Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Quads from COMC Part 3 of 3

Here is the final quad from my most recent COMC purchase, featuring a group of four Ravens.  Let's get right to it!
The top guy on this card was a Ravens legend of sorts, Todd Heap.  Being a late first round pick (in 2001) puts those kind of expectations on a guy, and Heap responded by setting the franchise mark for touchdowns (with 41) and finishing 2nd in franchise history in receptions and yards.  He somehow only went to two Pro Bowls (2002 and 2003), which speaks more to the talent of guys like Tony Gonzalez and Rob Gronkowski than it does to Heap's ability level.  Injuries did hamper Heap occasionally, but overall he had five seasons of 50+ receptions, six seasons of 500+ yards, and five seasons of 5+ touchdowns.  Nothing to bad at all, and though Heap finished his career with two injury plagued years with the Cardinals, he will always be remembered as a Raven by most football fans.

Obafemi Ayanbadejo has a pretty awesome name (given to him by his Nigerian father), and is the brother of fellow former NFLer Brendon Ayanbadejo, whom he played with on several teams.  The Ayanbadejos are both probably known better for their pro-gay rights stance (Brendon more vocal than Obafemi), but both were pretty good athletes as well.  Obafemi was a hybrid back who debuted with the 1998 Vikings after being undrafted by them a year earlier.  He was only given one game to showcase some special teams skills, but those skills must have seemed pretty impressive, as the Ravens immediately snatched Ayanbadejo out of free agency when the Vikings dropped him in 1999.  Obafemi played quite well over the next three years, catching 20+ passes a season and adding some success in the ground game as well (and winning that 2000 Super Bowl ring).  In 2001 the Ravens also signed Brendon to their team, marking the first year the two brothers would play with one another.

Obafemi did not get to play with his brother in 2002, as a 2001 toe injury caused the Ravens to cut him and Ayanbaedjo was not able to catch on with another team for the entirety of 2002.  In 2003, however, the Dolphins signed both brothers, and Obafemi contributed decently in his one year in Miami.  After being cut again, Obafemi signed on with the Cardinals in 2004, and spent the next three years accumulating his final NFL stats in the desert, including a career high three touchdowns in 2004.  Ayanbaedjo would've continued his career with the Chicago Bears in 2007 (along with his brother, who was by then a Bear), but he was suspended four games by the league for using a banned substance, and was cut once his suspension was up, effectively ending his NFL career.

Chris Redman had a tough go of it in Baltimore as a third round pick in 2000.  He won a Super Bowl ring that year, but saw little playing time behind vets Trent Dilfer and Tony Banks.  In 2001 both of those QBs were gone, but replacements Elvis Grbac and Randall Cunningham took all of the snaps in their stead, again relegating Redman to the bench.  Redman finally got some playing time in 2002 and was somewhat of a mixed bag, with a 7:3 TD:INT ratio but only a 53% completion percentage.  The Ravens had seen enough and drafted Kyle Boller, whom Redman backed up during the 2003 campaign before being released.

From 2004 to 2006 Redman bounced around the league, spending time with the Patriots, Titans, and in the AFL.  Then, in 2007, the Falcons signed him as a backup after trading Matt Schaub to the Texans (was it really that long ago?).  This was the year that Michael Vick was suspended for his dog-fighting issues, so Redman entered into a QB carousel that included former Lion Joey Harrington and former Jaguar Byron Leftwich.  Redman initially was the third string QB, but injury and ineffectiveness led to Redman earning four starts in 2007, with a slightly better completion percentage and the same stellar TD:INT ratio.  So when the Falcons drafted Matt Ryan in 2008, Redman was kept around as the backup, and he served that role well (including two spot starts in 2009) for the next four years before retiring from the NFL.

Finally we have Travis Taylor, who had huge expectations placed on his shoulders as the 10th overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft.  That made him the third WR picked in a fairly deep WR draft (deep in that there were a lot of good WRs picked, though a ton of the 1st and 2nd rounders flamed out fairly quickly), so the team hoped he would help their defensively strong squad into a more balanced team.  This didn't really come to fruition, and in five years with the Ravens he caught 204 balls for 2,758 yards and and 15 touchdowns.  Taylor did show occasional flashes, but it wasn't enough for Baltimore, who released him after the 2004 season.  Taylor then bounced around between several teams, including two years with the Vikings, one game in Oakland, one game in with the Rams, and several inactive weeks on the rosters of the Panthers and Lions.  His Vikings years actually weren't bad at all, with 50+ receptions and 600+ yards each year, but again it was an issue of Taylor not living up to the expectations set by his college career and high draft status.

Who wins the card? I think it has to be Todd Heap here, easily.  I do like how Chris Redman carved out a nice little career for himself despite few opportunities, but Heap is a local legend, so he's an easy pick.

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