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2014 NFL Combine - Quarterback Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 15, 2014


Pre-Combine quick looks at the quarterbacks invited to Indy.

1. Blake Bortles, UCF 6-4, 228 (Jr.)
Draft Him: He has all the tools. It might take a little tweaking and a little tutoring, but the upside is enormous. If Houston wants to make the investment, he could be something truly special – he’s a franchise-maker.
Key To The Combine: There’s something a little bit Blaine Gabbert about him in terms of a top-shelf draft pick. Good arm, but not an elite one. He’ll kill it in the interviews, but doesn’t have a cannon. Should Go: First Round
Will Go: Top Five Overall

2. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville 6-2, 220 (Jr.)
Draft Him: Most of the tools are there to be a franchise quarterback. When he gets time to operate, he can make all the throws and be deadly accurate with an uncanny ability to put the ball in the right spot every time. A leader, he’ll make a huddle his right away.
Key To The Combine: Hand size. The scuttlebutt out there is that his hands are smaller than your sister’s, and that could turn out to be a deathblow on some draft boards when it comes to figuring out whether or not he’s a top ten overall pick.
Should Go: Mid-First Round
Will Go: Top Ten Overall

3. Zach Mettenberger, LSU 6-5, 242
Draft Him: This might be the call of the draft. No quarterback in this class has Mettenberger’s combination of size, arm and skills, but he’s not an athlete and he’s coming off a knee injury that might ultimately set him back for a full football season before he’s 100% right. While not quite a one-year wonder, he’s not far off – again, he’s a call.
Key To The Combine: The interview process. No one will question his arm, and his size is exactly what every NFL GM wants, but he has to show that he’s matured and can handle the adversity of pro life and everything that comes with it.
Should Go: First Round
Will Go: Third Round

4. Derek Carr, Fresno State 6-3, 215
Draft Him: Mature, ultra-productive and used to handling himself as the main man, he’s going to be a pro’s pro who’ll be able to handle anything thrown his way. He’s not the talent his brother, David, was, but with the right protection, he could be a more productive pro.
Key To The Combine: Arm strength. He won’t wow anyone with his arm like David did, but he needs to look the part by showing he can drive the ball well and consistently.
Should Go: Mid-to-Late First Round
Will Go: Top 15 Overall

5. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M 6-0, 200 (Jr.)
Draft Him: After growing into a stronger, better all-around passer, he showed he could sit in a pocket when needed and sling it. Of course, his worth will be as the ultimate baller and playmaker who can elevate a franchise with his magical abilities.
Key To The Combine: Everyone will focus on the interview process – he’ll be great. He’ll be undersized and his arm strength will be fine, but he has to make someone believe he’s worth the outside-the-box thinking for such a high pick. The concern is RG3 – Manziel might be The Next Big Thing for a year or so, but he’s not built to take an NFL hit.
Should Go: Second Round
Will Go: Top Five Overall

6. AJ McCarron, Alabama 6-3, 204
Draft Him: Watch McCarron turn into the safe pick everyone sort of wants to make. While he might not be a superstar who can elevate a franchise all by himself like a Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, he could be a very, very nice part of a puzzle on a team that has everything else in place. There’s upside – he could get better and better with time in the weight room and a little bit of tweaking of his mechanics.
Key To The Combine: It’s time to look like a quarterback and not Nick Saban’s guy who’s surrounded by five-star prospects. The more he can show off a deep arm, the better, or else he’ll get the Game Manager tag as a short-to-intermediate passer.
Should Go: Third Round
Will Go: Third Round

7. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois 6-2, 219
Draft Him: A veteran who can hit the ground running at the next level, he’s a good athlete who always produces when pressed into tough situations. NFL types keep waiting for him to slip, but even though he might not have prototype size and abilities, he always throws like he belongs.
Key To The Combine: The measureables are going to be the problem. Smallish hands and the lack of height and bulk are going to be a problem. Throw in the small-school stigma, and he’ll have to do something truly special to stand out.
Should Go: Fourth Round
Will Go: Third Round

8. David Fales, San Jose State 6-1, 220
Draft Him: Tremendously accurate, he might not have the size or the deep arm, but he can dink and dunk on anyone. While he won’t throw the ball through the wall, in the right system he could turn into the guy who comes off the bench and saves a season until the star quarterback returns healthy.
Key To The Combine: He has to somehow prove he’s more than a perfect backup. Smart and with a good makeup, he’d be great to keep as a reserve who can know the playbook and step in and shine on a moment’s notice.
Should Go: Fourth Round
Will Go: Fifth Round

9. Tajh Boyd, Clemson 6-1, 222
Draft Him: Ultra-productive with good timing and a nice enough deep arm to get by. When he gets a clean pocket and time to throw, he can sling it. When he’s on, he’s the ultimate front-runner who can get hot and stay there.
Key To The Combine: The measurements. Russell Wilson might have been a trailblazer, but Boyd doesn’t have the prototype height, and he’s not the leader Wilson is. He has to prove he’s more than a nice backup option.
Should Go: Fifth Round
Will Go: Fifth Round

10. Aaron Murray, Georgia 6-0, 201
Draft Him: Take away his top receivers, make him do everything by himself, throw him into any situation, and he’ll still produce. He handled himself well at the highest level of the SEC and put up record numbers. His worth goes beyond his tools.
Key To The Combine: The interview process will be fine, but he’ll have to show his knee is coming along to set himself up for his pro day. The problem will be in the measurables – he has to get scouts to dive into the tape.
Should Go: Fifth Round
Will Go: Fourh Round

Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois 6-0, 220
Draft Him: He’s not a quarterback. He could turn into a decent safety prospect, and he has the quickness to grow into a receiver/running back/special teamer in the right system. Fine, there are worse players to have on the roster as an emergency, desperation quarterback.
Key To The Combine: Athleticism. He doesn’t have the arm, and he’s never going to be anyone’s starting quarterback, so he needs to show that he has that little something extra to put him on a roster.
Should Go: Undrafted
Will Go: Undrafted

Jeff Mathews, Cornell 6-4, 225
Draft Him: A very big, very smart pure passer, he has a good, accurate arm with all the intriguing tools that could make him a wanted late-round pick. While he needs a ton of polish, the right quarterback coach might drool all over the possibilities.
Key To The Combine: Consistency. His mechanics are the question mark, and as long as he does everything right and shows a quick release, he could quickly rise up.
Should Go: Undrafted
Will Go: Undrafted

Stephen Morris, Miami 6-2, 208
Draft Him: There’s enough there to tease and tantalize, but he doesn’t appear able to put it all together. While he’s a bit thin, the tools don’t match the tape. He’s a great athlete, has a nice arm and he’s experienced, but he just didn’t produce on a consistent enough basis.
Key To The Combine: Light it up. He’s going to have to fight to be drafted, but he could be a mid-to-late round pick or he could be one of the hot undrafted free agents if he can show off special skills or look the part. At the very least, he needs to make the scouts want to go back to do some more work.
Should Go: Undrafted
Will Go: Undrafted

Tom Savage, Pittsburgh 6-4, 245
Draft Him: You can’t coach up size. He’ll look the part with the bulk and the big arm, and he’ll show off the tools and potential to get a longer look later. He could be a diamond-in-the-rough worth developing.
Key To The Combine: Get the scouts interested. He’ll be one of the bigger, stronger quarterbacks in the workouts, and he needs to stand out as a prospect worth developing over the next few years.
Should Go: Undrafted
Will Go: Sixth Round

Bryn Renner, North Carolina 6-2, 219
Draft Him: A much better prospect going into last year, he struggled too much and doesn’t look like much more than a career backup. He knows what he’s doing and he’s used to operating in a pro attack, but he’s not a creative playmaker.
Key To The Combine: He needs to get the ball out of his hands in a hurry. Showing good zip on his throws, and being as decisive as he can possibly look, is a must. This is where he has to show off his deep ball ability.
Should Go: Sixth Round
Will Go: Undrafted

Connor Shaw, South Carolina 6-0, 209
Draft Him: A pure baller, he handled the rigors of life under Steve Spurrier to carry the offense to another level. A good enough runner to get by, and with good enough passing skills to be okay, he can do just enough to hang on as a No. 3 option.
Key To The Combine: Mechanics. He’s too short, too slow and doesn’t have NFL skills, but he learned under Spurrier and needs to show that he could get on a pro field and handle himself well. He could parlay a good combine into a decent career as a backup.
Should Go: Undrafted
Will Go: Sixth Round

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech 6-6, 250
Draft Him: The tools and potential have always been there. He has the size, he has the running ability, and he has the arm, but he never put it all together. Can someone harness all of his skills and all of his upside? He’s a project.
Key To The Combine: Be open to change. He could make a whale of a tight end/H-Back, but he’s going to want to be a quarterback. That might be a tough sell unless he comes up with a whale of a workout.
Should Go: Sixth Round
Will Go: Undrafted

Dustin Vaughan, West Texas A&M 6-5, 232
Draft Him: With great size and a terrific arm, a good run in Indy would make everyone take a second look in the evaluation process. He’s way too raw and needs too much work to merit a pick anywhere before the fifth round, but he’s a power pitcher with rare upside.
Key To The Combine: Throw the ball through the wall. He needs to get the interest-level up across the board, and that will only come if he th rows the ball better than anyone else on a consistent basis
Should Go: Undrafted
Will Go: Undrafted

Keith Wenning, Ball State 6-2, 219
Draft Him: An interesting prospect, he’s a good pure passer who put up huge numbers in a long career. The raw tools aren’t there, but he looks good on film and can spread the ball around with good accuracy and poise.
Key To The Combine: Build on the momentum. The good offseason started out well with a good showing in the East-West Shrine practices, and if he can be close to flawless, he could become a hot free agent pickup who could hang around in a camp.
Should Go: Undrafted
Will Go: Undrafted