With the NFL pushing the draft back two weeks, debate has boiled over on the 2014 NFL Draft quarterback class. Why is Teddy Bridgewater falling? Is Tom Savage really a top-50 pick? What about Jimmy Garoppolo?
There are a lot of questions about this class of passers, and few will be answered until draft night and the years that follow. Our quarterback rankings haven't changed much since the season ended. There are a total of 22 quarterbacks on our board, and Bridgewater still tops the list.
Here's a full look at our board, with quick reports on the 12 top quarterbacks in this class.
1. Teddy Bridgewater | 6'2 1/8, 214 pounds | Quarterback | Louisville *
Teddy Bridgewater has a set of skills that will help him make the transition to the NFL quickly. He has shown an ability to read coverages both before the snap and while dropping back from under center. He's an accurate passer with the anticipation to throw wide receivers open in the short and intermediate areas of the field. Bridgewater is a solid athlete who can put plenty of zip on the ball. He occasionally leads receivers a bit too much on deep passes and doesn't have the ideal size for a quarterback, but those are small concerns for a polished quarterback prospect.
2. Johnny Manziel | 5'11 3/4, 207 pounds | Quarterback | Texas A&M **
While a lot of what Johnny Manziel does is based on his ability to freelance and keep plays alive with his legs, he has a number of skills that translate well to the NFL game. Manziel's ability to read a defense is a bit underrated, and he has a great feel for where to go with the football. Additionally, he has a strong arm and is willing and able to take shots down the field. Manziel needs to improve his footwork in the pocket and hang in longer against the rush at times, but with some inventive coaching, he could be an instant-impact player in the NFL.
3. Blake Bortles | 6'5, 232 pounds | Quarterback | Central Florida *
Blake Bortles has the size and athleticism that will make him appealing to NFL teams early in the draft. Bortles' best trait may be his pocket presence. He takes advantage of his big frame and quick feet to extend plays while keeping his eyes downfield. Bortles need to refine his lower body mechanics a bit in order to get better velocity on his passes. He has the arm strength, but he doesn't always drive the ball effectively down the field.
4. Derek Carr | 6'2 3/8, 214 pounds | Quarterback | Fresno State
Derek Carr has one of the strongest arms in this draft class and throws to the deep portions of the field better than any of his competition. Carr's biggest flaw is his ability to deal with pressure in the pocket while maintaining proper throwing mechanics. He improved in this area as a senior, though, and has enough physical tools to have a shot at the first round.
5. Zach Mettenberger | 6'5, 224 pounds | Quarterback | LSU
For fans of classic, big-bodied pocket passers, Mettenberger is the guy in this year's draft. He has the arm strength to make difficult throws look easy, and can deliver throws deep down the field. His delivery needs hastening, however, and he's not particularly mobile.
6. David Fales | 6'1 5/8, 212 pounds | Quarterback | San Jose State
David Fales doesn't have the size or ability to drive the football that some other quarterbacks in this class do. He does have a strong understanding of the game, though, and possesses enough mobility to make up for his lack of physical tools. Often, Fales threw without enough torque in his lower body, which limited the velocity on his passes. On the plus side, Fales is able to throw receivers open with anticipation and has excellent accuracy to all areas of the field. If he can clean up his mechanics a bit, Fales could develop into a starter in the NFL. He could be the best value at quarterback in this draft class.
7. Jimmy Garoppolo | 6'2 1/4, 226 pounds | Quarterback | Eastern Illinois
Garoppolo has an impressive release. It's fast and compact and arguably the best in this year's draft. He will move his arm slot to avoid passes getting batted down. He has a good pump fake, and knows how to throw his receivers open. Garoppolo is quick to read a defense, and did well for himself in the all-star circuit, scoring invites to both the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.
He doesn't have the type of arm strength to fit any scheme in the NFL and won't be able to make all of the throws. Garoppolo's passes will flutter at times, and sometimes he will take too many risks that his arm can't bail out. He also doesn't have a strong feel for pressure and tends to bail on the pocket even before there's significant pressure.
8. Brett Smith | 6'1, 205 pounds | Quarterback | Wyoming *
For those looking for a lesser version of Manziel at a cheaper price, Brett Smith could be that guy. Like Manziel, Smith is a tremendous athlete with the ability to keep plays alive with his legs. He also has a strong arm and is willing to take chances down the field. Smith just needs to harness some of that aggressiveness and be a bit smarter with the football. Overall, he's a high-upside quarterback who could develop into a starter if he irons out some of his flaws.
9. Aaron Murray | 6'1, 207 pounds | Quarterback | Georgia
Aaron Murray was a four-year starter at Georgia, but his development seemed to stall a bit later in his career. He has adequate arm strength and decent mobility within the pocket, but his biggest strengths are his accuracy and ability to read defenses. Because of his size, Murray needs to improve his ability to create throwing lanes and throw the ball from different arm slots. He gets too many passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. His lack of physical tools may limit his upside, but Murray looks to be at least a solid backup in the NFL.
10. Tom Savage | 6'3 7/8, 228 pounds | Quarterback | Pittsburgh
Tom Savage has become the darling of the pre-draft process. His size and arm strength are the main reasons for his late rise up draft boards, but the Pittsburgh quarterback has too many flaws to be considered one of the top quarterbacks in the class. He has heavy feet in the pocket and inconsistent accuracy. He also makes too many poor decisions with the football. Don't let the physical tools fool you.
11. Logan Thomas | 6'6 1/8, 248 pounds | Quarterback | Virginia Tech
Another quarterback who has more physical ability than he's been able to take advantage of is Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech. Thomas is an incredible athlete and has a rocket arm. He is able to drill the ball into tight windows at all areas of the field. Right now, Thomas is mostly a thrower of the football. He needs to develop into a passer by putting more touch on his throws and improving his accuracy. Few quarterbacks in this draft have as much upside.
12. AJ McCarron | 6'3 1/4, 220 pounds | Quarterback | Alabama
It's tough to endorse McCarron as anything more than a Day 3 pick based on his skill set and lack of room for growth. He skipped out on the Senior Bowl, which would have been a chance for him to silence some critics. Some team could fall in love with his attitude and take him on the second day of the draft. Based on his talent, however, McCarron looks like a fourth-round pick at best. He doesn't drive the football well and has limited functional athleticism.
13. Tajh Boyd | 6'0 5/8, 222 pounds | Quarterback | Clemson
14. Stephen Morris | 6'1 7/8, 213 pounds | Quarterback | Miami
15. Keith Wenning | 6'2 5/8, 218 pounds | Quarterback | Ball State
16. Jeff Mathews | 6'3 1/4, 223 pounds | Quarterback | Cornell
17. Bryn Renner | 6'3 1/4, 228 pounds | Quarterback | North Carolina
18. Connor Shaw | 6'0 3/8, 206 pounds | Quarterback | South Carolina
19. Casey Pachall | 6'4, 216 pounds | Quarterback | TCU
20. Jordan Lynch | 6'0 1/8, 217 pounds | Quarterback | Northern Illinois
21. Keith Price | 6'1, 204 pounds | Quarterback | Washington
22. Kenny Guiton | 6'2, 204 pounds | Quarterback | Ohio State