The Brod View: Picking Between Bortles, Bridgewater and Manziel
One of the bigger stories leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft is which quarterback will be drafted first. All three of the quarterbacks in the contention, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel have all previously been considered to be the number one overall pick of the draft. Unfortunately, for all three men, it is starting to look like the Houston Texans they are going to draft Jadaveon Clowney at that number one position.
These three men were all considered top five picks at one point considering that Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Oakland all require a QB. Moreover, the St Louis Rams are also considering trading down from their number two pick and a team like the Minnesota Vikings could climb the draft order.
Yet the three quarterbacks in question have had questions raised about their attitudes and performances in events like the scouting combine in Indianapolis or their pro days. Every pundit in the NFL are rating and slating the quarterbacks; evidence of which is seen in the mock drafts.
I have already produced two mock drafts for the first round. In the first draft I had Manziel at three (Jacksonville), Bortles (Oakland) at five and Bridgewater at eight (Minnesota). In the second draft I had Bortles at five, Manziel at eight and Bridgewater at 26 (Cleveland).
Even then I am not fully confident on my own analysis of what will happen in the draft. Bortles to Oakland always look set to happen until Reggie McKenzie decided to sign Matt Schaub from Houston. With the likes of Schaub and McGloin at the Raiders, there may not be a place for the QB from UCF.
Johnny “Football” Manziel is arguably the most popular choice of the quarterbacks. He looked like a guy who would go at number one but as mentioned earlier it looks like the Texans will be selecting Clowney. Cleveland are clearly interested in Sammy Watkins and will be looking to draft a QB either at 26 or in the second round. Jacksonville is still a valid option as they desperately need a QB, but one wonders if they are going to sign a defensive player—after all Bradley does like a tough defense.
And Bridgewater, the original number one pick, could be up for a massive fall in this year’s draft. Some critics are even suggesting that he could go behind Derek Carr, since Cleveland are rumoured on recruiting him at 26. Bridgewater still could be a top ten pick if teams choose by need rather than talent—but that is enough to have cause for concern.
So where has it all gone wrong for the top quarterbacks of the 2014 draft class. I would argue that Bortles is the most complete player in the draft. The QB from UCF has drawn comparisons with two time Super Bowl winner, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. That is not to say Bortles has some issues to iron out—he, like Roethlisberger, tends to hold on to the ball for quite a long time, something which cannot be done in today’s NFL.
Bortles has been a consistent and calm performer and that’s why he probably hasn’t shot up to number one, but at the same time, has not fallen below the top five.
Manziel is the most marketable player in the NFL draft and that is the only reason why I cannot see him dropping down lower than eight in the draft. Any business minded general manager would probably aim to get his services; it’s why the Jaguars wanted him for a long time because they desperately need to put bums to seats.
Yet I think Manziel could be a bust in the NFL. He needs to play in a West Coast system to thrive. He’s very small and needs to escape the pocket a lot and therefore he needs a strong O-line to accommodate him. Furthermore the guy could not do play action in college. I will defend his attitude in some senses though, because despite some big questions over it, he has performed well in front of scouts both physically and mentally.
Bridgewater has shown why scouts have every right to be concerned. A lack of willingness at the combine plus a dismal display at his pro day has put the Louisville QB down in everybody’s mock draft. Although top NFL scouts understand that you cannot solely judge a player based on a pro day and combines but on game footage too. If it were just down to game footage, then one would recognise he possesses the ability of a number one overall pick. Furthermore everybody knows he has great arm strength and accuracy and he knows how to win.
Yet to reiterate the point, he blew his opportunity to convince scouts that he is the best quarterback in the draft class by failing to ace his pro day—that will prove costly for Bridgewater.
It seems like a near impossibility to pick between the three quarterbacks. All have major upsides and some significant downsides. I think Bortles would be best suited for a franchise that just needs someone who can be consistent and can adapt easily to situations. Manziel would be best suited for a franchise that needs reenergizing and Bridgewater would be best suited for a franchise that needs a man who really knows how to win games.
By that analysis alone though, it’s pretty suggestive that it’s hard to decide who the best quarterback is but if I was a struggling franchise then Bortles would be my guy.
This piece was written by Broderick Sutherland. Broderick is from Bath, UK and he is a massive New York Giants fan. He has recently started a blog that covers a variety of sports called Armchair Analyst. Follow him @BrodSutherland. And visit armchairanalystblog.wordpress.com