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Tyrod goes to Ravens in 6th round

All Tyrod Taylor needed was one NFL franchise to have enough faith in his abilities to take a chance on him. That team stepped forward at 4:05 Saturday afternoon, when the Baltimore Ravens selected him in the sixth round of the draft.

Now, the job of proving he can carve out a lasting spot in the NFL is just beginning for Taylor, a 6-foot-1, 217-pound quarterback who graduated from Hampton High and went on to have a record-setting career at Virginia Tech.

He was the 11th quarterback chosen in the draft. Taylor is the first former Tech quarterback to be taken since Warwick High alum Michael Vick was selected in 2001 by the Atlanta Falcons with the No. 1 overall pick.

After seeing quarterbacks from Atlantic Coast Conference programs he helped orchestrate wins over as a senior get chosen before him, including Christian Ponder from Florida State (first-round pick of Minnesota Vikings) and T.J. Yates from North Carolina (fifth-round pick of Houston Texans), Taylor became the 180th overall selection in the draft.

Though Taylor's stature has been regarded as a potential impediment to him progressing as an NFL quarterback, Taylor doesn't believe it'll be much of a problem.

"I believe I can do it all," said Taylor, who added all early conversations he had with Ravens' personnel involved him playing quarterback instead of moving to another position. "I think I'm the most dynamic quarterback in this draft…My style is kind of a mixture of all.

"My height doesn't bother me. It hasn't made the quarterback position difficult. It's about finding the passing lanes, knowing the defenses and, of course, knowing offenses and going out there and using your legs to move the pocket and not necessarily run."

In addition to Taylor, Tech saw cornerback Rashad Carmichael get drafted Saturday in the fourth round by the Houston Texans. He was the 127th overall selection in the draft, but the phone call that came from the Texans caught him off-guard.

"Honestly, I didn't even watch (the draft)," said Carmichael, a 5-10, 182-pound native of Clinton, Md., who will join former Tech teammates Xavier Adibi, a Phoebus High graduate, and Duane Brown at Houston. "I'm a wreck, I didn't even tune into the draft at all."

Taylor and Carmichael were the only players from Tech or the University of Virginia selected in Saturday's final four rounds of the draft. U.Va. cornerback Ras-I Dowling and Tech running back Ryan Williams were both chosen Friday in the second round.

Tech running back Darren Evans, who gave up his final season of college eligibility to enter the draft, was among the undrafted players. At the outset of the draft, there were 56 draft-eligible underclassmen — 41 of them were selected.

In Baltimore, Taylor will open up behind starter Joe Flacco, a player who at 6-6 and 238 pounds stands in sharp contrast to Taylor in the height and weight categories.

Marc Bulger also is on the Ravens' roster, but he'll be an unrestricted free agent when the NFL lockout concludes. Hunter Cantwell is on Baltimore's practice squad.

Getting acquainted with Ravens coach John Harbaugh's system may be challenging for Taylor because the league is currently under the lockout. Taylor won't be able to get formal instruction from the Ravens' coaching staff until the lockout ends.

Taylor said he plans to try to get a bit of a head start by getting in touch with Justin Harper, a former Tech wide receiver who was a member of Baltimore's practice squad last season and who has been with the organization since being drafted in '08 in the seventh round. Taylor and Harper played together at Tech in 2007, when Taylor was a freshman and Harper was a senior.

"Other than (talking to Harper), I'm going to reach out to Flacco," Taylor said. "We're teammates now, so hopefully we can get some study sessions on and just try to help my progression early on. The lockout is difficult, especially at quarterback because you're not able to get the playbook as soon as you can."

Harper won't be the only Tech connection Taylor will find in Baltimore. Assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington, a 1998 Tech graduate who was an All-Big East offensive lineman in '97, joined the Ravens' staff in February.

Taylor holds Tech's career record for most wins by a starting quarterback (34). He's also the school's career leader in total offense (9,213 yards), passing yards (7,017 yards), rushing yards by a quarterback (2,196 yards), rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (23) and single-season touchdown passes (24).

"When I talked to (the Ravens) around the time they selected me, everything was quarterback talk," Taylor said. "They were excited about the type of quarterback that I am and what I bring to the game, so if those questions (about a position change) come up, that's between me and the coaches. We'll deal with it when it happens, but right now I'm looking forward to going in and competing and learning as a quarterback."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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