2014 NFL Draft: Where Will the Top QBs End Up?
There are three quarterbacks in this year’s draft who are clearly a cut above the rest of the quarterbacks available. Those three are Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles.
This crop is not as strong as 2012’s quarterback class which featured Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but all three of these quarterbacks should be better than 2013’s top signal callers of EJ Manuel and Geno Smith. Some think that one or all of this year’s quarterbacks will slip out of the top 10. With the quarterback-needy Texans, Jaguars, Browns, and Vikings all picking in the top 10, I just don’t see that happening. Here are the most likely landing spots for the best quarterback prospects of 2014:
Teddy Bridgewater: Jacksonville
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley was the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks when Seattle selected Russell Wilson, who eventually led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl title. Wilson has often been compared to the similarly-undersized Johnny Manziel, and analysts have made the Bradley-Wilson-Manziel connection as a reason for projecting Manziel to be picked by the Jaguars with their 3rd overall selection.
But it is important to remember that Bradley is an expert at defense, not offense. A person with greater control over the direction of Jacksonville’s offense is General Manager Dave Caldwell, who worked previously for the Atlanta Falcons. While in Atlanta, Caldwell experienced the scouting, selection, and eventual success of Matt Ryan. Bridgewater is like Ryan in a lot ways, from his skinnier-than-ideal build to his pinpoint accuracy to his poise in the pocket. If Caldwell sees the next Matty Ice in Bridgewater, there is little doubt he will take him.
Johnny Manziel: Oakland
Matt Schaub is not Oakland’s long-term solution at quarterback. With the way Schaub played last year, the Raiders will be lucky if he is a short-term solution. The Raiders have a history of selecting dynamic, boom-or-bust players, and Manziel certainly fits that mold. Oakland may finally land a long-awaited franchise quarterback with Manziel.
Blake Bortles: Minnesota
Bortles is more of a project than Bridgewater or Manziel. The Vikings can afford to wait on developing a project with starting quarterback Matt Cassel in place. Cassel is far from perfect, but he is a vast improvement over the disaster that was Christian Ponder.
With the best running back in the league, Adrian Peterson, manning the ground game, defenses will be stacking the box, giving receivers more opportunities to get open. If Bortles does take over the starting job in 2014, AP will certainly make things easier for him.
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