Join Date: Apr 2008
Re: Rob Rang 2014 draft
2014 NFL Draft: Finding the Fits for top QB prospects
When the Houston Texans are on the clock May 8 -- assuming they keep the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft -- there will be no slam dunk Andrew Luck-type prospect to fill their pressing need for a franchise quarterback.
Instead, there is a gripping debate developing over just who is the best quarterback prospect in this class. And the answer is, it will be in the eyes of the beholder come draft day. While Louisville junior Teddy Bridgewater remains NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated passer and No. 3 prospect overall, Central Florida redshirt junior Blake Bortles and Texas A&M redshirt sophomore Johnny Manziel are also projected top-10 picks.
Some scouts rate Bortles, Manziel or both ahead of Bridgewater. All three are projected as top-five picks in my current Mock Draft, as well as that of Dane Brugler, despite his significant concerns about Manziel's decision-making.
Each boasts tantalizing talent along with significant red flags, and below is a look at which quarterbacks would be the best fit -- and worst fit -- for teams with top-10 picks potentially in the market to draft a quarterback, taking into account skill sets, offensive schemes, weather conditions and other factors.
No. 1: Houston Texans
Best fit: Bridgewater
Given that the Texans boast considerable talent on both sides of the ball and are perhaps just some consistency at quarterback away from once again competing for an AFC South crown, Bridgewater is the most logical and safe selection.
The reason is simple -- he's the most accurate passer in the draft. Bridgewater's 68.3 career completion percentage wasn't manufactured by easy reads in the spread offense -- he displayed the ability to read defenses quickly and Pro Bowl-caliber ball placement. He is technically sound, very intelligent and a good, if underutilized, athlete.
His game is an easy projection to new coach Bill O'Brien's offense, a short, timing-based attack he implemented at Penn State and previously with the New England Patriots.
Good fit: Bortles
Bridgewater is pro-ready, but his slight frame is a legitimate concern. Listed at 6-feet-3 and 205 pounds, he's naturally lean and even a concerted effort to pack on good weight before the draft could be far-fetched (watch for his weigh-in numbers at the scouting combine).
That's part of the platform for Bortles (6-3, 230) gaining traction as a fit in Houston. Bortles has instincts and poise to go along with a strong arm and good athleticism. Bortles also led UCF to a victory over O'Brien's Nittany Lions in Happy Valley, drawing effusive praise from the coach following the loss. Further, O'Brien will get the straight scoop from Knights head coach George O'Leary. O'Brien coached for seven years under O'Leary at Georgia Tech and the two remain close.
Poor fit: Manziel
Johnny Football's undeniable playmaking ability and regional appeal give him a puncher's chance at pulling the upset, though in many ways he's the riskiest of the three top quarterbacks. His improvisational skills are mesmerizing but aren't necessarily an ideal match in O'Brien's scheme...
No. 3: Jacksonville Jaguars