Round 1, Pick 3
1. Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville):
Size: 6’ 3", 205 lbs junior
40 yard dash: 4.65 s
2013 passing stats: 3970 yds (71% completions) 31 TD / 4 INT
Bridgewater is the most pro-ready quarterback available this year. He received a lot of attention after he led Louisville to a victory over Florida in the Sugar Bowl last year and this year he played up to the hype, saving his best performance for last with a 447 passing yards 3 TD / 0 INT and another TD rushing against Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Bridgewater is excellent at reading defenses and making pre snap adjustments. Also has the toughness to stay poised in the pocket and step into blitzes to make the throw. He has good arm strength and is very accurate on intermediate routes.
One concern is his level of competition, it is no question his stats are inflated by the poor defenses he faced on a weekly basis, the only question is by how much. His accuracy on deep throws could be improved. He is also skinnier than desired. Despite these concerns Bridgewater has the best chance to be plugged in at starting quarterback in the NFL and immediately be successful.
2. Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M):
Size: 6’, 210 lbs redshirt sophomore
40 yard dash: 4.45 s
2013 passing stats: 4114 yds (69% completions) 37 TD / 13 INT
Manziel may be the most polarizing member of the 2014 draft class. Some think he should go first overall to the Texans, many have him as a top five pick (to the Jaguars, Browns, or Raiders), and many also would not draft him at all. He has drawn unfortunate comparisons to Tim Tebow, who is not as fast nor as accurate a passer as Manziel. Johnny is also very elusive in the pocket and accurate throwing on the run with the straight line speed to keep running and pick up chunks of yards on the ground. Manziel would add a true duel threat to whichever team takes him. And there are no questions about his level of competition, Manziel put up impressive numbers playing in the best conference of college football.
Manziel is a skilled runner but he will have to slide more if he is going to survive in the NFL. Also questions on if he will be able to throw away the ball when necessary, heroics that worked in college may lead to costly sacks or interceptions on Sundays. He is not as tall as desired. Arm strength and deep ball accuracy are good enough but could be improved. There are mild character issues but I don’t see this as a big deal going forward. Even with all his challenges Manziel has the talent to be the second best available quarterback and the third overall pick.
3. Blake Bortles (UCF):
Size: 6’ 3", 227 lbs redshirt junior
40 yard dash: 4.89 s
2013 stats: 3581 yds (68% completions) 25 TD / 9 INT
The third best option for a QB in the top 3 picks, Bortles has the best build of any QB available in the draft and is mentally tough, able to lead his team to overcome deficits and win games. Confidence is not a problem, doesn’t shy away from trying to fit a pass in a tight window. He throws well with a good release and added zip when necessary. He also runs well for his size, especially in the red zone.
Bortles is less accurate than Bridgewater or Manziel with about the same amount of arm strength. He sometimes fades away and throws off his back foot under pressure. Questions about his level of competition in the All-American Conference. I’m suspicious of guys who shoot up the draft board late in the year, but victories at Louisville and against Baylor have made Bortles a real contender for the third overall selection and even a shot at first overall. Let’s not forget last year Joeckel was the consensus first overall pick all year and Fischer shot up at the last minute. Bortles may make a similar sweep of Bridgewater depending on combine results.
Round 2, Pick 7
4. Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois):
Size: 6’ 2" 222 lbs senior
40 yard dash: 4.78 s
2013 stats: 5050 yds (66% completions) 53 TD / 9 TD
Although QB is the jags biggest need if Clowney falls to third overall we might not pass on that talent. So I have two QBs that should last to the second round that I think are worth selection. Garoppolo has prototypical size. He is also very accurate and times his passes well and has shown good movement around in the pocket to avoid pressure.
Level of competition in the FCS is a concern, although he played well against two FBS defenses he faced in 2013, Northern Illinois and San Diego State (711 yards (68% completions) 9 TD / 2 INT in those two games). Garoppolo lacks elite arm strength but can make all the necessary throws.
5. David Fales (San Jose State):
Size: 6’ 2", 220 lbs senior
40 yard dash: 4.93 s
2013 stats: 4189 yds (64% completions) 33 TD / 13 INT
Fales maneuvers well in the pocket and shows excellent touch on his throws, knowing when to put some zip on the ball and when to drop the egg in the basket. He possesses a good build and toughness, bouncing up after hits. Fales throws with a quick release and good rhythm. He also a solid work ethic and experience under center and with pistol and shotgun formations.
Like most QBs in this draft Fales lacks elite arm strength. Fales also has a bad habit of throwing off balance and sometimes panics and throws to covered receivers when the pass rush is in his face. These traits would need to be coached out.