Notable selections: Trevor Lawrence (2021), Justin Herbert (2020), Lamar Jackson (2018)

Hit rate: Twenty of the 29 quarterbacks (69%) drafted from 2013 to 2021 in the first round have started at least 30 games. Kenny Pickett, taken in the first round last year, made 12 starts as a rookie.

Breakdown: Before tearing his ACL in November, Hooker orchestrated one of the country’s most explosive passing offenses. He finished last season tied for first nationally in yards per attempt (9.5), third in air yards per attempt (11.5), ninth in touchdown rate (8.2% of passes) and 15th in passing yards per game (285), according to TruMedia. On throws of at least 20 yards downfield, Hooker went 30-for-68 (44.1%) for 1,219 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception.

Hooker’s recovery schedule could affect his draft stock. He’s been linked to teams late in the first round that could be comfortable stashing him away for a year as he returns to health and recovers the burst that made him a dangerous runner at Tennessee (430 yards and five touchdowns last season).

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Still, it’s unclear how the 6-foot-3 Hooker might fare at the next level, or how much room for growth he still has. The Volunteers relied on wide splits and long-developing routes in ways that no NFL offense does. Hooker also turned 25 in January, meaning he’s just a year younger than Jackson.

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Round 2: Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker

Notable selections: Jalen Hurts (2020), Derek Carr (2014), Jimmy Garoppolo (2014)

Hit rate: Four of the eight quarterbacks (50%) drafted since 2013 have started at least 30 games: Hurts, Carr, Garoppolo and Geno Smith. None were taken in the second round last year.

Breakdown: No, that’s not a misprint. In a draft without an obvious Day 2 quarterback, Hooker’s also the position’s most realistic second-round prospect. “There’s a significant drop-off from the top four, then Hendon Hooker,” ESPN analyst Matt Miller said on a conference call last week. “I think you’re looking at a lot of projects.” If Hooker makes it out of the first round, chances are that he won’t last long in the second. The Ravens would probably have to trade into the top 40 to have a shot at drafting him; they traded their second-round pick for Roquan Smith.

Round 3: Stanford’s Tanner McKee

Notable selections: Desmond Ridder (2022), Jacoby Brissett (2016), Mike Glennon (2013)

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Hit rate: Two of the 11 quarterbacks (18.2%) drafted in this round from 2013 to 2021 have started at least 30 games: Brissett and Glennon. Ridder (four starts as a rookie), Malik Willis (three starts) and Matt Corral (no starts) were taken in the third round last year.

Breakdown: McKee might be the quarterback prospect who’s most unlike Jackson in this class. He’s as tall as Joe Flacco (6-6), about as elusive as a picnic table (one missed tackle forced last season, according to Pro Football Focus) and spent two years as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before starting his Stanford career.

Still, McKee has the tools to keep secondaries honest. Over his two years as a starter, he completed 63.4% of his passes for 7.1 yards per attempt, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Last season, McKee showed a quick trigger, with an average time to throw of 2.51 seconds, according to PFF, 35th best among NCAA quarterbacks with at least 300 drop-backs. When he’s not forced to improvise out of structure, McKee has the arm strength and accuracy to complete throws to every level of the field.

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Round 4: UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson

Notable selections: Bailey Zappe (2022), Jarrett Stidham (2019), Dak Prescott (2016)

Hit rate: One of the 17 quarterbacks (5.8%) drafted from 2013 to 2021 has started at least 30 games: Prescott. (Logan Thomas has started 42, but none at quarterback.) Zappe started two games as a rookie last season.

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Breakdown: Thompson-Robinson would add another run threat to the Ravens’ quarterback room. He finished 10th among Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks in rushing yards (653) and tied for third in rushing touchdowns (12) last season. At the NFL scouting combine, he had the fourth-fastest 40-yard-dash time among quarterback prospects (4.56 seconds) and the fastest 10-yard split (1.51 seconds).

As a passer, the 6-foot-2 Thompson-Robinson attempted over 1,300 passes in his five years as UCLA’s starter. His final season was his best: 69.6% accuracy and 27 touchdowns — both career highs — along with 0.31 expected points added per drop-back, eighth best nationally, according to TruMedia. Thompson-Robinson’s mechanics and poise are lacking, however, and he struggled to stretch the field despite having solid arm strength.

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Round 5: Fresno State’s Jake Haener

Notable selections: Sam Howell (2022), Mike White (2018), Brett Hundley (2015)

Hit rate: None of the nine quarterbacks drafted from 2013 to 2021 have started at least 30 games. Hundley has the most starts (nine) over the past decade. Howell started once as a rookie last season.

Breakdown: Haener was one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country last year, when he finished with 20 touchdowns, three interceptions and 8.3 yards per attempt. According to Sports Info Solutions, he ranked first among this year’s quarterback prospects in both completion percentage and catchable-ball percentage and second in on-target percentage. But Haener’s limited athletically, has below-average size (6 feet tall, 207 pounds) and has struggled to avoid sacks.

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Round 6: Georgia’s Stetson Bennett

Notable selections: Sam Ehlinger (2021), Gardner Minshew (2019), Jeff Driskel (2016)

Hit rate: None of the 16 quarterbacks drafted since 2013 have started at least 30 games. Minshew has the most starts (24) over the past decade. No quarterbacks were taken in the sixth round last year.

Breakdown: Bennett developed into a Heisman Trophy finalist in his three years under former Georgia and current Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken. He led the country in EPA per drop-back last season, according to TruMedia, and threw for 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But Bennett’s age (he turns 26 in October) and size (5-foot-11, 192 pounds) make him an outlier among quarterback prospects. Despite his mobility, quick release and poise as a passer, Bennett faces an uphill battle with only average arm strength.

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Round 7: Texas Christian’s Max Duggan

Notable selections: Brock Purdy (2022), Ben DiNucci (2020), Trevor Siemian (2015)

Hit rate: One of the 14 quarterbacks (7.1%) drafted from 2013 to 2021 has started at least 30 games: Siemian. Purdy (five starts as a rookie), Skylar Thompson (two starts) and Chris Oladokun (no starts) were taken in the seventh round last year.

Breakdown: Duggan finished as the Heisman Trophy runner-up last season, when he had a combined 41 touchdowns (32 passing, nine rushing) in 15 games. He rushed for over 400 yards in three of his four years as a starter and had the second-fastest 40 time (4.52 seconds) among quarterbacks at the combine. But there’s considerable room for improvement as a passer, where the 6-foot-1 Duggan tends to stare down targets, throw with out-of-sync mechanics and invite trouble with poor ball placement. The Ravens currently do not have a pick in the final round.

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jonas.shaffer@thebaltimorebanner.com

Jonas Shaffer is a Ravens beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun. Shaffer graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Silver Spring. 

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