The proof will come during training camp, but Tyrod Taylor has to like what he’s hearing from Baltimore Ravens officials about his future with the franchise.
The Ravens selected Taylor, a highly decorated quarterback at Virginia Tech and Hampton High, in the sixth round of the NFL draft on Saturday. And while other teams viewed Taylor as a potential receiver, the Ravens see him at the position he’s played since childhood.
Courtesy of Jamison Hensley, the Ravens reporter for our sister paper The Baltimore Sun, here are some comments about Taylor. First, from general manager Ozzie Newsome, one of the game’s best talent evaluators.
“Number one, we drafted him as a quarterback, and he was evaluated as a quarterback by Craig and Cam. As far as him coming into our system, we feel like he has the skill sets to play the position and he also brings the added dimension of being a terrific athlete that can – as we see so much now – guys that can get out of the pocket and hurt people. He has the ability to do that also.”
The coaches Newsome referred to are offensive assistant Craig Ver Steeg and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
Head coach John Harbaugh took umbrage when a reporter asked him to compare Taylor to Troy Smith, the 2006 Heisman-winning quarterback from Ohio State whom Baltimore drafted in the fifth round in 2007.
“To me, that’s totally an irrelevant question, in all honesty,” Harbaugh said. “Think about that question for a minute. Tyrod Taylor stands on his own two feet. Troy had a great career. I think I’ve said many times that I think Troy’s got a chance to be a heck of a quarterback in this league. Tyrod Taylor has a chance to be a heck of a quarterback in this league.”
Like Taylor, Smith is mobile and undersized at 6-foot. He started two games as a rookie in 2007, lost the job to Joe Flacco in 2008 and was cut prior to last season. Two days later, the quarterback-poor San Francisco 49ers signed Smith.
He started six games, throwing five touchdown passes and four interceptions. The 49ers were 3-3 in those games.
San Francisco and new coach Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, drafted Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second round, and of the three QBs the team used last season – Alex Smith, Troy Smith and David Carr – only Carr is under contract for 2011.
What happens to Troy Smith is anyone’s guess. But two teams in four years have given him a chance, and Tyrod Taylor can only hope for the same.