The most important position holds center stage in the 2014 NFL draft. Where do the top quarterbacks fit best?
Teddy Bridgewater – Best Fit: Minnesota Vikings
Norv Turner, the new offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings has done his best work when handling smart, mature quarterbacks. His greatest success stories include Troy Aikman and Philip Rivers, two ultra competitors who are considered consummate pros. Teddy Bridgewater is widely considered the most pro ready quarterback in the 2014 NFL draft. He’s smart, mature, mobile, makes good decisions and elevates his game under pressure. That is something Turner and the Vikings need desperately.
Blake Bortles – Best Fit: Houston Texans
Bill O’Brien has a long record of success dealing with quarterbacks all the way back to his early college days at Georgia Tech and Duke. He elevated Matt Cassel to Pro Bowl heights in 2008 and helped Tom Brady win MVP in 2010. Yet in all that success O’Brien has never had a quarterback as physically gifted as Blake Bortles. The UCF standout has it all: a good arm, intelligence, leadership, size, mobility and a rare calm under pressure. Given what O’Brien has accomplished before, getting Bortles for the Houston Texans makes a ton of sense.
Johnny Manziel – Best Fit: Jacksonville Jaguars
Gus Bradley is intent on creating the “Seahawks of the South” with the Jacksonville Jaguars. To that end he needs a quarterback. If he continues to follow the Seattle formula to the letter than he is almost certainly taking a hard look at Johnny Manziel. If any quarterback best exemplifies Russell Wilson, it is the Texas A&M product. Like the third-year pro Manziel is short of stature but highly mobile and very creative at making plays with his feet. He’s accurate and instinctive with his passes, always seemingly able to find receivers downfield. Bradley will also take notice of his leadership, something the Jaguars need desperately.
Derek Carr – Best Fit: Arizona Cardinals
It’s really difficult to find a precise landing spot for Derek Carr. There is no question he might be the most talented passer in the 2014 NFL draft from a pure arm strength point of view but teams remain skeptical of his lack of production against quality opponents at FresnoState. That is why he could go anywhere from the top 10 to the early second round. However, if there is one closet team that is a fit for him it’s the Arizona Cardinals. Bruce Arians needs a successor in place for the 34-year old Carson Palmer and the wily old coach has had his greatest success with tall, big-armed quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck. A talent like Carr could go far under his tutelage.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Best Fit: Cleveland Browns
By far the most intriguing small school prospect in the 2014 NFL draft. Jimmy Garoppolo dominated the FCS circuit for Eastern Illinois. He has the body for the pros, a strong arm, accurate passing and it’s all highlighted by his lightning quick release. Everyone can see the potential provided he lands in the right place. So why the Cleveland Browns? First and foremost they need a quarterback but more than that they need a guy with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. The team has a proven offensive coordinator in Kyle Shanahan who’s familiar with quarterback development and by all signs their offense should receive a considerable upgrade in this draft. Garoppolo has a small school complex. Where better place to make his name than in a big city with an inferiority complex?