Flacco and Rice: Stars of the Future?

Michael EmreyContributor IApril 26, 2008

So the Baltimore Ravens selected Joe Flacco, QB from the University of Delaware, and  Ray Rice, RB from Rutgers University.  Could this be the backfield of the future for the Ravens?

The Ravens definitely needed a QB in this draft considering Steve McNair's recent retirement, Kyle Boller's inconsistancy, and Troy Smith's lack of experience.  There has also been talk of Jonathon Ogden retiring within the next year or two; that means there will be a pressing need at OT.  The Ravens may have selected Jonathon Ogden's successor in Jared Gaither last year during the supplemental draft, so offensive tackle is not as glaring a need as some people think.

 All of that considered, I believe the Ravens did a great job during the first day of this years draft.  There was no need to stay at #8 since the greatest need was a QB and the #1 QB was off the board (Matt Ryan).  The Ravens made the smart move by trading out of #8 to stockpile draft picks. 

I think Joe Flacco will play the same role that Troy Smith did this past season.  Of course the fans will want Flacco to play right away, but the smart thing to do would be to let him stay in a backup role and learn the new system under John Harbaugh.  Flacco wil certainly see some time, but not much this season. 

 On the other hand, Ray Rice will see action every game this season.  When you look at a lot of the playoff teams in the past few years, you notice that they have dual running back threats.  For as long as the Ravens have been around, they have only had one feature back at a time (except Chester Taylor and Jamal Lewis).  Dallas, Chicago in 2007, Minnesota, the Giants, and others, have all deployed the 2 back system.  It is about time the Ravens follow suit.  Ray Rice will spell Willis McGahee as a third down back and gain experience running the football in the NFL.  Considering the career of and NFL running back is about 6 years, it will be nice to have an up-and-coming back in the Ravens system. 

 Hopefully Joe Flacco and Ray Rice will be franchise players for the Baltimore Ravens.  They both have enough potential to be great NFL players, and may contribute right away.