Team officials are debating whether to use the 10th overall pick on University
of California quarterback Kyle Boller. The Ravens scheduled a private workout on
March 27 to determine whether he's a franchise quarterback or a one-year wonder.
Boller is one of the fastest rising prospects after impressive off-season
workouts and, in some league personnel directors' eyes, has risen into that
elite quarterback tier with Southern California's Carson Palmer -- who is
expected to be taken in the top five -- or Marshall's Byron Leftwich.
At this point, the Ravens' organization is split, with some favoring Leftwich
while others lean toward Boller. But that decision could be resolved in a couple
of days, when general manager Ozzie Newsome, coach Brian Billick, player
personnel director Phil Savage and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh have a
first-hand look at Boller.
"I don't know that it's indicative of any increased interest,” Billick
said. "We've said from the get-go there are viable choices at No. 10.”
The Ravens are not locked into taking a quarterback in the first round, but it
would add fill a need as well as long-term insurance behind Chris Redman, who is
coming off back surgery.
Other possibilities could easily include players from the second tier like
Washington State cornerback Marcus Trufant and Oklahoma State defensive tackle
Kevin Williams. Drafting a wide receiver with the top pick is a long shot but
not out of the question.
If the Ravens end up selecting a quarterback, they might not have a choice on
The Cincinnati Bengals (first pick), the Chicago Bears (fourth), the Dallas
Cowboys (fifth) and the Carolina Panthers (ninth) all could be looking at taking
a quarterback in the first round. But one quarterback should slip to the 10th
pick, with the smart money on Boller.
A projected second- or third-round pick during the college season, Boller caught
the scouts' attention with a strong Senior Bowl and then wowed them by running
the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Boller raised his stock further during his on-campus
workout earlier this month for NFL scouts and coaches, which included Cavanaugh.
During his 100-throw display, he launched one pass on the run more than 70 yards
in the air and put an exclamation point on the day when he took a knee at
midfield and launched a pass that sailed between the goal posts 60 yards away.
"He's athletic and has a strong personality,” Billick said. "He has
all the measurables as does Palmer and Leftwich.”
To be included in that class, Boller has had to shake off the one-year wonder
In his first three years in college, he never completed more than half of his
throws. But in his first season under new Cal coach Jeff Tedford, Boller he
threw for 2,815 yards and 28 touchdowns last year.
"His No. 1 forte is his arm strength,” Savage said. “But he's has had
just one year that you would quantify as successful.”