The quarterback position is perhaps the hardest to project when it comes to the 2014 NFL Draft, and like 2013, this year’s crop of signal-callers lacks a certain “wow” factor.
At the top of XN Sports rankings is Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, who at one time was the consensus No. 1 quarterback in the class. Bridgewater earns this spot because he might be the most sure bet at the position. Though he didn’t have as impressive of a 2013 season with the Cardinals as some might have expected, he did flash signs of being an NFL-caliber quarterback that will certainly entice teams.
At No. 2 is the former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. The former Texas A&M superstar had an even better 2013 than he did during his Heisman award-winning freshman campaign and is far and away the most intriguing of the quarterback prospects. While Bridgewater may stake his claim as the surest bet, Manziel may have the highest ceiling as he not only can run and throw, but has the knack for being a playmaker in the clutch.
Rounding out the top three is Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, who surfaced from the unknown to put himself in the conversation as the best quarterback in college football. Bortles helped elevate the Knights to new heights this past season, including a nine-win season and a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl upset victory over Baylor. Bortles has the physical tools to be a professional quarterback, though like any prospect from a small school he’ll have to prove he can have success against NFL defenses.
Also in the mix are a host of quarterbacks that will fall somewhere between the third and sixth rounds. Headlining that tier of prospects is Derek Carr, the younger brother of former No. 1 overall pick of David Carr, as well as Alabama’s A.J. McCarron and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, both of whom were once considered to be the best quarterbacks available in the draft. Decorated players like McCarron and Boyd make for the Russell Wilson-type surprises — a late-round selection who comes in and surprises an NFL team. The question is which prospect does that in 2014.
XN Sports QB rankings:
1. Teddy Bridgewater
2. Johnny Manziel
3. Blake Bortles
4. Derek Carr
5. A.J. McCarron
7. Tajh Boyd
8. Logan Thomas
9. Jimmy Garoppolo
10. David Fales