2014 NFL Draft: Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel?
Jan 1, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Central Florida Knights quarterback Blake Bortles runs into the end zone for a fourth quarter touchdown against the Baylor Bears during the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Central Florida defeated Baylor 52-42. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
This week alone, I have seen three different 2014 NFL Mock Drafts with the Houston Texans selecting three different quarterbacks in either Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles or Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.
I know this is a busy time of year for all of those who write about or cover the NFL draft, and opinions will vary, but who would you select with the No. 1 overall draft selection this May if you were Bill O’Brien?
As much fun as “Johnny Football” is to watch on the field, I don’t see him going to the Texans in any way unless he’s a member of the opposing team.
Dec 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A
I could be wrong, though.
Manziel (6-0, 206) is a very good football player, but he doesn’t fit the offensive system of O’Brien. Plus, the Texans don’t have the time or patience to develop a quarterback of the future like Manziel by changing the approach of Manziel to the game of football next season.
Mr. Football needs to be with a team like the Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders or the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he can make an impact instantly with his style of play, not learning to change a big part of his game under O’Brien. Manziel has shown he can throw in the pocket, but is he willing to cut back on a lot of his running offense, because he’s more prone to take tougher hits in the NFL than out-running the defense like he did in college.
Again, I’m not worried about Manziel in terms of his passing ability or football skills … I’m more worried about his overall all-or-nothing style of play, and don’t want the Texans to end up with a Robert Griffin III situation. You know, where his style of play is the main reason for him struggling to stay healthy his second season and being often injured.
Now that leaves Bridgewater and Bortles as my top two Texans prospects for their next QB.
Bridgewater (6-3, 205) and Bortles (6-3, 230) have similar builds, but Bortles is more of the build of a O’Brien type of QB with the extra 25 pounds.
Compare them to the builds of former O’Brien quarterbacks: Tom Brady (6-4, 225), Matt McGloin (6-1, 210) and Christian Hackenberg (6-4, 220).
Of those three QBs under O’Brien, Bortles compares more to Brady and Hackenberg in terms of build, while McGloin was a QB O’Brien inherited at Penn State and turned into a pro quarterback after one season, and Bridgewater compares closer to him terms of his weight.
Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) rushes with the ball during the second half of the Russell Athletic Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
I still like Bridgewater in the O’Brien offense. He played in a pro-style offense at Louisville, he’s won some of the biggest games in Louisville football history and I’m pretty sure he can gain some weight this offseason to be more prepared for the NFL game and pocket-style offense.
NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr., in his updated big board, has Bridgewater at No. 8 overall and Bortles at No. 9 on his ESPN Insider page.
Of Bridgewater, he says:
"“Bridgewater is poised and smart and is the QB most regularly making NFL throws with timing and anticipation in this class, throwing not just to players, but to spots. He has a good blend of arm strength to drive the ball into tight windows …”"
Of Bortles, Kiper says:
"“Bortles offers a good blend of the size traditionalists want at the QB position and the athleticism … He has sound mechanics, though almost rigidly so, and shows poise and good footwork in the pocket. He has above-average arm strength.”"
Manziel is his No. 12 overall rated player, saying:
"“Manziel is known as an improviser, but is also an effective pocket passer and sees the field well from there. He doesn’t have a special arm, but can make special throws because he has tremendous touch and the ability to deliver off-balance.”"
Being January, it is still a tough choice for the Texans and there is still a lot of evaluation to do, but as of this day, I’m still with Bridgewater as the Texans’ next QB.
I’m sure opinions will differ, but that’s what makes the draft a lot of fun. Who are you drafting if the draft was today?