These names have been tossed around like nobody's business so it's time to take a look at each prospect. I usually prefer doing one player profile at a time, but since the Ram's won't be drafting any of them I decided to batch them together. The 2014 QB class doesn't have that "elite" prospect but it doesn't have a steep talent drop off either. Let's dive in.
Build: At 6'2 his height is adequate for the NFL. Tipped passes aren't a huge concern because he throws with a quick, high release. His frame is a bit wiry so added bulk at the next level would be beneficial.
Arm: It isn't a cannon but it also isn't a noodle by any means. He can make all the NFL throws and can still put some zip on the ball when throwing off balance or on the run.
Footwork: His footwork is very clean, even we under pressure. He can move up in the pocket while still keeping his eyes downfield. Isn't afraid to take a hit when he steps up. He doesn't often get caught throwing off his back foot and drives the ball downfield well.
Mobility: Athletic but not a scrambler. He can avoid pass rushers and extend plays with his feet when needed. Has the ability to pick up a first down on the ground when he has too.
Composure: Very calm and collected in every facet of his game. Shows great poise and command of the offense. Great pocket presence when faced with a stiff pass rush. Goes through his reads without getting flustered when his first option isn't there.
Intangibles: According to coaches and teammates he puts in the time watching film and preparing. A calmer type of leader and doesn't give me any reason to question his toughness. Some raise a red flag about how he handled Louisville and his Heisman campaign. I don't think he balked at the campaign because he can't handle the media pressure, but rather because he's a humble guy that puts the team first. His character won't be a liability to any team that drafts him.
Overall Grade: 90.3 (A)
Review: Bridgewater isn't a flashy QB who will dazzle you with his arm or escape artist abilities. What he is though, is a QB that is good to very good in every part of his game. His biggest plus is his composure and mental makeup. He doesn't have a huge glaring weakness at this point.
Best Fit: Bridgewater's poise, sound mechanics, athletic ability and arm make it possible for him to be successful for any of the QB needy teams in this year's draft. Houston's turd of an offensive line wouldn't ruin him the way David Carr was ruined back in the day. It's difficult to find a "best fit" so let's just say its a tie.
Blake Bortles - UCF - 6'4 228lbs
Build: Excellent build for the NFL. Not much more to say.
Arm: Bortles is one of the big arm's in this 2014 class. His ball can dip a bit when trying to hit tight windows at short to intermediate range. Displays above-average touch for a big arm QB.
Footwork: Not bad but nothing to write home about. Becomes inconsistent on short drops and quick passes out of the gun. Has the footwork and awareness to avoid pass rushers and step up in the pocket.
Mobility: The best comparison for Bortle's brand of athleticism in Andrew Luck. He's a big guy that can move well in the open field when forced out of the pocket. Needs to learn to slide more when he gets to the pro level.
Composure: His pocket presence is above average and his ability to face a pass rush is comparable to Ben Roethlisberger. Down the stretch he is even-keel and has proven that he can come through in the clutch (Louisville and Baylor)
Intangibles: Strong leader with above average work ethic. Coach O'Leary is on record as saying that proof of his intangibles is his girlfriend Lindsey Dukes. Seriously, after reading this article go check her out. Wowza. My favorite part of Bortles game is his ability to win games and come through in the clutch. Yet another place to draw a comparison with Andrew Luck.
Overall Grade: 89.8 (B+)
Review: Ben Roethlisberger minus the motorcycles and rape. Jokes aside, he's got the arm and physicality of Roethlisberger with the athleticism and winning ability of Andrew Luck. Would be my #1 QB in the class if his footwork was as good as Bridgewater's.
Best Fit: Cleveland Browns. His build and arm strength would allow him to be successful in the AFC North. I know they fired Chudzinski, but I think the vertical passing scheme will persist. Josh Gordon thrived in it and last year and Greg Little is a reliable big target on the outside. Josh Cameron was a top TE before the QB play suffered and he could return to that status with Bortles at the helm. He could make them a competitor.
Derek Carr - Fresno State - 6'3 209lbs
Build: Has the height for the NFL. His frame is best described as athletic and he's on the lighter side.
Arm: Carr is another member of the big-arm QB club. His arm is both a blessing and a curse, but we'll get to that later.
Footwork: Protect women and small children. It's just gross and downright wrong. The only time it's right is when the protection is great. And by that I mean it has to be GREAT. At the faintest whiff of a pass rush he gets happy feet and throws from every position imaginable. My personal favorites include the fade-shot and wide open hips. When he has good footwork he is one of the deadliest passers in the college game. Unfortunately, he plays like his brother did after he got to Houston. SCARED. Guess seeing what happened to David spooked him a bit.
Mobility: Just decent. He can move fine in the pocket and escape pressure. Doesn't often cut loose and run with it.
Composure: He makes quick reads and is great at adjusting plays at the line. Plays scared too often and is about as tough as Tom Brady (WUUSSSSSS). Relies on his arm too much.
Intangibles: He gets a little bit more cred here. A smart, hardworking family man. Possesses a high-football IQ and can run offenses by himself.
Overall Grade: 82.7 (B-)
Review: He's the Lion from The Wizard of Oz. All the physical tools but lacks courage. Needs the Oz equivalent of a coach to fix him. If he is fixed, he could be a top-tier QB in the NFL.
Best Fit: Because of my loathe for this guy I'm sending him to Jacksonville. He's their next QB mistake.
Johnny Manziel - Texas A&M - 6'0 200lbs
Build: He get's harped on big time for his height. The old me would have thought less of him. But, the success of Russell WIlson makes me believe that shorter QB's can succeed in the NFL. I used to think that Drew Brees was just an exception.
Arm: His arm is adequate, and good for his size. The impressive part is the zip he puts on the ball when throwing on the run. Has improved as a pocket passer during the 2013 season.
Footwork: Another area where he improved in 2013. Its not perfect, but there's hope. We all know how shifty he is in the pocket, it's what got him on SportsCenter.
Mobility: What more do I need to say? He's pure electricity when extending plays and making something out of nothing. Runs a 4.40s 40 which is ridiculous for a QB.
Intangibles: Get's knocked for his party lifestyle. I don't pay it much mind, he's just being a college kid. The unique skill that he brings to the table in this class is his fiery leadership. He's proven more time and gain that he can keep his team in games and make the people around him better. I mean, he stared down Alabama as a freshman and BEAT THEM. He nearly did it again this year with a horrible defense and the overrated Cedric Ogbeuhi on the right side instead of Jake Matthews.
Overall Grade: 90 (A)
Review: Some think his skills won't translate, and I used to be a part of that camp. But the improvement he showed as a pocket passer this year makes me think that he may be the best QB in the class. Bridgewater gets the edge over him for well-roundedness and maturity.
Best Fit: Houston pre-Bill O'Brien. Houston has all the pieces to win a Super Bowl, except a QB that can win. At A&M Manziel had Mike Evans, a good o-line and a bad defense to work with. In Houston, his mobility would make up for their bad o-line. Add Andre Johnson and above-average D (at times) and they're a winning team. Manziel could legitimately make everyone in Houston better. Unfortunately, Bill O'Brien has the history of big pocket passers. What a shame.