Today like most days I scanned for anything new on the wire that is the NFL. Looking for any tidbit I could find, seeing as we are in the dreaded off-season. Checking out all the sites, you know the usual, Turfshowtimes, ProfootballTalk, and Bleacher Report. Of course I get greedy and use LockerPulse to get any and all things sports news so that I can get just enough to keep me through this difficult time as an American Football fan.
I ran across this article on Profootballtalk today, stating that Phil Simms did not know if there was a franchise quarterback in this year's draft. I thought about that throughout the day while at work and then watching some film on my lunch period of the top 5 guys. Granted, most all of them performed great feats of football highlight throws at some point during their college careers, but I had to ask the hard question, did they really have "IT"? Did any of those kids throwing the ball down in Indianapolis this past week give you as fans the same feeling that Andrew Luck did when he attended the NFL Combine or any of them even have close to the same buzz that Robert Griffin III had? I watched the Combine this past week and to be frank, I did not see anyone that looked like they were the type of players that could take a team on their backs and win it all.
I watched how they conducted themselves out there on drills, watched their form, waiting to see one of them come off as an Alpha male. Nothing.
Teddy Bridgewater is the MOST pro ready quarterback in the draft this year...based on the company he is keeping in that position in this draft. Look at what the pro comparison says from Bleacher Report on Teddy:
"NFL Comparison: Aaron Rodgers
Teddy Bridgewater is the most refined pocket passer in the 2014 class. He possesses a quick, fundamentally sound delivery and almost always has his shoulders square to his target, even if he's on the run.
His frame (6'3'', 205 lbs.), strong but not tremendous arm strength, pinpoint accuracy and unheralded athleticism make him about as close to an Aaron Rodgers clone as possible."
"Strong, but not tremendous arm strength", "fundamentally sound delivery"? This screams, slightly above average QB. Yet in the end a comparison to Aaron Rogers who in my opinion makes all throws. Roger's delivery is as accurate as elite can be when needed. His ability to pick apart a defense says one thing, elite.
Let's face it, Teddy Bridgewater is one, maybe two years from seeing a truly credible season in the NFL. Why? Even with the added weight to his lanky frame, he will need more to sustain his first year as he will be expected to start wherever he goes and produce no matter what quality of weapons. He will need to be a leader of men through a potentially tough season cause the team is picking that high for a reason. When looking into Bridgewater's eyes, I don't see leader of men. I see a rookie. I don't see anything elite about him...yet.
Blake Bortles is now all of a sudden a year one starter, first pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, from San Jose State?! Ok, wait, I'm not trying to pour a fresh glass of haterade for anyone, but really? He is now eligible to be given the keys to the franchise? Sure, teams have done worse, but Bortles, like all the other quarterbacks in this draft just does not have the "IT" factor for me. He can make the throws, can be mobile when he needs to, has good pocket awareness and yada yada so on and so forth. Can you fill a stadium with his persona? Is he electrifying? No.
UCF QB Blake Bortles at NFL Combine (via Ben Love)
Then here comes Johnny "Football" Manziel and although he has had an amazing collegiate career, he simply does not hold traits for franchise quarterback from my perspective. His size is something that took me by surprise because almost every site I saw had him taller than what he checked in at for the Combine. I also thought it was curious how the NFL Combine page had this to say of Manziel's weaknesses:
WEAKNESSES Has an unorthodox body type with marginal height, rounded shoulders, an underdeveloped body and very big feet that almost look clumsy. Will need to learn to do a better job protecting his body and sliding. Feels pocket ghosts and often takes off running at the second flash of coverage. Undisciplined -- plays his own offense and presses to make plays. Cannot see over the pocket easily and almost never steps up into it, creating extra difficulties for OL coaches to coordinate blocking schemes and for offensive linemen to anticipate where the pocket will be. Dances around the pocket too much and creates needless sacks rolling into protection when the pocket is clean. Has not worked from under center, and footwork and set-up will require refinement. Often throws the ball up in the air and relies on big receivers to adjust to it and make plays, highly benefiting from the playmaking ability of Mike Evans. Tends to overshoot the deep ball and throw off his back foot, leading to some underthrows (too many dirtballs on the move) and diminished accuracy. Needlessly pats the ball when he scans the field. Could stand to do a better job carrying out play-action fakes. Has not developed a reputation as a worker or for doing the extras. Suspect intangibles -- not a leader by example or known to inspire by his words. Carries a sense of entitlement and prima-donna arrogance seeking out the bright lights of Hollywood. Is known to party too much and is drawn to all the trappings of the game. Lacks ideal starting experience (only two years), operated a non-traditional offense and has a lot to learn.
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?? So it sounds to me that an offense was created for Johnny based on necessity and not out of sheer scheme. What I mean is, the coach fit the game plan to Johnny's strengths, gave him the autonomy to call plays on the line or change them, seemingly, at will. I can tell you that most of his plays from college would not translate well to the pros. Johnny can possibly do the same thing in the NFL, but who is going to trust him enough to give him the keys to the kingdom after multiple infractions and situations occurred just this past season?
Just listen to Todd McShay on this interview before Manziel even participates in the Combine:
Todd McShay Dishes on Johnny Manziel at NFL Combine (via ESPN1stTake)
Elite quarterbacks don't have questions about work ethic, judgement or in most cases, morality. They are the face of the franchise. They can't afford to be anything else but clean.
I would say that based on the company that this draft is keeping, how deep it is at various positions, the quarterback class this year is just not all that impressive to me. Maybe I'm wrong, what do you think? Do you see an elite QB?