The 2014 NFL Draft has the potential to produce several quality quarterbacks. Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater are all considered to be high first-round draft picks.
With the top pick on May 8, the Houston Texans might choose to take one of the aforementioned prospects. The team is in need of a quarterback, and could potentially find their starter for the next decade.
All three have a chance to have very successful NFL careers, despite the differences in their skill set.
The Texas A&M product isn’t a conventional NFL quarterback, but he’s got a lot of tools that can make him a success in the pros. Manziel showed off his speed at the Scouting Combine, posting an official time of 4.68 in the 40-yard dash. He was a winner in college, leading the Aggies to 20-6 record.
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While there are concerns that “Johnny Football” doesn’t have the size or arm strength to be a quality NFL quarterback, the 21-year-old is coming into the league at the right time. Signal callers like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and Cam Newton are excelling at a time when a premium is being placed on quarterbacks who can make plays out of the pocket. Manziel proved in college that he can throw on the run, and it’s a skill that should help him at the next level.
Of the quarterbacks with the potential to be taken first overall, Bortles was the only one to throw at the combine. He impressed scouts in the passing drills, displaying outstanding accuracy and arm strength. He’s not as agile as Manziel, but he can move well more a quarterback of his size.
Bortles, who is listed at 6'4 and 230 pounds, is a prototypical NFL quarterback. His skills translate to the pros, which could help him with teams that aren’t willing to take a risk on a player like Manziel. In addition to his skill set, he was a winner in college. Bortles became the starter on a UCF team that went 5-7 in the previous season. He led the Knights to 22 wins over the next two years, including victories over top-10 opponents Louisville and Baylor in 2013.
Scouts didn’t get a look at Bridgewater in Indianapolis since the 21-year-old declined to participate in any combine drills. Instead, he’ll perform at Louisville’s pro day on March 17.
In his final season with the Cardinals, Bridgewater was incredibly efficient, completing 71 percent of his passes. He only threw four interceptions, compared to his 31 touchdowns, and wasn’t limited to mostly short passes, averaging 9.3 yards per completion. The 21-year-old did so while playing in a pro-style offense. Some scouts feel he may be the most NFL-ready out of the three quarterbacks.