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2014 NFL Draft Rankings and Scouting Reports: Quarterbacks

February 3rd, 2014 at 2:55 PM
By axr29

The NFL season is finally (and sadly) complete, so now it is officially time to discuss the offseason. Over the next few weeks, Giants 101 will provide draft rankings and scouting reports on all positions, not just the ones the New York Giants are looking to draft. The rankings are a combination of production, skill set, and potential at the NFL level. The first position we will take a look at is quarterback, a position that obviously isn't of need to the Giants. Teddy Bridgewater is at the top of the class, but some sleepers in this draft are Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois and Brett Smith out of Wyoming.

Teddy Bridgewater, JR, Louisville

  • Great blend of height, weight and elite speed for the position at the NFL level
  • Great poise at the line of scrimmage, and has great command over the offense
  • Stands in the pocket as long as necessary in the face of the pass rush
  • Excellent at using eyes to manipulate defenders and draw them away from the intended target on the play
  • Makes quick decisions and gets ball out quick once the open target is identified
  • Sometimes presses and tries to do too much, but knows when to throw the ball away
  • Miscommunication with WR’s on option routes has been an issue, but can be improved after working with NFL coaches and better talent at the wide receiver position
  • Average skills at anticipating when receiver will be open and throwing before receiver gets out of his break
  • Can miss some easy throws, but is skilled enough to drop the ball in over coverage on the deep pass
  • Strong arm, quick and high release, but batted balls at the line of scrimmage is a concern
  • Excellent arm strength when throwing on the run
  • Keeps eyes down field when stepping up in the pocket and avoiding the rush
  • Anticipates the blindside pressure well, but needs to improve on protecting himself when taking sacks and sliding/giving himself up

Blake Bortles, JR, UCF

  • Great height and size, with average speed at the NFL level
  • Doesn’t have the quickness to make plays in the running game like elite dual threat quarterbacks do, but capable of running some zone read plays
  • Throws well on the run, and has above average to great arm strength
  • UCF offense focused on quick passes and bubble screens, so did not have as many opportunities to throw the ball deep
  • Consistently places ball on the correct shoulder of the wide receiver
  • Mechanics and technique could use some work, as poor footwork affected some of his deep passes this year
  • Struggles under pressure and does not yet possess a strong pocket presence, doesn’t step into throws when under duress
  • Above struggles could be corrected through better footwork and mechanics, but it also may be mental
  • Looks to have been given control of the offense, but struggled against the few top defenses that he faced
  • Not an a elite prospect at the moment, but the ceiling is high if he lands in the right system
  • Don’t expect to succeed much in his first year, and should spend his first year as a backup and adjusting to a faster game

Johnny Manziel, SO, Texas A&M

  • Height is a concern, but has elite speed and athleticism at the NFL level
  • Elite runner for a quarterback but needs to stand in the pocket longer instead of bailing out so quickly
  • Thrives on the big stage, and shows great poise and leadership on the field; NCAA off the field issues don’t translate to concerns at the professional level
  • Whether or not he is coachable is a question mark; multiple instances where he ignored coach during timeouts
  • Poor footwork at times, and throws too many balls up for grabs that will translate to more turnovers at the NFL level
  • Late picking up the blitz at times
  • Average arm strength, but part of that could be a result of poor mechanics and footwork. Shows good arm strength when his mechanics, specifically his hips are sound
  • Has the ability to fit balls between defenders on most throws; throws well on the run even when throwing downfield
  • In the right offense he could be a very productive quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo, SR, Eastern Illinois

  • Average height, but potential top end speed for the quarterback position at the NFL level
  • Playing at a lower level is a small concern, but played well in the Senior Bowl; small sample size against top end talent but skills could translate to the NFL level
  • Moves defenders with eyes and pump fakes very well
  • Takes unnecessary risks at times, which could be an issue when facing elite talent
  • Throws receiver open and puts them into yard after the catch opportunities
  • Throws better to the right than to the left
  • Sound footwork puts him in good position to throw on almost all drop backs
  • Needs work on improving his weight transfer when throwing; which results in balls floating high
  • Steps up in pocket when pressured but needs to get a better feel for backside pressure that will come quicker at the NFL level
  • Looks to be the most technically sound quarterback in the Draft, but still has room for improvement
  • With the right development system, has the potential to be one of the better quarterbacks from this draft class

Derek Carr, SR, Fresno State

  • Average height, with above average speed for a quarterback at the NFL level
  • Needs to get stronger to last at the NFL level
  • Outstanding work ethic, which has helped mold his ability to control the line of scrimmage
  • Quick decision maker, but needs to make sounder decisions with the football
  • Throws the short and intermediate balls well, but a gunslinger when it comes to the deep ball
  • Struggles with elite defenses; USC confused and shut him down in the Bowl game
  • Inconsistent mechanics forces him to throw off his back foot too much, which he does not have the arm strength to get away with especially at the NFL level

Logan Thomas, SR, Virginia Tech

  • Excellent height, weight and speed for the NFL position; similar build to Daunte Culpepper but won’t run the 4.52 40 that Culpepper ran
  • Very sloppy footwork led to regression this year, also did not play with much elite talent on offense
  • Needs to improve on going through his progressions and not telegraphing his throws
  • Excellent arm strength, but doesn’t know when to reign it in on certain throws, especially underneath
  • Quick release for his height; makes up for wind up delivery with arm strength
  • Hard to bring down in the pass rush; arm strength allows him to throw well on the run without stepping into his throws
  • Needs to protect the ball better when rolling out of the pocket and scrambling
  • If he puts in the work and has the right developmental team he could become a productive quarterback in the NFL, but it could take a year or two.
  • Ceiling is high, but likely practice squad guy the first year

Brett Smith, JR, Wyoming

  • Doesn’t look as big on tape as he his listed; looks like he runs quicker than his listed 4.8
  • Seems to go through progressions amazingly fast
  • Quick release when throwing short to intermediate; resorts to a wind up when throwing the deep ball
  • Good accuracy on short passes; accuracy becomes poor on deep passes which negates his outstanding arm strength
  • Very good athlete that can take off and run; needs to pick his spots to run better
  • Often tries to do too much and be over aggressive leading to poor decisions
  • Quick feet and excellent footwork in the pocket; operated almost exclusively from the shotgun
  • With fine tuning of his throwing mechanics, which could help his deep ball accuracy, there is potential for Smith to be a productive NFL quarterback along the lines of Jake Plummer

A.J. McCarron, SR, Alabama

  • Good height, but too lean for his frame. Good speed for the quarterback position
  • Got rattled by the Oklahoma pass rush in the Sugar Bowl; made very poor decisions
  • Excellent on intermediate and short routes; arm strength is lacking on the deep throw
  • Good poise in the pocket; steps up to avoid pass rush
  • Resets feet quickly and is quick to get back into throwing position when avoiding the pass rush
  • Quick decision maker; doesn’t hold ball too long
  • Throws off his back foot too often
  • Benefited from playing with the best offensive line and running game in college football
  • Lack of arm strength will hurt him at the next level

Zach Mettenberger, SR, LSU

  • Great height, not great speed for the NFL level
  • Still needs to show better decision making
  • Being ready for start of camp may be a concern due to late ACL injury
  • Familiar with playing in an NFL style offense
  • Hold the ball too long; takes too long to recognize pressure leading to hits that could have been avoided
  • Outstanding arm strength; allows him to get good velocity on ball even when he can’t step up
  • Limited ceiling at the NFL level; Most likely a backup quarterback

Tajh Boyd, SR, Clemson

  • Height isn’t ideal, but has top end speed for the position
  • Did not play in a pro-style offense in college
  • Vision inside the pocket is suspect; checks down too quickly and doesn’t go through all progressions
  • Gun slinger who relies on his arm strength to overcome poor decisions
  • Throws well on the run/across his body
  • Inconsistent accuracy, leaving balls high
  • Adjusts release point well in the face of pressure, probably his best attribute
  • Very good but not elite arm strength; often fails to follow through
  • A lot of fine tuning needs to be done, but could be a solid quarterback eventually

Photo credit: KYNGPAO / Foter / CC BY

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Tags: A.J. McCarron, Blake Bortles, Brett Smith, Football, Jimmy Garoppolo, Johnny Manziel, Logan Thomas, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tajh Boyd, Teddy Bridgewater, Zach Mettenberger

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28 Responses to “2014 NFL Draft Rankings and Scouting Reports: Quarterbacks”

  1.  BigBlueGiant says:

    REPOST:

    rlhjr says:
    February 3, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Got two words for you BBG, “Lawrence” “Taylor”. And he did it during the season. Of course, Pugh is just a mere mortal. Whereas we’re all still trying to figure Taylor out.

    Let us know when Pugh comes to an offensive meeting with hand cuffs on and no key to speak of……………….LOL.

    Seriously, I hear you man, the dude needs to tighten up if that’s his act.
    Pretty sure this has not reached Reese, Coughlin or old man Mara yet.
    But it will and Pugh ought to have enough smarts to realize that.

    difference is, the time LT played the league looked the other way. Things have changed.

  2.  BigBlueGiant says:

    fanfor55years says:
    February 3, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    If Snee has a drug problem and is a “partier” then the Giants are really a pretty stupid franchise because they have a close relationship with the Syracuse program and should’ve known EVERY detail about their first-round pick before they made the selection.

    I’m skeptical about this information, but we’ll see.
    Reply

    —–

    I hear what you’re saying… but you’re wrong. I saw it first hand. I didn’t see him put anything up his nose pere, but other people did. I saw the afterfact of his jaw moving side to side, the sweats the constant drink ordering and the frequent trips to the bathroom.

    The kid was a mess, and people were talking about it. He was 100% on cocaine, and doing it in the bathroom. I have EYE WITNESSES who saw it first hand, AND people have said anytime he’s out, he’s like that.

    I’m just relaying what I saw first hand. he might be a good kid, but he was 100000000% doing drugs on friday night. Just sayin’

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      BTW, it was Pugh not Snee.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Yeah, I meant Pugh too. So if that’s true then Reese and Coughlin have a LOT to answer for, as do all their scouts. It isn’t like this kid came from some obscure program where the coaches dummy up when the NFL comes calling. They have a relationship with ‘Cuse and should have known everything about this kid.

        If this is true I would favor firing both of them tomorrow. Off-season or not, a cokehead is a cokehead and is headed for trouble.

        •  BigBlueGiant says:

          Maybe they don’t know about it? Maybe it’s something he does in the offseason when he isn’t tested? I don’t know him personally, all i’m reporting is what I saw first hand. It was really hard to miss. He was high as $hit.

          , i’d find it very hard to imagine that the other players didn’t take notice. But he was also away from the other guys. Didn’t really see him talking too any of the other guys. All the other players were just there having a good time, nothing out of control.

          But people were there and knew who Pugh was, was absolutely in shock that he was high like that in public.

      •  Krow says:

        Wish it was $nee.

  3.  BigBlueGiant says:

    Watching Blake Bortles play vs. Baylor, i thought he displayed EXCELLENT speed and it was way beyond average. Especially at the NFL level.

    Yes, he’s more a pocket passer, but from what i see, when push comes to shove, the kid can certainly gain the yds on the ground. Similar to the way Luck would do it.

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    rlhjr says:
    February 3, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    From what I can tell, Seattle runs combination coverage. You as an offense have the figure out which side of the field and when they will be in man, zone or combo. They are clever because sometimes you see one safety high.
    But they end up with two (deep) over. Pretty sure they run mostly man in the red zone.

    Also pretty sure when Chancellor light up Vernon Davis, Frisco’s chance to win that game was gone. No more lead in the pencil. Davis went into self-imposed exile after that shot.

    The Seahawk secondary is like a riled nest of hornets. And it’s there secondary that changes games for them. That and very good run defense.
    Reply

    fanfor55years says:
    February 3, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    This is correct. But their zone is also a different zone than ours. Different drops by the safeties and linebackers; corners forcing receivers into different passing lanes; allowing short crossing patterns but not allowing 10-12 yard easy completions, thus requiring receivers to take hits. There are a LOT of different zones. Saying theirs is the same as ours is like saying the Empire State Building and the Chysler Building are the same. They’re both tall, beautiful, buildings. They’re both icons. But they are radically different from each other and it’s all in the details.

  5.  fanfor55years says:

    Great piece by axr. More information than I knew by far about these guys. Thanks. A real service. I hope we see something about the positions of need for the Giants.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I mean scouting reports for college kids at those positions. I think we all know about the needs and where they are heaviest.

  6.  BigBlueGiant says:

    hearing rumors that the reskins are trading Kirk Cousins to the Browns for picks

    •  rlhjr says:

      I think Cousins will develop into a top NFL QB. Just my opinion. Also if Pugh is as BBG says he is (and I do not question what a man saw with his own eyes) the Giants are indeed in trouble. This kid needs help before he kills himself.

      Taylor performed on the field while light up on blow. I did not effect his play. Some say it even intensified his talents. I may be a different league in terms of drug testing.
      But I’m willing to bet there are still more than a handful of players still taking it up the nose and being referred to as “intense” players.

      Did you happen to notice if he drove or did he take advantage of the NFL duty driver?

  7.  GOAT56 says:

    F55 –

    My point wasn’t that their defense was the same as ours just that zone can work. Many criticisms about Fewell have centered about him playing zone. My point is that we are making it too complicated a pass rush with 4 men will create a quality defense. Seattle while they were excellent in coverage won because of their 4 man pass rush just like us under Fewell 2 years ago. Get back our pass rush and this defense can be really good in Fewell’s scheme.

    And yes Carroll’s does deserve credit for these mid to late round picks and college free agents. Of course he didn’t noe Sherman would be this good but he knew enough that the kid had the upside to be a starter. Those rounds are about seeing talent and he’s found it. I’m not saying these guys were looked upon as high picks and he laughed at everyone when he drafted them but he knew they could be good players. I gave the specific example of Smith because that’s a player he recruited and knew better than most. A third of their roster is undrafted free agents, that shows an eye for talent and the skill of promoting an atmosphere in which players know the best players will play. which is signified by starting Wilson as a rookie game one. I think you’re really underestimated what Carroll has done to create this roster. They just don’t have a bunch of top picks like SF, they really found player from all over. Browner they found in Canada.

    •  rlhjr says:

      Although I agree with much of what you said. However, your (seeming) defense of Fewell I will just have to pass on. Fewell knows nothing of attacking the offense.
      He does not even remotely attempt to play form a position strength, or dictate what an offense can or can not do. It is of course up to the talent he has on-hand.
      But even when he had talent, his frail style compromised his players too many times.

      Fewell plays it close to the vest and relies on a dominant front four. He has no blitz schemes for either the linebackers or the defensive backs. He is plain vanilla in a world of Neapolitan. He’s just lame and his players get abused because of it.
      Spagnolo was no Landry or Buddy Ryan, but he got his crew excited to play, and he utilized what each and every player did well. His troops were happy and energized.
      Fewell has none of that. And it shows. If not for Beason, there might not be a debate about what the Giants should do a pick 12. They would have been picking 5th.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        rlhjr – Seattle rarely blitzes as well. There zones are more aggressive than ours but they are working IMO due to pass rush as much as coverage which is due to superior players not scheme. I thought our coverage this year considering our lack of pass rush was very good. Not on a Seattle level but our biggest disconnect with them isn’t quality of scheme or coverage it’s pass rush. Look I like more aggressive defenses as a fan but they all don’t work. We have seen this scheme can work and it wasn’t our issue this year.

        Fewell is going to be here so to me we should focus on players that will make this scheme work even better next year. Really the key will be pass rush and even if Tuck ans Joseph return the most important player is JPP. Tuck can still be an effective pass rusher but I think only JPP and possibly Moore can be dominate pass rushers on a consistent basis. I don’t think we can expect Tuck to be as good if he returns so it’s up to JPP and to a lessor extent Moore to be much much better in 2014.

        Saying this and with Tucks comments, Tuck is no lock to return. And if Tuck doesn’t return I don’t think DE is out the question as an early pick. As I have mentioned before I’m keeping an eye on Kony Ealy because he was productive but projects as a better pro and our type of DE that we like. He seems like the type of guy that could test well and really move up in the draft.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Yes, they have been good at talent evaluation, but not all that much better than other quality organizations. Those later round draft picks are really impossible to truly know. I agree with you about the free agents (though I’d put Cruz and Hill up against any two elsewhere in the league….and I do NOT think Coughlin is a great talent evaluator so if I wouldn’t give him credit why would I give it to Carroll), but drafts past those first 3 1/2 rounds are very iffy and you need more luck than skill in regard to personnel at that point.

      Maybe I’m just reacting to my current disgust with everything I’m hearing about the Giants. I like the changes to the offensive coaches and that’s an excellent start. But these rumblings about Tuck really bother me. Unless he’s back at a VERY reasonable salary it’s ridiculous to pursue him when MOST of those good stats were gained in two games against a really lousy Skins offense. he was good this season. Above average. But not by all that much, and at his age a good contract is just not justifiable when he had two years before his contract year during which he just about disappeared. I will hold my feelings in suspension, but hearing about stuff like BBG reported on Pugh, and watching the Seahawks play an “aggressive zone” at times versus our passive garbage makes we want to puke. I’m looking toward 2015, assuming this next season is a “building” year, but if we don’t get the right pieces in place starting in the next few weeks then we’re looking at a very discouraging few years.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        I just think the skill is knowing who has a chance to be good in the later rounds. I think we have done a good job of that and Seattle has just done an outstanding job. Having players turn out great in those rounds is fortunate but IMO not having the quantity they have drafted that are NFL contributors.

        I think with Tuck like Osi these guys never got a chance to be free agents before. So while he wants to return, he also wants to see how much others value him. But I think looking at the DE class Tuck will not be highly valued enough for a big contract given his age. Someone might pay him more but I’m guessing our offer will be within reason.

        We don’t have to address our needs with free agency though OL wise it seems that would help. If we keep Beason, Joseph and Tuck we only have only minor needs at those positions. Add Andre Brown and a positive Wilson report and we have less concern at RB. If we are adding a center and guard we can get players who can start right away not in the first round.

  8.  GOAT56 says:

    I think Zach Mettenberger will be one of the best QBs in this class. He always had the talent but until this year he didn’t show much production. I thought this year he showed a ton of arm talent. I thought LSU didn’t pass the ball enough considering how good he and his WRs were. I love his arm strength and his decision making improved a ton from his junior. He’s kind of similar to Glennon last year but I think he’s more talented. He’s the type of guy a QB needy team should take a chance on after the first round.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I like this kid too, but we should worry more about other positions. last thing we’re doing is drafting a quarterback. We should hope, though, that a lot of the teams picking 1-11 get enamored of one of these guys. I see a lot of excellent talents dropping to #12 and a great chance to convert that pick into an offensive lineman in Round 1 and an extra pick in Round 2 or 3 that could be converted to a higher pick in Round 2 so we get two outstanding talents in May at positions of desperate need.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        This is just my feeling about this kid but in no way should we draft him.

        I have been saying we should trade down for the reasons you state. With so many underclassmen this draft is deep. And with underclassmen they are not scouted as well as seniors so there will be some very good talents in the 3rd and even 4th round that are 1st and 2nd round type talents.

        •  Krow says:

          It’s just hard to make these draft day trades. Teams don’t want to give up picks. So unless someone falls in love with a selection you’re not going to find a suitor. My money is on us selecting at #12.

          •  GOAT56 says:

            I think where we draft makes it easier. Almost a lock that someones top 5 player will be there at #12. Maybe it will be ours so we won’t trade the pick. But I think we will have chances if that’s what we are looking to do.

            I just think our chief need is the interior OL and addressing that at #12 there’s no draft value. Trading down allows us to address that need with likely the same player while getting another pick or 2 in the top 100.

  9.  Krow says:

    So Pugh is a cokehead, Wilson may never play again, and we’re going to throw money at Bear Pascoe. It’s been one hell of a week to be a Giants fan. I can hardly wait to see what sh1t sandwich Tuesday has in store for us.

  10.  JBeast3 says:

    I really really really hope Pugh was playing a huge prank cause if BBG is right we are in deep crap along the OL. If this is true could we trade him for a 2nd rounder? We really need to trade down if its a possibility and get an extra second or third. If we do trade down, would it be wrong to go OL, OL, OL in the 1st and 2nd?

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