NFL Draft 2014: Predicting Landing Spots for Top Quarterbacks in the Draft

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2014

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles warms up prior to the first half of an NCAA college football game against Rutgers in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux

Every player taken in the first round of the NFL draft enters the league with a certain amount of expectations. However, quarterbacks certainly have a lot more pressure starting on the day their name is called by the commissioner.

This is why it is so important for each young signal-caller to land in the right location to be successful. The coaching staff, supporting cast and even fanbase can make an impact on how well each player performs at the next level.

To make things interesting, there are close to double-digit teams in need of a new franchise quarterback. As a result, the first round is going to be as much of a mystery as we have seen in years.

Still, there remains a perfect fit for each top quarterback on the board. Here is a look at the best landing spots for each of the top names heading into the draft.


Johnny Manziel: Jacksonville Jaguars

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 30:  Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies scrambles during the game against the Missouri Tigers on November 30, 2013 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

There might not be a more divisive player in the draft than Johnny Manziel. The former Heisman-winning quarterback has unique playmaking ability that allows him to move the football with either his arm or his legs. On the other hand, he tends to make a lot of mistakes that lead to turnovers, and his size (6'0") could be a concern based on his style of play. 

Still, the NFL draft is not about impressing all 32 teams. All it takes is one organization to fall in love with him and think he is worth an early pick. That should be the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are in need of a quarterback and a general jolt to the offense.

Charles Davis of NFL Network explained all the things he can contribute, via Bryan Fischer of

"I'm going to go with Johnny Manziel at that spot. Go ahead and take a guy they think can play, which we all believe is the case with Johnny Manziel. Couple that with boosting this city's excitement level -- ticket sales, jerseys, people coming out to watch this team play."

Manziel also has a strong endorser on the inside in the form of last year's first-round pick, Luke Joeckel. The former college teammate explained to SiriusXM NFL Radio, via John Breech of CBS Sports:

There's one thing that no one can really deny with Johnny, is that he can play football.

His football intelligence is incredible. He did things in college, I can remember going back on Sundays and watching film of it and the offensive line would just be laughing about some of the stuff he can do. He studies the game, he's smart with the game, he knows how to make the right decisions.

Jacksonville has some young talent on the roster, but Manziel can transform the entire unit and win games by himself. No matter what happens, he will certainly bring a great deal of excitement to a franchise that needs it.


Blake Bortles: Oakland Raiders

The Raiders have a lot of needs heading into the draft, but the biggest is clearly at quarterback. The team has lacked a legitimate franchise quarterback for the past decade, and the failures on the field have followed. 

Blake Bortles can solve that problem as a prototypical passer with the size, arm strength and mobility within the pocket to make him a big-time prospect at the position. He might be a bit raw compared to others in the class, but his upside in unmistakable.

Additionally, there seems to be some interest coming from the Raiders based on a recent visit:

Of course, Bortles has visited with most of the top teams after impressing scouts throughout the regular season and pre-draft events. However, this appears to be a great fit as someone who can help turn things around in Oakland.

If the UCF player is still on the board at No. 5, the Raiders would be making a mistake by passing on him.


Teddy Bridgewater: Minnesota Vikings

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 23:  Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Louisville Cardinals throws the ball during the game against the Memphis Tigers at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Since the end of the college football season, Teddy Bridgewater has seen his stock drop dramatically. He was once viewed as the No. 1 quarterback in the class and potentially the No. 1 overall pick, but shaky performances at his pro day and various other workouts have teams nervous.

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. even has the Louisville star falling to the second round in his latest mock draft:

On the other hand, you can count Bleacher Report's Matt Miller as someone who is not buying the latest rumors:

The reality is that Bridgewater is one of the top quarterbacks in the class and might turn out to be the best. He has an accurate arm, good mobility and excellent poise in the pocket. The last skill is something that cannot be seen in offseason workouts, but it usually ends up being a good indicator of NFL success.

For this reason, the Vikings should not be cautious about drafting someone with his ability with the No. 8 pick. The squad needs an upgrade at quarterback after struggling with Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and even Josh Freeman last season.

Bridgewater can ease into the system or step in immediately while working with weapons like Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson at the next level.


Derek Carr: Cleveland Browns

David Cleveland

While the first three quarterbacks are making the most headlines, Derek Carr has the opportunity to be the best in the class. He led the nation in passing yards and touchdowns and has the talent for this to translate into NFL success.

With a strong arm and the ability to make quick decisions, there is no question he can survive in the fast-paced league.

The Cleveland Browns are certainly intrigued by the notion of drafting Carr. New head coach Mike Pettine had some good things to say about the quarterback when he saw him throw:

Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman hears that this will lead to the Browns taking a chance on the young passer:

The feeling with many in football is that Cleveland will take Carr with its 26th pick. Other quarterbacks are rising quickly, but he might be rising the fastest. He has charmed almost every team he's met with and his arm and accuracy are underrated. And no one seems to be scared of the fact he's related to epic draft bust David Carr, a notion that was definitely in play just a few months ago.

It will certainly be an easy transition throwing the ball to Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. Adding in whomever the team drafts with the No. 4 pick, Cleveland can be a playoff contender next season.


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