HOT NEWS: Ravens Select Quarterback Devin Leary in Sixth Round

April 28, 2024

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The Ravens took a shot at a backup quarterback in the sixth round, drafting strong-armed Kentucky signal caller Devin Leary with pick No. 218.

Lamar Jackson’s backup in 2024 will be veteran Josh Johnson. But Johnson is 37 years old, so the Ravens are looking for a long-term backup to the two-time MVP. Baltimore also has Malik Cunningham on the roster, but it’s undetermined whether his future will be at quarterback or wide receiver.

Leary said he had a great conversation with Ravens Quarterbacks Coach Tee Martin at the Combine and came away feeling like Baltimore could pick him.

“I just remember telling him, ‘Coach, anything I can do to help this team win is why I want to be a part of the Ravens,” Leary said. “To get that call and turn my whole world around was truly a dream come true.”

Leary had a monster 2021 season at N.C. State in which he threw for 3,433 yards, 35 touchdowns, and just five interceptions. He completed a career-high 65.7 percent of his passes. He broke Philip Rivers’ record for touchdown passes.

Leary’s follow-up season ended prematurely, however, as he suffered a shoulder injury six games into the season. He transferred to Kentucky for his final year of eligibility and the chance to work with Offensive Coordinator Liam Cohen, who is now the OC of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In his first year Cohen’s pro-style offense, Leary threw for 2,746 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. That was still the second-most touchdown passes among all SEC quarterbacks last season, only trailing No. 2-overall pick Jayden Daniels.

“It was an awesome opportunity to learn from Coach Cohen, to play in a whole different system of what I wasn’t used to in the past, getting under center, calling plays in the huddle,” Leary said. “Ultimately, I wish we won a lot more games. But from a developmental standpoint, it was the best thing I could have done to put my best foot forward in the NFL and bring what I can to the table for the Ravens.”

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound quarterback has a cannon arm and quick release. His 60 mph throw at the Combine was the third-fastest of this year’s draft class. Leary wasn’t much of a runner in college, but he does make off-schedule throws.

“The strength for me is pure arm talent,” Leary said. “I truly believe that I throw the football not like many people in this world. It’s something I pride myself on is being able to fit the ball in tight windows.”

Leary is an older prospect, as he’ll turn 25 years old in September. That’s fine for the Ravens, as they’re likely looking for a 2025 backup to Jackson who can develop his game, be relied upon to make some plays and win in case of emergency.

The ability to play alongside and learn from Jackson, as well as Johnson, makes the Baltimore landing spot even better for Leary.

“When I committed to N.C. State out of high school, he was someone I obviously followed,” Leary said. “Seeing him carve up defenses, it’s a really awesome opportunity to meet him and learn behind him and obviously just help as much as I can in that quarterback room to bring value.”