The 2014 NFL Draft is in the books and we know where the top rookie quarterbacks landed. But before we start, I have a confession.
I never draft rookie quarterbacks.
Sure, I missed out on Andrew Luck and RGII and Cam Newtown, but I know myself. I need a consistent quarterback. I will spring a little early for my Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, etc. I need one position on lockdown, one slot on my roster that I don’t have to over think.
But I’m not everyone. Some of you like to live on the edge so here are the best bets and why:
Johnny Manziel (Cleveland Browns) - Don’t overthink it. Love him or hate him, this guy has all the makings of a special running and scoring quarterback. In fantasy football, that’s fantastic. Brian Hoyer showed some realy moxy last year, but quarterbacks have a tough time bouncing back from ACL surgery (examples: Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, RGIII, etc.) so this is Johnny’s job to lose. Last year at Texas A&M Manziel passed for 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns. But you know what makes him worth drafting to your fantasy team? He also rushed for 759 yards and for an additional nine touchdowns which helps make up for the probable loss of receiving phenomenon, Josh Gordon. He did all of that in 13 games. Well, technically he did it in 12 1/2 due to that pesky suspension, but you don’t need to worry about that. He’ll keep his nose clean his first year. Right?
Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders) - I’ll admit it; I have a sweet spot for this guy. I know part of the reasoning lies in the years I watched his older brother, David Carr, get sacked and sacked and sacked in Houston as the first quarterback for the Texans expansion team. It was… rough. It would be nice if one member of this talented family could get a fair shake. And when you look at his senior year numbers at Fresno State (5,083 passing yards and 50 touchdowns) you have to get a little excited. The Raiders had a great draft, overall. And even though I feel for Matt Schaub, he isn’t the answer. Look for Carr to start as soon as he learns the playbook.
Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings) - The Vikings were very excited to jump up and steal Bridgewater as the last pick of the first round of the draft. Call it a hunch, but I think they want to get him on the field as soon as they can. Returning veteran Matt Cassel doesn’t really have a leg up on the quarterback competition because Cassel is new to Offensive Coordinator, Norv Turner’s playbook. Bridgewater didn’t have the gaudy numbers in Liousville (3,970 passing yards and 31 touchdowns) but he only threw four interceptions. Many scouts thought Teddy was the most advanced prospect in the draft because he could read defenses and keep it together under pressure in the pocket. There are a lot of new factors on this team so it’s difficult to make an accurate assessment, but we like his chances.
Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars) - The Jaguars took the first quarterback off the boards, and it was Blake Bortles from the University of Central Florida. It surprised pretty much everyone. Bortles describes himself as a “work in progress.” He’s a big, athletic man standing 6’3″, weighing 230 pounds and able to run the 40 yard dash in 4.78 seconds. Chad Henne keeps hanging in there and Jacksonville still isn’t an offensive juggernaut. We like Bortles… next year.
Tom Savage (Houston Texans) - Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick and T.J. Yates were already competing for the starting job, but now you can add Tom Savage to the mix. None of the three returning quarterbacks have asserted themselves as “the guy” so there is a chance that Savage could get some playing time. He only played one full season in college due to a bunch of transfers between Rutgers, Arizona and Pittsburgh. He’s big (6’4″ 228 lbs) and he’s willing to work.
And for a bonus, keep an eye on Jimmy Garoppolo of the New England Patriots. No, I do not think he will beat out Tom Brady. That is ridiculous. However, I do think Brady will go out at the top of his game. I don’t see him pulling a Brett Favre. Even if Brady wanted to play past his prime, Giselle would lose it. And she’d be right. I would not be surprised if 2015 is Brady’s last year (especially if they don’t get Tom legitimate offensive weapons).
Who are you most excited to watch in 2014? Do you think any of these guys are future Hall of Famers?