With the beginning of training camps well underway and pre-season right around the corner the new class of leading actors will be placed under a microscope. With today’s NFL evolving from a running league to a more pass heavy shootout teams have to insure the guy under center can mesh well with the personnel in place and flourish giving the system they will need to master to see the field as a rook. Talent is only a snipet of what these young men may be asked of if they see the field. Some quarterbacks will need to rush the maturation process ala RG III and Andrew Luck style. Others will be given an understudy role where they can watch film, digest the playbook more in depth, and see different schemes in practice prior to kickoff like Aaron Rodgers did and Carson Palmer as a Bengal.
The quarterback position is the most glorified and with that these young lads have to be more than talented, they have to be mentally tough as well to block out outside interference’s. Going from king of the mountain to a small fish in a pond full of piranhas is another eye opener that these QBs will soon realize. Linebackers can now cover primary receivers and tight ends like safeties. Cornerbacks are able to gamble and read audibles, jump routes, disrupt the natural timing of a play to where you have to go through your progression from 1st option to second, third, or checkdown (Alex Smith) all while maintaining the same timing as if they were the primary option. On top of that you got to be protected and not got rattled prematurely by a mean rush. Being able stand strong in the pocket and let your playmakers go get it is the name of the game. The number of players in the past that have faltered immensely is somewhat shocking. Going from NCAA juggernaut to NFL whipping boy is a huge plummet indeed. Many have taking that plunge like Akili Smith, Tim Couch, Joey Harrington, Jamarcus “fuck a diet” Russell, Ryan Leaf, Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn, and David Carr to name a few notable busts at QB.
Here is the list of Quarterbacks drafted in 2014:
|Bortles, Blake||QB||6’5″||232||Central Florida||Pick 3, Round 1 (3)||Jaguars||6.2|
|Bridgewater, Teddy||QB||6’2″||214||Pick 32,(32)||6.1|
|Carr, Derek||6’2″||214||Pick 4,(36)||6.1|
|Manziel, Johnny||6’0″||207||Pick 22,(22)||6.1|
|Garoppolo, Jimmy||6’2″||226||Pick 30,(62)||5.8|
|McCarron, AJ||6’3″||220||Pick 24,(164)||5.7|
|Thomas, Logan||6’6″||248||Pick 20,(120)||5.4|
|Mettenberger, Zach||6’5″||224||Pick 2,(178)||5.3|
|Boyd, Tajh||6’1″||222||Pick 37,(213)||5.2|
|Savage, Tom||6’4″||228||Pick 35,(135)||5.2|
|Fales, David||6’2″||212||Pick 7,(183)||5.1|
|Wenning, Keith||6’3″||218||Pick 18,(194)||5.1|
|Murray, Aaron||6’1″||207||Pick 23,(163)||5.0|
The top quarterbacks of this class that are expected to contribute and start out the gate or get some burn at some point during the upcoming season is Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, and Johnny Manziel. I for one believe Blake Bortles can become a bigtime player. He has all the tools and under a whole new regime in Jacksonville looking to rebuild he will have chances to win football games as well as lose them. The biggest thing for any quarterback especially a rookie QB is a healthy running game. Toby Gerhart finally has a chance to step out of Adrian “The Mutant” Peterson’s shadow. So we shall see if he can help to provide Bortles with a good run game Blake will need to showout for his rookie campaign. Bortles has a big arm, is sneakily mobile, and stands tall in the pocket to deliver bombs. Bortles will be a perennial pro bowler and ease the city of Jacksonville out of the horrid Blame (Blaine) Gabbert era. The key for Blake will be feeling the rush and improving his footwork in the pocket to make the most of his stellar arm.
The Louisville stud will have a chance to fight for a starting job in Minnesota. Teddy Bridgewater goes into a great situation in Minnesota competing against Matt Cassel & Christian Ponder. Hence why they drafted him, and with Adrian Peterson in the backfield he will have linebackers and safeties stacking the box creating very favorable one on one matchups for Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Rudolph, and others to exploit. Training camp will be the stage for Bridgewater to win over his teammates and make some noise early. Although in Bridgewater’s case it wouldn’t hurt to sit for the first 8 weeks and then be injected into the fray. It can only benefit him. I fear a Geno Smith type of rookie performance all over again if he plays before he is ready. Granted Geno showed glimpses of brilliance so we will see what the former mountaineer can do for the Jets. As far as Teddy goes the sky is the limit and he can definitely remind Minnesota of a more seasoned version of Daunte Culpepper.
Johnny Manziel better known as Johnny Football will have to lay low with the off field antics is the groans you here from analysts. I personally disagree because the NFL and the Cleveland Browns in particular will make bank off of the former Heisman winners swagger. He isn’t your traditional QB for starters and then Manziel seems to have a knack for being in the tabloids. He may have to tone down the partying during the season, but the the Texas A&M standout at some point will have to see the field. Brian Hoyer coming off of a torn ACL is expected to start, but Manziel is still in the running for the starting gig. If things go south in Cleveland you can bet your Heisman trophy that “Manzielli” will get the nod. He brings a unique escape artist type of what will he do next aura to the QB position that fans clamor to see. The question for Manziel is can he hang in the pocket at 6’0″ tall and deliver passes on precise routes with players a lot quicker and stronger wanting to taunt his infamous show me the money pose. Sitting for a bit wouldn’t be bad for Manziel and Im sure Johnny Football will draw some type of buzz on the field or off it, thus keeping the Cleveland Browns relevant. The potential loss of Super Saiyan receiver Josh Gordon will be tough to overcome but Manziel’s patience will be tested given the talent at his disposal.
Other quarterbacks in the class of 2014 that may see the field or have some pro bowl potential in years to come are Derek Carr, Logan Thomas, Tahj Boyd, Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron, & Zach Mettenberger. Derek Carr isn’t really being talked about as much as he should granted he has his big bro David Carr to thank for that. David Carr was the 1st ever pick for a then expansion Houston Texans team. That situation might have been a fail for any QB given he was sacked 60 to 70 times in his rookie year in 2002. Now Derek has the chance to learn from his brother’s mistakes and fight for a chance to get some playing time over on again off again QB Matt Schaub. I naively have faith in Derek Carr as far as what my eyes have seen. Aaron Murray is an Alex Smith injury away from taking over the helm in KC. I like his awareness in the pocket and tireless work ethic. Can AJ McCarron break the trend of crappy Crimson Tide quarterbacks being drafted? Brodie Croyle, Greg McElroy, & John Parker Wilson to name a few. I personal believe the trend of hapless Bama QBs will continue. Bama’s offense doesn’t translate well to the typical NFL playbook. Although McCarron talks like he is ready to break the mold. Only time can follow this sink or swim path McCarron will architect. Preseason will be important for all the rookie quarterbacks to get comfortable with their offenses and move up the depth chart. – BoSo