Disclaimer: I am not a draft expert.
These are merely layman's observations from a fantasy football writer and former high school QB. A big thanks goes out to the fine folks at draftbreakdown.com for enabling me to ditch work for amateur hour film study. I'll be updating and adding to my QB notes throughout the draft process.
1. TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, LOUISVILLE
Games Watched So Far: Ohio, Miami
- Natural, smooth.
- Athletic, but not a runner. Uses mobility to extend plays/pocket, where he throws very well on the run (both directions).
- Pinpoint darts into small windows at short/intermediate levels.
- Not as dependable on deep throws.
- Poised, smart.
- Easily the most polished QB prospect in this class.
- A Day 1 starter wherever he lands.
VIKINGS SLANT: He's the only guy I'd be happy with at No. 8, and I'd endorse a trade up if he begins to slide.
2. BLAKE BORTLES, UCF
Games Watched So Far: Penn State, Louisville, UConn
- 6'4", 227 lbs.
- Size/athleticism is A+.
- No fear. Competitor. Totally unflappable.
- I've seen Andrew Luck comparisons, and physically I can buy it, but he has a major flaw: his lower body mechanics are a mess. Instead of stepping into his throws and driving the ball, he opens up and loses his hips, causing loss of velocity and inconsistent accuracy/ball placement.
- His actual arm strength is hard to even judge, because he doesn't get his lower half into his throws.
- I would think this is coachable, but as of now he's a project who's nowhere near Sunday-ready. He'd be a pick-six magnet the way he floats his out routes.
VIKINGS SLANT: Because of the physical potential, he's somebody I'd be fine moving back into the late-first round for, but you'll need to have a Band-Aid in place for 2014.
3. DEREK CARR, FRESNO STATE
Games Watched So Far: USC, New Mexico, Rutgers
- 6'2", 215 lbs.
- Golden arm. This kid can spin it.
- Athletic/mobile enough.
- Unlike Bortles, seems very flappable. Get pressure in his face and he resembles Cutler: overconfidence in supreme arm talent resulting in back-foot idiot throws. I'm not sure that this flaw is coachable.
- Only saw him in shotgun.
- He's gonna make people drool in shorts. Expect stock to rise as draft nears.
- I think if you can keep the pocket clean he could be a stud.
VIKINGS SLANT: I'd be very happy with him at 2.08, and wouldn't be against moving up a bit if he's sliding. Would compete for a Day 1 starting job.
4. JOHNNY MANZIEL, TEXAS A&M
Games Watched So Far: Alabama, LSU
- 6'0", 205 lbs.
- I could be totally wrong on this.
- He's going to get killed.
- Joystick mobility. I feel like I'm watching Madden. Ultra-rare ability to extend plays.
- Thrives on broken plays and improvisation, often escaping out the back of the pocket. He's simply too fast for college defenses. Will these things translate to the next level?
- Oozes competitiveness and leadership.
- The Russell Wilson comparisons don't compute at all for me. Wilson plays controlled, and within himself. Manziel is the exact opposite.
- Wants to put the team on his back, and will singlehandedly win or lose games.
- Will flip field position—either direction—on any given play.
- Good enough arm, but throws it up for grabs too much for my liking (Mike Evans).
- You can't rein him in, or he's no longer JFF. The chaos is who he is. Ride or die.
VIKINGS SLANT: I'm not willing to take him at No. 8, and he's unlikely to be there anyways. I'm worried that the speed of NFL defenses will neutralize what he does best. Rick has one more chance to get it right at QB... JFF would take some serious balls.