In 1996, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell decided to move the team to Baltimore and become the Ravens. The team has found a lot of success so far with 10 playoff appearances since the 2000 season and a pair of Super Bowl victories to go along with it. Baltimore has been established as one of the most stabled franchises in the NFL, even though they are only 20 years old.
The Ravens do not use their stats from when they were the Cleveland Browns, instead opting to start over the record book from scratch. In those 20 years, the Ravens have had a total of 19 starting quarterbacks. Though you would think a team with the success that the Ravens have had would mean that they have fewer quarterbacks and more with personal success, it has proven to be a team effort.
If you were to rank all 19 of the Ravens starting quarterbacks, it’s pretty obvious who you would rank as number one. But what about the other 18? After all, not many of them played for more than just a handful of games. We decided to go ahead and rank them, but not on their career accomplishments, instead focusing on what they have done while a Raven. Here is the ranking for all 19 starting quarterbacks in the 20 year history of the Baltimore Ravens.
19 Scott Mitchell
Scott Mitchell was drafted out of Utah in the fourth round in 1990 by Miami, but had his best years with the Detroit Lions when he was there from 1994 to 1998. The Ravens would trade their 1999 third round selection and 2000 fifth round pick to the Lions to obtain Mitchell, who we have deemed as the worst starting quarterback in Ravens history (so far). Mitchell appeared in just two games (both of them starts) and he finished with a record of 0-2.
Mitchell also threw for just 236 yards in those two games, connecting for just one touchdown and four interceptions. It was a rough go for Mitchell who was released by the team and he would end up spending two more seasons in the league with Cincinnati before leaving the NFL for good.
18 Jimmy Clausen
At one point, Jimmy Clausen was considered to be the greatest high school quarterback of his generation and had a lot of ballyhoo surrounding him when he enrolled at Notre Dame. Clausen had a fine career in South Bend, but his NFL career has been nothing short of a disappointment. The Panthers drafted “Pickles” in the second round in 2010 before replacing him with Cam Newton.
Clausen would spend some time with Chicago, never really taking off there, before finding his way to Baltimore in 2015. In that season, Clausen played in three games with two starts. He didn’t collect a win, but his stats were marginally better than Mitchell’s, as he threw for 555 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Now, he’s a free agent and everyone knows why.
17 Stoney Case
You would think that a guy with a name like Stoney Case would be more memorable, but a lot of NFL fans probably don’t remember him at all. Case was a third round pick by the Cardinals in 1995, where he spent four seasons. Case would appear in just five games for Arizona with one start, not throwing a single touchdown to go along with three interceptions.
Case joined the Ravens in the 1999 season, where he would actually appear in 10 games with four starts. Case certainly didn’t stand out in his appearances, throwing for 988 yards, three touchdowns and eight interceptions. Case did, however, win two of his four starts. Case would be in Detroit for the next season where he started one more game before his NFL career came to an end, but he would land in the Arena League.
16 Chris Redman
Chris Redman is the first quarterback on our list to actually be drafted by the Ravens, but he doesn’t even crack the top 15 in terms of franchise players at the position. Redman was one of the famous six quarterbacks drafted before Tom Brady and he spent four seasons with Baltimore. Redman would see playing time in each of those years, appearing in 11 games but only starting in six.
Redman finished his six starts with a 3-3 record, tossing for 1,111 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Redman would find a bit more success in Atlanta as the man that replaced Michael Vick for a short period of time, but never found sustained success in the league. Redman’s final appearance in the NFL came in 2011 with the Falcons and he did get a ring in his rookie season as the Ravens’ backup.
15 Matt Schaub
After starting his career with the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Schaub showed a lot of flashes of talent with the Houston Texans from 2007 to 2013. After all, Schaub was a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback that ended up leading the league in passing yards during the 2009 season. Then, it seemed that Schaub suddenly fell off of a cliff in terms of production and he was dumped by Houston.
Schaub landed in Oakland for a year before heading to Baltimore, where he was plugged into two games after Joe Flacco’s injury. Schaub won one of his two starts, throwing for 540 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. Schaub was never thought to be a long term solution for the Ravens, so they let him go after the 2015 season. He has since been picked up by the Falcons.
14 Ryan Mallett
Now we meet one of the only two quarterbacks on the list that are currently on the Ravens roster and it’s obvious which one of the two is lower on the list. Ryan Mallett seemingly had all of the talent in the world coming out of high school and would attend both Michigan and Arkansas before backing up Tom Brady after the 2011 NFL Draft. Mallett then went to Houston to become a starter, before flaming out and signing as the Ravens backup in 2015.
Mallett is still with the team, though he would start in just two games last season (and through week four in the 2016 season). Mallett is 1-1 so far as a Raven, throwing for 566 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
13 Troy Smith
One of the two Heisman winning quarterbacks to start a game for the Ravens, Troy Smith was an electrifying player at Ohio State that was never really thought to be an NFL-level quarterback talent. The Ravens drafted Smith in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft so that he could be a project quarterback. However, Smith would end up starting in two games during his first season and made 14 total appearances in his three seasons with Baltimore.
Of those appearances, Smith would have two starts, splitting with a record of 1-1. The numbers weren’t too bad for Smith with 558 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception, but he never really got much of a chance. In 2010, Smith would start six games, but it was with the 49ers and he was never on a regular season roster after that season.
12 Randall Cunningham
Randall Cunningham is one of those quarterbacks on the list that has had a very fine career, but not with the Baltimore Ravens. Cunningham played his first decade in the league with the Philadelphia Eagles before tearing off defenses as a member of the Vikings from 1997 to 1999. Cunningham then joined the Cowboys for a year before playing his final season in the league with the Ravens.
Cunningham would have just two starts and six appearances with Baltimore, but he did win both of his starts on the heels of 573 yards, three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. By that time, Cunningham didn’t have as much of his speed anymore and rushed for just 40 yards and a touchdown. It was a decent end to a fantastic career at 38 years old.
11 Eric Zeier
Though he was a standout quarterback at Georgia that was an All-American in his senior year, Eric Zeier wasn’t drafted until the third round in 1995 and sent to the Cleveland Browns. Zeier spent just one season with Cleveland and was not impressive at all with four touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Browns then moved to Baltimore where Zeier would remain with the roster and reset his franchise stats.
Zeier then picked up his play a bit over the next three seasons, where he would end up starting seven games and making 16 appearances. Zeier finished with a 3-4 record, but did have 2,367 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and just five interceptions. It’s good news for Zeier that his stats didn’t carry over or else it wouldn’t look as impressive. Zeier’s career ended following the 2000 season after spending two years in Tampa Bay.
10 Jim Harbaugh
Known as being a great head coach right now and having his brother John be the current coach of the Baltimore Ravens, Jim Harbaugh was once a Ravens quarterback himself. Harbaugh was a former Bear and Colt that was traded to Baltimore in exchange for a third and fourth round draft pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. Harbaugh started 12 games in his one season with Baltimore, finishing with a 5-7 record. He would also throw for 1,839 yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Though his numbers weren’t all that impressive, Harbaugh doesn’t have much stiff competition to keep him out of the top 10 since he actually started more than just a couple of games. Harbaugh finished out his career with San Diego for two seasons before hanging it up after the 2000 season.
9 Jeff Blake
You don’t see too many good journeyman quarterbacks these days, but Jeff Blake was certainly one of them. The former East Carolina Pirate was a late round pick in 1992 by the Jets, where he would not get a single start. Blake found some success in Cincinnati, though, starting in 66 career games. After spending two seasons with New Orleans in 2000 and 2002, Blake made his way to Baltimore.
Blake started in 10 games during the 2002 season, finishing with a mediocre 4-6 record. He did put up some solid numbers, however, as he threw for 2,084 yards with 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. That would be the only season in Baltimore for Blake, however, as he joined with the Cardinals before ending his career with the Eagles and Bears.
8 Anthony Wright
Not many people remember Anthony Wright unless they were really paying attention to football in the early 2000s. Wright went undrafted in 1999, but was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He wouldn’t see the field, but he would get some chances with the Cowboys over the next two seasons. The Ravens would end up signing Wright before the 2002 season, but he didn’t play a snap until the next year.
While with the Ravens, Wright had 16 appearances and a record of 7-7 in games that he started. His 2,781 passing yards were nothing to scoff at in limited time, but he did throw 17 interceptions. His 15 touchdowns to go along with it weren’t terrible, but it didn’t make for a great ratio. Wright played with two more teams before calling it quits after getting a Super Bowl ring as a Giants backup in 2007.
7 Elvis Grbac
The second best name on our list behind Stoney Case, Elvis Grbac was given a few chances to start while with San Francisco before being acquired by Kansas City. It was with the Chiefs that Grbac had his best years, even making the Pro Bowl in 2000 thanks to more than 4,000 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. Grbac signed as a free agent with Baltimore after Trent Dilfer left, and he only played one season with the Ravens.
Grbac finished that one season with an 8-6 record, 3,033 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Not great numbers, but Grbac was still able to help the Ravens get to a 10-6 record (along with Randall Cunningham). Grbac also had a decent game in the Wild Card round that year as the Ravens advanced. After the season was over, Grbac opted to retire after being let go by Baltimore.
6 Kyle Boller
Kyle Boller took a lot of heat as the Ravens quarterback, which is a testament to how few good quarterbacks the franchise has had, as he makes the list at number six. Boller is among many first round picks on the list, but one of just two that was selected by Baltimore. Boller was the 19th pick out of Cal in 2003 and he would end up playing in each of his five seasons on the squad.
Boller started in 42 games with the Ravens, winning 20 of them. Boller held the record for pretty much every Baltimore passing stat until Joe Flacco came along (though, sort of by default). Boller had 7,846 passing yards with Baltimore and a mediocre 45 to 44 touchdown to interception ratio.
5 Trent Dilfer
If you ask people who the worst starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl was, a lot of them would probably say Trent Dilfer. Dilfer was a first rounder out of Fresno State by Tampa Bay, but his time there was not met with great praise. Dilfer would sign with the Ravens before the 2000 season and was initially slated to be the backup for the number four quarterback on our list. Dilfer would replace him after poor play, and he finished the regular season with a 7-1 record, compiling 1,502 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
What moves Dilfer up the list so high was the fact that he helped the Ravens win their first Super Bowl, winning all four games he started with three touchdowns and one pick. Of course, he only had 590 total passing yards over that span, but the Ravens haven’t had a lot of big time quarterbacks, so the Lombardi Trophy gives him a big bump.
4 Tony Banks
There were times where it looked like Tony Banks could have been the next great NFL quarterback, then there were times where you wondered how he ever got drafted in the first place. The Rams selected Tony Banks in the second round back in 1996 out of Michigan State, where he would start 43 games with just a 14-29 record. Banks had his best moments with the Ravens, though, signing before the 1999 season.
Banks started in 18 games over those two seasons, winning 11 of them and finishing with an impressive ratio of 25 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. Banks would also throw for a solid 3,714 yards. Banks then became a backup for Dallas and had one season with Washington before finishing his career as David Carr’s backup in Houston.
3 Steve McNair
Although some people might argue that Steve McNair is the best quarterback overall on our list, he is only the third best quarterback as a Raven. McNair spent his first 11 seasons with the Oilers/Titans, where he would lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance, a 76-55 record and three Pro Bowl appearances. The Ravens signed the 33 year old McNair before the 2006 season, where he would spend two years.
McNair led the Ravens to a 13-3 record in the first year with 3,050 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. They would lose their first playoff game, but it was still an impressive year. The next season, McNair finished just 2-4 in six starts, but was at least able to add onto his franchise stats that would set him apart from some of the other quarterbacks on the list.
2 Vinny Testaverde
Playing 21 seasons in the NFL is beyond impressive, even if former first overall pick Vinny Testaverde was never really the best quarterback in the league at any point in his career. Testaverde famously had several stops in the NFL and he was with Tampa Bay before joining Cleveland for the 1993 season. Testaverde was still on the roster when the team moved to Baltimore in 1996, so we use his statline for his time as a Raven.
Testaverde spent two years officially wearing purple and he would finish with a paltry record of 8-20-1. However, he was putting up some solid stats with 7,148 passing yards, 51 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. Testaverde would also make the Pro Bowl in 1996 while a member of the Ravens, the only quarterback on the list to do so.
1 Joe Flacco
That’s right, not even Joe Flacco has been named to a Pro Bowl, but he has established himself as far and away the best quarterback in Baltimore Ravens history. Flacco was the 18th overall pick out of Delaware in 2008 and still remains as the quarterback of the team. Flacco has won a Super Bowl already with Baltimore and carries a 10-5 record in the postseason with 25 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions, as one of the true clutch QBs in the NFL today.
Flacco’s regular season numbers aren’t half bad, either, as he has established a 78-48 record as a starter, finishing under .500 just once (2015). Flacco has 166 touchdowns and 106 interceptions through week four of the 2016 NFL season and 29,394 passing yards behind it. Those numbers are tops for the Ravens franchise and Flacco has also entered the top 50 in all-time passing yards.