This year’s NFL Draft class is loaded with potential franchise quarterbacks. To go along, many teams are in need of a franchise quarterback as well because of poor results of draftees from the past three drafts. Here at Big Play Nation, I, Ricky, will be taking a look at the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft, as well as making mock drafts and other draft related news in the near future.
5. AJ McCarron, Redshirt Senior, Alabama
AJ McCarron seems like a forgotten soldier among the top names that are to be mentioned later. Can we please remember that this guy has led his team to two national championships, and was on the verge of a third had it not been for Auburn’s miracle “kick six”. McCarron is decorated and is coming off winning the Maxwell Award, recognizing the best college football player of the year. He is a proven winner and it is a mystery why scouts and draft experts have him ranked only as high as the eighth best quarterback in this year’s draft. McCarron is a true leader and should be able to prove so in the NFL.
Where Will He Go and Who Wants Him?: I see McCarron being a late first or high second round pick. He could be a great steal for possibly the Patriots as a backup to learn under Tom Brady if they opt to trade Ryan Mallett over the offseason if he falls to the late 2nd or possibly 3rd round. He could end up in the second round as a pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars as they may opt to go defense with their first pick. The Rams are a team that may possibly take him in the second round as well, so they can have a solid backup behind Sam Bradford, and to also give Bradford a push for the starting job.
4. Derek Carr, Redshirt Senior, Fresno State
Name sound familiar? College too? If you are thinking he is related to former number 1 pick David Carr, you are right, HD is his little brother. Carr is reminiscent of his brother as well, but has much more potential. He has been a great leader for the Fresno State Bulldogs for the past four years and nearly led the team to an undefeated season in 2013. He had a great showing against the USC Trojans in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl, and showed the elements to prove that he is ready for the next level.
Where is He Going and Who Wants Him?:
There is no doubt that he is going to go in the first round. Many teams are in dire need of a franchise quarterback and Carr has the potential to be one. The question is where in the first round he will go. It is most likely that he will go within the top 15. And may even go top 10 if he has a good showing at the Senior Bowl. Teams that could possibly go after him include the Minnesota Vikings, or possibly the Oakland Raiders.
3. Teddy Bridgewater, Redshirt Junior, Louisville
At this time last year, after a superb game in a thrashing of the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl, Bridgewater was widely considered the consensus number 1 overall pick, and the best and most pro ready quarterback heading into the draft. Much has changed since then, with the emergence of a quarterback to be named later, and Johnny Manziel listening to his critics and adjusting his style of play to more of a prototypical pocket passer. Bridgewater couldn’t do much to help his stock after suffering a loss to the Central Florida Knights, and has sort of stationed as the third best quarterback heading into this draft since then.
Where Will He Go and Who Wants Him?: Teddy Bridgewater is a no doubter as a top 10 pick. The teams that will be keeping a close eye on him include the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, and Minnesota Vikings.
2. Blake Bortles, Redshirt Junior, Central Florida
Bortles stock has skyrocketed since the start of the 2013 college football season. He lead a Central Florida Knights team in their first season in the American Athletic Conference to a BCS bowl game. In the year that was supposed to be of Teddy Bridgewater, Bortles made sure the critics knew his name and beat Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals. He also had very impressive games against Penn State and South Carolina.
Where is He Going and Who Wants Him?:
Bortles is no doubt a top 5 pick, unless he has a terrible combine and pro day. He can literally do nothing and his stock will only rise, so he is in sole control of where he can go. The Texans seem to be the team that will fight for Bortles. New head coach Bill O’Brien is in search of a Tom Brady type quarterback, and Bortles is the most similar in stature and play style in the draft. It seems highly unlikely the Texans will draft him at 1, as they desire to trade the pick to get more value. It is only if they feel another team will fight for him that they will pull the trigger at 1. I see the Texans trading down to 4 with the Browns and pull the trigger there to draft Bortles. Bill O’Brien has seen Bortles play first hand as the opposing head coach in the UCF-Penn State game, and spoke very highly of him, so all the more that the Texans will get Bortles. Other teams that may go after the UCF quarterback are the Browns, Raiders, and if he falls low enough, the Vikings may go out and get him.
1. Johnny Manziel, Redshirt Sophomore, Texas A&M
I feel that Johnny Manziel had been a top NFL prospect ever since his signature win against Alabama in his freshman year. He received much criticism about being, simply put, lucky, and not being big enough or scrambling out of the pocket too much. Well to explain the luck, I don’t think it is luck if the things he does happen on a week by week basis. The man is just gifted. He can’t do much about his stature, but he has improved himself as a pocket quarterback solely so he could further improve his stock. Manziel reminds me a lot of Russell Wilson. The stature of the two are identical, and their play styles are all the more similar. And look where Wilson is now. On the verge of winning the NFC Championship game and heading to Super Bowl XLVIII. The amount of potential Manziel is insane, and he very well may become one of the better and more exciting players we will ever see the play the game. Personally, I feel that Manziel was snubbed for the Heisman, as he improved on his freshman numbers and had much better stats than the winner Jameis Winston. The only downfall with Manziel is his off the field issues and his maturity, but honestly, he just looks so bad because of the insane amount of media attention he gets.
Where Will He Go and Who Wants Him?:
In his first mock draft, draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. projects Manziel as the number 1 overall pick, going to the Houston Texans. The reason I feel he is here is because I personally feel that a trade will happen between the Texans and Browns that will move Cleveland up to 1 and the Texans down to 4. As previously mentioned, I feel that Blake Bortles will be selected by Houston. Kiper also projects Bortles to go 4th to the Browns, so that all the more convinces my theory of where the two quarterbacks will go. The Browns are reportedly very high on Manziel and willing to go all in on him, so them going up to the first spot is a great possibility. The Texans may very well pick up Manziel themselves, as the front office is in love with him, but Coach O’Brien is looking for more of a Brady type quarterback, which is where Bortles come in. The Jaguars, Raiders, and Vikings are all in dire need of a quarterback and Manziel could be that guy if they fall into their hands.
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