Still Too Many Questions Around ’14 Quarterbacks

When it came time to throw, Blake Bortles (l) threw, while Johnny Manziel (c) and Teddy Bridgewater (r) watched at the Combine.

From Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis

Quarterbacks took the field on Sunday at the NFL Combine, and one passer shot to the forefront of the group simply by using his right arm.

Central Florida’s Blake Bortles was easily the top performer among the 16 quarterbacks wearing the QB on their shirts.

“Easily the best passer out there,” said one scout that watched the quarterbacks throw and work out on the stadium field. “First, he threw; the other guys didn’t. Second, he threw with accuracy and that’s sometimes tough in these workouts. Three, his mechanics were very good.”

Now, “the other guys” was directed at Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater – the other potential first rounders at the position. They decided not to throw

“The biggest thing was just me being a perfectionist, and I just want everything to go right,” said Bridgewater, who has added 9 pounds since the end of Louisville’s season. “Whether I’m taking a five-step drop and the guy’s not on top of his route at the time, I just want to have that chemistry with the guys. I tend to look at it from a pro standpoint. When you’re throwing in the offseason, you want to be with your guys to have that timing and that connection, so that was the biggest thing.”

Manziel said his agent said it would be best to throw only at his Pro Day workout at Texas A&M.

“I’ll be in a situation March 27 where I’ll have Mike Evans and a group of receivers that I’ve very comfortable with, very familiar with that I want to give those guys an opportunity to go and show what they can showcase as well,” said Manziel. “It was an extremely hard decision for me not to throw here.”

Whether he meant too or not, Bortles put the verbal needle in the other guys in talking about his willingness to throw at Lucas Oil.

“I want to compete; that’s kind of who I am, that’s kind of the way I was brought up and who I am. So throwing really wasn’t a question.”

Here are the physical numbers for the Combine quarterbacks:

Quarterback College

HT

WT

Arm

Hand

40y

Blake Bortles Central Florida

6-5

232

32 7/8

9 3/8

4.93

Tajh Boyd Clemson

6-1

222

30 ¾

9 5/8

4.84

Teddy Bridgewater Louisville

6-2

214

33

9 1/8

*

Derek Carr Fresno State

6-2

214

31 ½

9 1/8

4.69

David Fales San Jose State

6-2

212

31 ¾

9 ¼

4.99

James Garoppolo Eastern Illinois

6-2

226

31

9 ¼

4.97

Jordan Lynch Northern Illinois

6-0

217

29 ¾

8 7/8

4.76

Johnny Manziel Texas A&M

5-11 ¾

207

31 3/8

9 7/8

4.68

A.J. McCarron Alabama

6-3

220

31 ½

10

4.94

Zach Mettenberger LSU

6-5

224

32 3/8

9 ¾

*

Stephen Morris Miami (FL)

6-2

213

32 ¾

10 ¼

4.63

Aaron Murray Georgia

6-1

204

30 5/8

9 1/8

*

Thomas Savage Pittsburgh

6-4

228

31 5/8

9 5/8

4.97

Connor Shaw South Carolina

6-0

206

30

9 ¼

4.66

Logan Thomas Virginia Tech

6-6

248

34 ¼

10 7/8

4.61

Keith Wenning Ball State

6-3

218

31 ¼

10

5.0

*-did not run the 40-yard dash at Combine.

Quick conversations with scouts and personnel types helped us divide these 16 into categories that we’ve based on current NFL starters with Super Bowl experience. The comparisons are based solely on physical characteristics and are not intended to be a harbinger for their pro football careers:

  • Peytons: Zach Mettenberger.
  • Roethisbergers: Blake Bortles.
  • (Russell) Wilsons: Johnny Manziel, Stephen Morris, Connor Shaw.
  • Kaepernicks: Tajh Boyd, Logan Thomas
  • Brees: Jordan Lynch, Aaron Murray.
  • Bradys: David Fales, James Garoppolo, A.J. McCarron, Thomas Savage, Keith Wenning.
  • Rodgers: Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr.

3 Responses to “Still Too Many Questions Around ’14 Quarterbacks”

  • February 23, 2014  - cychief24 says:

    The knock on Bridgewater’s hand size doesn’t make sense when compared to the others.
    Thanks Bob. Great article.

    A challenge to my fellow bobgretz.com brothers. Get at least one new member signed up for our site.


  • February 24, 2014  - R W says:

    I have a few thought on this topic. (SURPRISE!)
    Having viewed many of Manziel’s games these past two seasons, I see him as a straight up boom or bust prospect and I’m leaning toward bust. Smallish guys like him who rely on their feet to move the ball along with the arm, of course, are in the Mike Vick/RG3 class. The NFL tends to track those kinds of guys down with injuries mounting as a result. Smallish guys like Brees and Russell Wilson look to pass first and scramble only as a last resort. Manziel seems a first resort runner and that’s trouble for his longevity.

    I watched a couple of Bortles’ games this past season and carefully watched all day yesterday as the QBs went through the various drills. They were comparing him to Big Ben in most cases but I saw a very fair comparison to Blaine Gabbert, who has so far bombed at Jax. Bortles may be all that but I’m not seeing it.

    McCarron has never impressed me. At ‘Bama he held onto the ball too long, couldn’t get the ball to the open man consistently and his arm strength is only average.

    The one guy I think that’s an undervalued riser is LSU’s Mettenberger. True, he’s coming off an injury but he has the big arm, gets rid of the pill quickly and has a presence about him that I found compelling in, oh, about a half dozen of his games I watched this past season.

    I didn’t see Bridgewater or any of the other guys being touted often enough to offer up an informed opinion, except Aaron Murray of the Ga Dawgs. He could be a nice guy to take a flyer on in the 5th round or so. Smart player, reads defenses well and is not mistake prone in the main. Arm strength for Murray is just so-so but he seems to have this intangible for knowing what to do at critical times in a game. Again, coming off an injury so his draft stock shouldn’t be too high and, in my view, he’s a much better QB than McCarron for what that’s worth.

    Finally, I see a comment recently that the Chiefs might be interested in jumping into the QB fray at draft time if they fail to extend Alex Smith. Say what??? I’ll leave it there for now as I’ve eaten up enough bandwidth with this posting.


  • February 24, 2014  - Russell says:

    I agree w\Mayock: Logan Thomas could translate real well for some team to develope behind a proven Vet Like NO, Pitt, AZ.




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