Johnny Manziel and a multitude of the NFL's next great stars will be looking to make strong first impressions in front of scouts at the NFL Scouting Combine.
There has already been a ton of speculation as to who will get selected with every pick of the NFL draft, but the combine will certainly influence the way the draft actually unfolds. The combine isn't simply on-field workouts, however. This is also a great chance for team scouts and general managers to conduct interviews with players to see if their mentalities match what teams are trying to accomplish.
The biggest story for several NFL teams will be the quarterback position. Manziel and several of college football's top signal-callers from this past season are slated to go early on in the draft. The combine will most definitely impact their draft stocks.
Here's when to watch the quarterbacks at the combine, as well as a few signal-callers to watch during the event.
When: Feb. 22-25 (pre-workout activities such as interviews will begin on Feb. 19)
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.
TV: NFL Network (Begins at 9 a.m. ET each day)
Live Stream: NFL.com Combine Live
Quarterbacks: Feb. 22 (along with running backs and wide receivers)
It remains to be seen as to whether or not Manziel will be a quality NFL quarterback, but we won't find that out until he first steps onto the field for whichever team drafts him. For now, we'll judge him based on his college accolades and combine results.
That's high praise for a guy that has never taken a snap in the NFL.
The Cleveland Browns are reportedly ready to make a large investment in his right arm, as reports back in January claimed that the team would be willing to trade up for the Texas A&M product.
Manziel embraced the reports, telling the Houston Chronicle, per John McClain, that he plans on having the highest level of success in Cleveland if he's drafted by the team:
If something happens, and it's the Cleveland Browns, I'm going to pour my heart out for the Dawg Pound and try to win a Super Bowl for Cleveland. I don't care if they've had 20 starting quarterbacks since 1999. I'm going to be the 21st and the guy that brought them the Super Bowl.
That's certainly a bold prediction, but one the Browns must love to hear.
Several NFL experts have Teddy Bridgewater ahead of Manziel in their overall position rankings. Mike Mayock of NFL.com is one of them.
Jim Corbett of USA Today agrees with that ranking: "Bridgewater, who led Louisville to a 23-3 record over his final two seasons, is widely considered the most pro-ready passer among a talented 2014 crop," he wrote.
Bridgewater demonstrated great pocket presence and anticipation at Louisville, helping lead his team to a dominant win in the Russell Athletic Bowl over Miami. Bridgewater also possesses good arm strength and accuracy. In fact, he completed an impressive 71 percent of his passes last season.
He also boasts the ability to make good reads and deliver the ball to his receiver, as indicated by the fact that he threw just four interceptions all of last season. Compare that to his near-4,000-yard season with 31 touchdowns, and you've got yourself a legitimate candidate to go No. 1 overall.
Blake Bortles was a relative unknown at the beginning of the season compared to Bridgwater and Manziel, but leading his Central Florida team to its first BCS bowl victory was the icing on the cake.
News of him throwing at the combine was made recently, however, as nobody knew if he would perform in front of scouts until he took to Twitter to let his followers know:
Several believe Bortles has the potential to go No. 1 overall, ahead of both Manziel and Bridgewater. Derek Harper of CBSSports.com tells us about just a few analysts who think this:
Bortles' decision may force Bridgewater's hand, as the former UCF star is already projected to go No. 1 to the Houston Texans by NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler and CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco and Pat Kirwin. While Bridgewater is considered the far more polished passer and NFL-ready coming out of Louisville's offense, Bortles boasts a tantalizing combination of size, athleticism and general upside.
Bortles has arguably the most ideal frame of any quarterback projected to go in the first round. He has great size, good arm strength and the ability to launch the deep ball. In the right system, Bortles could find success from the start.
Don't be surprised if he's hooking up with wideout Andre Johnson for touchdowns in October.
Follow me on Twitter: @kennydejohn
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