The Baltimore Ravens are seemingly set at the quarterback position with seven-year pro Joe Flacco under center, but that didn’t stop them from grabbing Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning in the sixth round and possibly getting the steal of the draft.
Wenning wasn’t talked about much leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft, but he’s a player who makes all the right decisions and can run an offense effectively once he knows the system.
Wenning doesn’t have the prototypical size and arm strength that Flacco possesses, but his elite accuracy makes him an intriguing prospect who could possibly wrestle the job away from Flacco when his contract ends in 2019. While that is still five long years away, Flacco is coming off the worst season of his career in which he threw 22 interceptions and just 19 touchdowns, so Wenning’s time to shine may come sooner than expected.
At Ball State, Wenning was a four-year starter and finished his career with over 11,000 passing yards, 92 touchdowns, and just 42 interceptions while completing 63 percent of his passes. While those are not gaudy stats when compared to those of Johnny Manziel, Wenning ran an effective offense and improved a Ball State squad that won just four games his freshman year to a team that went 10-3 this past season.
When going to the tape, you see a player who has excellent ball placement, thus allowing his receivers to pick up yards after the catch, as well as an ability to progress through reads quickly and see the entire field. Wenning is a player who has the intangible parts of being a quarterback down, and as a result should impress the Ravens’ coaching staff as early as OTAs.
He does stand tall at 6-foot-3, but he’s a skinny 218 pounds and will need to do some bulking up before seeing live game action. In my eyes, it’s a forgone conclusion that Wenning will beat out Tyrod Taylor for the second-string quarterback spot this offseason, but unless Flacco suffers an injury, it will be unlikely for Wenning to see the field during meaningful games.This is alright, however, as it’s how Tom Brady got his start as a second-year pro in 2001.
Wenning and Brady are very similar prospects as both rely on smarts and accuracy to be successful. They were both sixth-round selections as well. Wenning won’t blow you away with any of his physical characteristics, but his football IQ and elite level accuracy will allow him to shine during training camp and start the season behind only Flacco on the Ravens’ quarterback depth chart.