2014 NFL Draft: QBs That Fit the Bill for Teams in Rebuild Mode
From Teddy Bridgewater on down, the 2014 draft class has a variety of interesting and rather appealing quarterback prospects.
Some would presumably fit in a read-option, spread-predicated offense, while others would be better in a more old-school, pocket-passing system.
Let's take a look at the signal-callers who'd be best suited to ultimately lead a rebuilding NFL franchise.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon
The ultra-athletic Marcus Mariota is the quarterback for teams enamored with the Chip Kelly, up-tempo, read-option-heavy, spread-offense philosophy that's becoming rather trendy in today's NFL.
At 6'4'' and 211 pounds, the Oregon signal-caller is well versed in all the eccentric wrinkles Kelly installed at Oregon before leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason.
Mariota is far from a traditional dropback passer, but he gets the ball out of his hands quickly and is a deceptively good runner when he's forced to leave the pocket or when a play is designed for him to take off.
In 2012, Mariota completed 68.5 percent of his throws with 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
While his completion percentage has dipped to 56.7 this year, he has yet to be picked off and is averaging 12.1 yards per rush.
Mariota will likely need to refine his game as a passer in the NFL, but for a rebuilding organization that wants to implement a Kelly-type system, Mariota's familiarity with it will go a long way, especially at the beginning of his professional career.
Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Tajh Boyd is three inches shorter than Mariota, and the two are comparable prospects, but there are differences in their respective skill sets.
At Clemson, Boyd's run plays out of the spread and the Pistol, and he has certainly executed a number of read-option plays. He's quicker than fast but can gain adequate chunks of yardage with his legs if need be.
Boyd is much more refined from within the pocket than Mariota. The Tigers signal-caller has attempted 660 more passes and completed 405 more passes in his collegiate career than the Ducks quarterback.
Boyd's completion percentage jumped from 59.7 in 2011 to 67.2 in 2011 and currently sits at 66.0. This year he's tossed 14 touchdowns to only two interceptions.
Boyd's the franchise foundation for an NFL team interested in operating a somewhat traditional, pro-style offense (though the definition of "pro style" is evolving) with some read-option and spread conceptions sprinkled in.
Another plus—at season's end, if he stays healthy, the Clemson quarterback will have appeared in more than 45 games in his collegiate career.
Brett Hundley, UCLA
Brett Hundley is the ideal quarterback prospect for an NFL team at the beginning stages of an organization overhaul, especially if that organization can be patient.
UCLA's 20-year-old redshirt sophomore quarterback is loaded with talent—both passing and running—and has considerable NFL upside.
At 6'3'' and 222 pounds, Hundley isn't the most physically imposing signal-caller, but for someone so young and relatively raw, he's been impressive throwing the football from the pocket.
Hundley is completing 65.6 percent of his passes in 2013, and his yards-per-attempt average is up from 7.82 in 2012 to 8.9 this year.
With a big, rather accurate arm and desired escapability, the youthful Hundley is the type of quarterback to be brought along slowly as his team undergoes a methodical reconstruction process of its own.
Some NFL franchise will fall in love with Hundley's potential.
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Kevin Hogan isn't flashy compared to his collegiate quarterback contemporaries, but he'd be labeled as "clean."
Following in Andrew Luck's footsteps probably puts some unfair pressure on the soon-to-be 21-year-old signal-caller, but Hogan's been a steady and smart decision-maker in Stanford head coach David Shaw's offense.
In 2012, he completed 71.7 percent of his passes and threw nine touchdowns to only three interceptions in the nine games in which he appeared for the Cardinal.
After Shaw decided to make Hogan the permanent starter, supplanting Josh Nunes, Stanford averaged 29 points per game.
He's 11-0 as a starter, and during that stretch, Hogan's tossed 19 touchdowns and seven picks.
If he enters the 2014 draft, he'll be seen as a solid quarterback around which a franchise can build its team, especially if that team wants to dedicate itself to running the football.
Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Zach Mettenberger is a big, strong-armed quarterback who's being groomed for the NFL in the high-pressure, talent-loaded SEC.
At 6'5'' and 235 pounds, he's the most physically impressive signal-caller of the group and the most likely to fall into a pure pocket-passer role in the NFL.
He flashed a bit in his first year as LSU's starter in 2012; however, at times he appeared overwhelmed by the enormity of SEC football.
This season, that hasn't happened.
Mettenberger's completion percentage is up 10 points, and his yards-per-attempt average is nearly four yards higher than it was last season.
He'll be very intriguing to an NFL team looking for a classic pocket passer to lead its offense.
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
The cream of the 2014 quarterback crop is Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater.
At 6'3'' and 195 pounds, the Cardinals quarterback could add a little weight, but he's a pinpoint passer and possesses a strong enough arm to make every throw needed in the NFL.
In 2012, he completed 68.5 percent of his passes and zipped 27 touchdowns to a mere eight interceptions. Although Bridgewater didn't face the stiffest competition during the regular season, his 20-for-32, 266-yard, two-touchdown, one-interception performance in the Sugar Bowl win over Florida proved he can flourish against a strong SEC defense.
Bridgewater has completed nearly 72 percent of his throws in 2013 and has 16 touchdowns with only one pick.
While he's not much of a runner, he's far from a statue in the pocket.
Bridgewater epitomizes the type of quarterback a rebuilding NFL team would want.