2014 NFL Draft: Ranking Top QB Prospects After Johnny Manziel Decision
Where does Johnny Manziel rank in the 2014 quarterback class?
It's a question many want answered now that the Texas A&M star has officially declared for the draft.
With Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and David Carr, Manziel will certainly have impressive competition for the top signal-caller spot heading into the draft.
Let's rank the quarterbacks as the 2014 draft season approaches.
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Teddy Bridgewater is a squeaky clean quarterback prospect, a guy with skills refined enough to give him legitimate franchise signal-caller potential.
He doesn't have a large frame at 6'3'' and slightly under 200 pounds, but he can certainly add some weight at the NFL level.
Bridgewater's most important traits as a quarterback are his pinpoint accuracy and sound fundamentals, which result in tremendous ball placement no matter the type of pass he's asked to throw.
His arm strength isn't Matthew Stafford-esque, yet he's capable of making every throw on the field.
While the Louisville star is a pocket passer first and foremost, he can elude rushers when protection breaks down, square his shoulders and zing completions while on the run.
Lastly, Bridgewater's decision-making doesn't leave much to be desired, and he seems to read coverages well.
2. Blake Bortles, Central Florida
Blake Bortles is a fine decision-maker with a big frame 6'4'', 230 pounds, a good arm and higher-end athleticism for the quarterback position.
He excels on short-to-intermediate throws but isn't afraid to stand in against pressure and make downfield throws.
The UCF standout's coverage-reading ability will make him a favorite of NFL GMs and scouts, as will his running capabilities and experience in the read-option.
Bortles' delivery is a bit elongated, but it's not something that'll make him plummet in the draft.
With the size, smarts, and overall passing tools to become a franchise quarterback, Bortles should be an early first-round selection.
2a. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel is the ultimate improvisational quarterback, but what's desirable about his ad-lib tendency is that he doesn't simply tuck it and run when the pocket starts to collapse.
While he certainly is capable of picking up big chunks of yardage with his feet, oftentimes he vacates the pocket and keeps his eyes downfield.
Manziel improved as a passer from 2012 to 2013 and possesses a good but not great arm.
While a small portion of his completions came on broken plays and absolute prayers downfield, he didn't appear to be confused by coverages in college.
The former Heisman Trophy winner will measure in around 6'0'' and 205 pounds, but he displays the athleticism, deceptive speed and a noticeable toughness that some teams will love.
4. David Fales, San Jose State
David Fales isn't much bigger than Manziel but he's much more of a pure pocket passer.
He can move around in the pocket to avoid pressure and occasionally squirm free to pick up some yardage on the ground, but the San Jose State star won't be running often.
Fales wins with a strong arm, polished downfield touch and sound footwork in the pocket. Also, he showed a capacity for reading more than half the field. Rather, he regularly scanned the defense and still got the football out on time.
He could use some coaching, as his lower half doesn't appear to generate the torque necessary for throwing the ball with velocity.
Overall, Fales is one of the finer "passers" in this class.
4a. Derek Carr, Fresno State
Derek Carr's monster arm is the first attribute that stands out about him. He can change arm angles to fit the football through tight windows to his receivers.
Carr needs to improve his footwork, as he can get a little jumpy in the pocket when his first read isn't there. But for the most part at Fresno State, he showed he was quite capable of reading coverages.
At 6'3'', he's not undersized by NFL standards, and he throws the football accurately to every level of the field.
If there's any worry about Carr, it's that he wasn't always comfortable when dealing with pressure and blitzes.
Still, all the physical tools are there.
6. Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Tajh Boyd is a smaller, athletic quarterback with a decent arm and loads of collegiate experience.
He made a considerable jump as a passer over his three final seasons at Clemson, though the Tigers in his senior season fell somewhat short of lofty expectations.
At 6'1'' and 225 pounds, Boyd is a good runner—even inside—and is very familiar with the read-option.
Although he's pretty athletic, Boyd often got flustered in the face of pressure, which led to many bad decisions and ill-advised throws.
When given a clean pocket and time to scan the defense, he did show some nice touch downfield. Given that touch, along with his mobility, the Tigers standout could be an efficient passer on a team that utilizes a West Coast offense.
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