Caplan’s Insider NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Here’s my first mock draft for 2013.

Feel free to tell me how you know your team won’t draft the player that I put down for them—I always enjoy those comments.

I’ll add detailed analysis and more possibilities (with possible trades) for each team in next week’s update.

1) Team: Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel/OT/Texas A&M

Needs: RT, ILB, OLB
2) Team: Jacksonville Jaguars: Shariff Floyd/DT/Florida

Needs: DE, CB, WR, G, OLB, SS, QB
3) Team: Oakland Raiders: Geno Smith/QB/West Virginia

Needs: DE, CB, QB, RT, G, OLB, DT, FS
4) Team: Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan/OLB/Oregon

Needs: G, DE, CB, S
5) Team: Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher/OT/Central Michigan

Needs: LT, DE, CB, WR, G, RT, SLB
6) Team: Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner/CB/Alabama

Needs: CB, ILB, WR, FS, OLB
7) Team: Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson/OT/Oklahoma

Needs:OLT, OLB, G, ILB, WR
8) Team: Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack/G/Alabama

Needs: G, OLB, WR, ILB, QB
9) Team: New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo/OLB/LSU

Needs: RB, OLB, G, QB, WR, FS, DE, CB
10) Team: Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei/DT/Utah

Needs: G, DE, DT, CB, SS
11) Team: San Diego Chargers: Xavier Rhodes/CB/Florida St.

Analysis:

Needs: LT, G, CB, DE, OLB, ILB
12) Team: Miami Dolphins: Ziggy Ansah/DE/BYU

Needs: OT, DE, CB
13) Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Datone Jones/DE/UCLA

Needs: CB, TE, DE, WR, DT, SLB
14) Team: Carolina Panthers: Tavon Austin/WR/West Virginia

Needs: CB, DT, WR, DE, SLB, FS
15) Team: New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones/OLB/Georgia

Needs: LT, OLB, WR, SS, DE
16) Team: St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper/G/North Carolina

Needs: FS, RB, WR, G, SLB, CB, DT
17) Team: Pittsburgh Steelers: Eddie Lacy/RB/Alabama

Needs: RB, WR, OLB, ILB, CB
18) Team: Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Vaccaro/S/Texas

Needs: G, S, DE, WR, DT, CB
19) Team: New York Giants: Bjoern Werner/DE/Florida St.

Needs: DE, MLB
20) Team: Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree/LB/Georgia

Needs: LB, CB, DE, WR, DT, G
21) Team: Cincinnati Bengals: D.J. Fluker/OT/Alabama

Needs: RT, RB, DE, SLB, MLB, CB, SS
22) Team: St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins): Eric Reid/S/LSU

Needs: FS, RB, WR, G, CB, DT, SLB
23) Team: Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson/WR/Tennessee

Needs: WR, MLB, CB, DT, DE, G
24) Team: Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore/OLB/Texas A&M

Needs: OLB, G, CB, WR, ILB
25) Team: Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle Seahawks): Desmond Trufant/CB/Washington

Needs: WR, MLB, CB, DT, DE, G
26) Team: Green Bay Packers: Matt Elam/S/Florida

Needs: RB, WR, OLB, S
27) Team: Houston Texans: Tyler Eifert/TE/Notre Dame

Needs: RT, WR, ILB, OLB, TE
28) Team: Denver Broncos: Sylvester Williams/DT/North Carolina

Needs: DE, DT, CB
29) Team: New England Patriots: Terrance Williams/WR/Baylor

Needs: WR, DE, CB, SS
30) Team: Atlanta Falcons: Jamar Taylor/CB/Boise St.

Needs: CB, DE, RT, TE
31) Team: San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Cyprien/S/Florida International

Needs: FS, NT, CB, DE, WR
32) Team: Baltimore Ravens: Robert Woods/WR/USC

Needs: WR, RT, ILB, SS, CB

Lance Zierlein

About Lance Zierlein

Lance Zierlein comes from a football family with a father who coached on the college and pro level for 32 years and a brother who played and coaches football. As a handicapper, fantasy football writer, radio host and NFL Draft expert, Zierlein has one of the most unique perspectives of anyone in the football business.

At the age of 24, Zierlein began his own handicapping service called Pigskin Sports and was a featured football analyst and handicapper in markets such as Houston, Miami, Michigan City, New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Zierlein was also weekly contributor on a nationally syndicated radio station over a two year span. Zierlein was invited to compete in the Stardust Handicapping Tournament in Las Vegas on two different occasions.

In 2001, Zierlein began a weekly football newsletter called “A View From the Sideline” that featured breakdowns of the biggest college and pro games each weekend, fantasy football advice and NFL draft information. Over the years, the number of subscribers to the newsletter grew from several hundred to several thousand and in 2002, Zierlein added John Harris as a senior college analyst for the newsletter. Harris and Zierlein’s 2010 draft edition of the newsletter was viewed by over 16,000 people including the scouting department of four NFL teams.

In 2005, Zierlein began writing a weekly fantasy football column for the Houston Chronicle and his “Z-Report” blog was added to the Houston Chronicle’s roster beginning in 2006 where it quickly became one of the most popular sports blogs on the newspaper’s website. The Z-Report has a strong lean towards Houston Texans football, fantasy football and the NFL Draft. Zierlein’s network of contacts helped him break the story on his Z-Report blog that Albert Haynesworth would be signing a record deal with the Washington Redskins.

While Zierlein has a background in handicapping, fantasy football and the NFL Draft, most people in Houston have known Zierlein since 1997 when he began co-hosting what has become the most popular and longest lasting sports talk show in the market. His morning show has been named “Best Sports Talk Show” three times by the Houston Press and has featured some of the biggest names in the game.

Zierlein’s commentary on radio as well as his writing on the Houston Chronicle and in the “View From the Sideline” newsletter has been featured on such prominent outlets as ProFootballTalk.com, Rotworld.com, TheRedZone.org, TheBigLead.com, ESPN.com, Orangebloods.com and The New York Times. Zierlein also finished in the top 20% of all national competitors in The Huddle Report’s 2010 Mock Draft and Top 100 Board contest.

The NFL Owner’s Manual on What Not to Do

There is no growth without a little confrontation, especially in the NFL.

Tension is good. Animosity is not just warranted; it’s usually a daily occurrence. The weight can crush a lot of people, but most high-level coaches thrive in this environment. It is high stakes poker with a football, helmets and millions — even billions — of dollars on the line.

In the last seven days we have seen Jim Harbaugh mutually part ways with San Francisco (aka: lose his job), and Chip Kelly become the most powerful man in the NFL not named Belichick.

Harbaugh’s 49ers beat Chip Kelly’s up-tempo Eagles earlier in the year. Harbaugh had his worst year as a pro coach (8-8) and only had two less wins than Kelly. Kelly has never won a playoff game; Harbaugh won five (three on the road). Harbaugh also has one more division title than the king of the no huddle. But still, Harbaugh was essentially shown the door. The irony is Harbaugh didn’t even want the personnel power Chip clearly coveted.

Making it Work

The reality with guys like Harbaugh and Kelly, regardless of their personalities, the owners job is to make sure it works. Your coach is the cash cow.

The major difference in Philly and SF was ownership. One values the head coach as the most valuable individual in the building (which he is), while the other thinks he can replace him like a backup offensive lineman. Let’s take a look at the two situations starting with Philly.

Philadelphia Eagles

Rumors had been flying in league circles for months that the Eagles were every bit as dysfunctional as the 49ers. It was a ticking time bomb, sure to blow up — except it never did. Ownership refused to let it happen.

Jeffrey Lurie‘s team was knocked out of the playoff picture by a division rival led by his former star WR that his coach had WANTED to cut. He didn’t tweet his embarrassment post game, mainly because he is not stupid enough to have a public twitter account. What can be gained from that as an owner? Simple answer – nothing.

What if he had tweeted, “Sorry Eagles fans! We should have done a lot better against Washington.” What does everyone in Philly say the next day? Is Lurie turning on Kelly? Did Lurie wish he still had Desean Jackson? Why even go down that road as owner? Instead, after the season when turmoil broke out in the building between his coach and general manager, it took him less than 48 hours to create and execute a solution. Was this an ideal scenario for Lurie? No, but that’s part of the job. He handled it like he knew what he was doing.

Lurie values a coach more than anyone else. Why? Because it’s the tried and true formula that works in the NFL.

He proved with Andy Reid, who lasted 14 years and was the most successful coach in the history of the franchise that he would stick through the good times and the bad. Like Harbaugh, Coach Reid never won the big one. But also like Harbaugh, he helped a franchise return to their winning ways, helped build a new stadium, made his team nationally relevant all while making his owner a stupid amount of cash. Business was good for everyone.

Reid didn’t talk to the media the day he was fired, but he did speak to the Eagles business employees with Lurie at his side in the cafeteria. There is a level of respect the Eagles’ owner commands through his actions; he doesn’t talk a big game, he just operates one. That’s why since firing Andy Reid, Lurie’s organization has had back-to-back winning seasons and hasn’t skipped a beat. Even when waters got a little rough, he quickly navigated them to quieter seas.

San Francisco

When Eddy Debartolo was forced to give the team to his sister, the York family steered the worst stretch of Niner football in their history owning the team. It wasn’t until her son Jed took over, promoted Trent Baalke and hired the coach from up the road that got them back on track.

Four years later, after two division titles, three NFC championships, a Super Bowl appearance and five playoffs wins – the 34-year-old owner could not get rid of Harbaugh fast enough. Most around the business knew for a long time that York and his right hand man President Paraag Marathe did not get along with Jim. Emotion overruled the bottom line — winning.

This started back in January 2014 when word around the league spread that Harbaugh could be had (traded for). That forced the Browns to make inquiries about a trade. (Anyone call the Seahawks or the Packers about trading for their coach lately? Probably not.) Rumors and leaks continued to undercut the coach — who, for all intents and purposes, is the voice of the organization — yet ownership did nothing to squash the flow of information. Many believe the leak to was the man who signs everyone’s checks, not a great look.

Resolve to Win

The 49er vibe is the opposite you get in Philly where the owner has coaches back 100 percent of the time. The coach is ultimately responsible for putting hundreds of millions in the owners pocket.

I thought the low point of the season was a tweet Jed York sent out Thanksgiving night saying the teams performance was unacceptable. Even a rival, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll came to Harbaugh’s defense. Carroll said his owner in Seattle would never do that. Once the firing (mutual separation) became inevitable after a loss to San Diego in the regular season, many assumed the team would quit on the coach.

They didn’t. They won the last week, gave Harbaugh the game ball and dumped Gatorade on him. Pretty typical when the players hate the coach.

The next day, York gave a press conference which did not go well. He came off as defensive, like he was talking down to his fan base, the essential part of the historic brand that Harbaugh helped to restore. He referenced Bill Walsh countless times, a man who was hired before Jed was even conceived. He acted like he had strong football philosophies that didn’t mesh with Harbaugh’s. He didn’t come off like a leader; more like a guy who did not belong in the seat.

Does York know something we don’t? Did he study under Parcells? Belichick? Hell even Eric Mangini? No. He worked on Wall St. before coming over to work for his parents.

On local radio the next day, it got worse. York was all emotion, coming off as Joe fanboy instead of the leader of the 49ers. While Jeffrey Lurie made swift decisions empowering the most important figure in any NFL organization, York complained to media members about his twitter mentions.

The head coach is not the most important guy in the building. The owner is. In Philadelphia the owner proved why coaches want to work for him, while in San Francisco, the owner gave his two cents on why 28 power may not be the right play for SF moving forward.

Who would you want to coach for?

A Metrics Study of 2014 Draft Prospects

My goal was to deviate from the traditional model of identifying talent for next year’s draft so I turned to STATS Sports Solutions Group GM, John Pollard to help with the data.

“We have the most comprehensive performance metric library for next years class, many of these players had significant playing time during the 2012 season”, said Pollard.  “We can help our team partners get a head start on their 2013 evaluations and performance benchmarks”.

With this database of information, I was able to avoid just looking at oft cited names within the draft community.  I combed through the statistics in the STATS ICE database and picked out players that had similar metrics to those who were drafted high this year. The result is some players that are already familiar names and others that are a bit unknown. It should be noted that not all of these players will succeed, but they have a higher likelihood to do so based on their past metrics.

QUARTERBACKS

  • Teddy Bridgewater – Much has been and will be written about Teddy Bridgewater, but I have to note that his metrics from the past season are extremely impressive. Most QBs in this class averaged about 50-60% completion rate in the intermediate zone of 6-15 yards. Bridgewater threw 71% in this zone and had a better deep completion percentage than any QB in this past draft class. When you break down his incompletions, he threw into coverage less than any QB in the past draft class and flat out missed his receivers less as well. Nearly all of his metrics are impressive, at some point I’ll examine them in detail.

WIDE RECEIVERS

  • Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma – Saunders is one of the more safe prospects statistically at this stage. Last season he only dropped 3.1% of the passes thrown to him, lower than nearly any top prospect in the past draft. He also gained 7.1 yards after the catch when Kenny Stills only averaged 3.1 yards after the catch in the same offense.
  • Tevin Reese, Baylor–Reese is well recognized as a top prospect and his yards after the catch certainly reflect that status as he gained roughly 9 yards after each catch (higher than Tavon Austin). However, he dropped 13.1% of his targets, higher than Justin Hunter who was widely panned for his inconsistent hands.
  • Brandin Cooks, Oregon State–While teammate Markus Wheaton had trouble gaining yards after the catch (3.9 yards), Cooks didn’t have the same dilemma averaging 8.1 yards after the catch. Cooks dropped only 4.2% of passes and had 12 plays over twenty yards.
  • Anthony McClung–McClung is more of a projection than anything. He had 539 yards in his junior season at Cincinnati. Excellent yards after the catch and only dropped two passes. With Kenbrell Thompkins and Travis Kelce graduating, McClung has a chance to emerge as a number one in the Cincinnati offense.

RUNNING BACKS

  • Tre Mason, Auburn–Graded out as the best running back  at gaining extra yardage among 53 RBs for this past draft and next year’s crop. He broke 13 tackles last year and 51% of his yardage was after contact. At 5’10” and 196. his size and statistics are really similar to Gio Bernard.
  • Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona–Already a widely acknowledged back – Carey generated 2.92 yards after contact per carry, higher than Eddie Lacy. Carey averaged nearly 5.8 yards in 3rd and short situations, meaning he moved the chains for Arizona when the opponents knew they were going to run the ball.
  • Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michigan–I’m not sure how Toussaint projects. On one hand his statistics indicate that he’s one of the most elusive backs in the draft. On the other hand, he seems like a boom or bust type player. Toussaint was stopped at the LOS on 29% of his runs (the average is about 12%). In 2011 he had 17 plays of more than 20 yards, but only 4 in 2012. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on him to see his progress in 2013.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN

  • Will Sutton, Arizona State–As a defensive tackle Sutton had a snaps per pressure rate of 6.6 last year. That’s roughly equal to how often noted pass rushers Jarvis Jones and Alex Okafor got to the quarterback. That type of SPP would have made Sutton the best pass rusher of the entire draft, despite playing at defensive tackle.
  • Morgan Breslin, USC–Similar to Sutton, Breslin would have had an SPP of 7.17 or roughly akin to Dion Jordan and Tank Carradine. He had 25 tackles near or behind the LOS (impact tackles), which is as high as any LB in this past draft.
  • Anthony Barr, UCLA–Barr had a great amount of pressures last year, now I don’t know how often he dropped into coverage so I won’t post his SPP. However, he had 26 tackles near or behind the LOS and 40 pressures, the ultimate combination of a non-pass rushing LB and a pure pass rusher. He had some troubles missing tackles, so that’ll be something to keep an eye on.
  • Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina: Snaps Per Pressure of 7.2 as a sophomore. Not much more needs to be said.

LINEBACKERS

  • Eddie Lackey, Baylor–Small at 6’0″, 220, so I’m not sure that he’ll ever be projected highly into the NFL. He still had a amazingly high amount of impact tackles (around 40). It’s hard to tell if that’s because he flows to the ball fast or no one else on the Baylor D is tackling. It could be a bit of both, but still he’s one to watch.
  • Chris Borland, Wisconsin–Again a superb amount of impact tackles. Ridiculously good in coverage. The average drop back linebacker gets beat around 55% of the time. The top tier CBs get beat around 42% of the time. Chris Borland was beat on only 32% of 25 targets and had 6 passes defensed.
  • Chris Young, Arizona State–A transfer from JUCO and played at 6’0″ 233 at a hybrid Safety/LB position they call the Spur at ASU. He had as many impact tackles as Alec Ogletree/ Kevin Minter with the coverage skills of an excellent safety (34.5% burn rate on 29 targets). It seems like he could bulk up and be a smaller LB like a Mychal Kendricks who flows to the ball really well, but has solid coverage skills. That type of player would be an asset to cover big TEs, but also stop the run.

CORNERBACKS

  • Antone Exum, Virginia Tech–Burn percentage of 36%, which would be better than any CB this year. Was targeted quite a bit, so his 20 passes defensed are nice but are a product of being targeted so much. In 2011, his burn percentage was 39%, so he’s been consistent over the past two years. If he can keep his burn percentage consistent over three years, he’ll have to be recognized as a top prospect.
  • Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State–Burn rate of 40.5%. He had 10 passes defensed and you would likely want to see some more ball skills, but Xavier Rhodes only had 10 as well.
  • Victor Hampton–Only a junior in 2013 at South Carolina, but had a burn percentage of 39% and 7 passes defensed. A 43% burn rate is the cut off for an elite corner, so if he can stay under 43% this year and improve his ball skills (both passes defensed and interceptions), he could come out early and make an impact.

SAFETIES

  • Jordan Richards, Stanford–Richards is an interesting prospect to look at. When you watch him, you see a thick safety built like Matt Elam. However, his statistics indicate a player who couldn’t be different than Elam. Richards had a burn rate of 36.2% or around what Mark Barron had coming out of Alabama. However, Richards missed 15 tackles last year and only made 5 tackles at the LOS. If his run stopping ability catches up to his coverage, he could be a top pick.
  • Erick Dargan, Oregon–A ballhawk in the true sense of the word, Dargan had 5 interceptions as just a Sophomore. On 18 targets, he defensed 7 passes which is a ratio of targets to passes defensed you rarely see. On top of that, his 18 targets on 300 pass snaps makes him one of the least targeted safeties in the NCAA.
  • Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern–2As a player at Northwestern, Campbell won’t receive much general acclaim, but he certainly deserves it. As a true freshman he was beat on 53% of his passes, which would put him in the middle of this safety class. As a sophomore he was beat on only 27.9% of 43 targets, one of the lowest in the NCAA on a significant number of targets. If he can keep that around 40%, he’ll be in Mark Barron/Harrison Smith territory. He’s a big hitter and a solid tackler. In two seasons he’s had 4 interceptions. I’m not sure if he’d leave early- typically Northwestern players stay all 4 years, but his metrics could put him in 1st round territory if he keeps it up.

From The Sideline View Scouting Department

sort icon Name Position Height Weight School
1 Johnny Manziel QB 6’1″ 200lbs. Texas A&M
2 Greg Robinson OT 6’5″ 320lbs. Auburn
3 Jadeveon Clowney DE 6’6″ 270lbs. South Carolina
4 Teddy Bridgewater QB 6’3″ 206lbs. Louisville
5 Sammy Watkins WR 6’1″ 200lbs. Clemson
6 Jake Matthews OT 6’5″ 305lbs. Texas A&M
7 Mike Evans WR 6’5″ 218lbs. Texas A&M
8 Anthony Barr OLB/DE 6’4″ 235lbs. UCLA
9 Khalil Mack OLB/DE 6’3″ 244lbs. Buffalo
10 Blake Bortles QB 6’3″ 227lbs. Central Florida
11 Taylor Lewan OT 6’8″ 315lbs. Michigan
12 Cyrus Kouandjio OT 6’6″ 311lbs. Alabama
13 CJ Mosley ILB/OLB 6’2″ 232lbs. Alabama
14 Darqueze Dennard CB 5’11” 197lbs. Michigan State
15 Kyle Van Noy OLB/DE 6’3 1/6″ 244lbs. Brigham Young
16 Ryan Shazier ILB/OLB 6’2″ 226lbs. Ohio State
17 Marqise Lee WR 6’0″ 195lbs. Southern California
18 Eric Ebron TE 6’4″ 245lbs. North Carolina
19 Dee Ford OLB/DE 6’2″ 246lbs. Auburn
20 Jace Amaro TE 6’5″ 257lbs. Texas Tech
21 Kony Ealy DE 6’5″ 275lbs. Missouri
22 Lamarcus Joyner S, CB 5’8″ 195lbs. Florida State
23 Derek Carr QB 6’2″ 215lbs. Fresno State
24 Christian Jones ILB/OLB 6’3 1/4″ 234lbs. Florida State
25 Trent Murphy OLB/DE 6’5 1/4″ 252lbs. Stanford
26 Justin Gilbert CB 6’0″ 200lbs. Oklahoma State
27 Calvin Pryor S 6’2″ 208lbs. Louisville
28 Kelvin Benjamin WR 6’5″ 234lbs. Florida State
29 Jason Verrett CB 5’10” 178lbs. Texas Christian
30 Louis Nix III DT 6’3″ 326lbs. Notre Dame
31 Jarvis Landry WR 6’0″ 195lbs. Louisiana State
32 Ha Ha Clinton Dix S 6’1″ 209lbs. Alabama
33 Bradley Roby CB 5’11” 193lbs. Ohio State
34 Timmy Jernigan DT 6’2″ 298lbs. Florida State
35 Davante Adams WR 6’2″ 200lbs. Fresno State
36 Jordan Matthews WR 6’2 1/2″ 209lbs. Vanderbilt
37 Allen Robinson WR 6’3″ 205lbs. Penn State
38 Antonio Richardson OT 6’6″ 332lbs. Tennessee
39 Ra’Shede Hageman DE, DT 6’6″ 318lbs. Minnesota
40 Odell Beckham Jr WR 6′ 193lbs. Louisiana State
41 Aaron Donald DE, DT 6’0 1/2″ 288lbs. Pittsburgh
42 Dominique Easley DE 6’2″ 280lbs. Florida
43 Xavier Su’a Filo G 6’3″ 304lbs. UCLA
44 Scott Crichton DE 6’3″ 260lbs. Oregon State
45 Trevor Reilly OLB/DE 6’5″ 255lbs. Utah
46 Zack Martin OT, G 6’4″ 305lbs. Notre Dame
47 Tre Mason RB 5’10” 205lbs. Auburn
48 Stephon Tuitt DE 6’6″ 318lbs. Notre Dame
49 Will Sutton DT 6’0 1/2″ 315lbs. Arizona State
50 Brandin Cooks WR 5’10” 180lbs. Oregon State
51 Brandon Thomas OT, G 6’3 1/3″ 316lbs. Clemson
52 AJ McCarron QB 6’4″ 210lbs. Alabama
53 Paul Richardson WR 6’1″ 176lbs. Colorado
54 David Yankey OT, G 6’5″ 301lbs. Stanford
55 Bishop Sankey RB 5’10” 200lbs. Washington
56 Gabe Jackson G 6’3 1/4″ 339lbs. Mississippi State
57 EJ Gaines CB 5’10” 195lbs. Missouri
58 Carl Bradford OLB/DE 6’1″ 241lbs. Arizona State
59 Shayne Skov ILB/OLB 6’2″ 245lbs. Stanford
60 James Hurst OT 6’7″ 290lbs. North Carolina
61 Cyril Richardson G 6’4 1/3″ 343lbs. Baylor
62 Anthony Steen G 6’2″ 310lbs. Alabama
63 Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE 6’6″ 276lbs. Washington
64 Lache Seastrunk RB 5’10” 205lbs. Baylor
65 Kelcy Quarles DT 6’4″ 298lbs. South Carolina
66 Jack Mewhort OT, G 6’5 1/2″ 306lbs. Ohio State
67 Chris Smith OLB/DE 6’1″ 266lbs. Arkansas
68 Ego Ferguson DT 6’3″ 309lbs. Louisiana State
69 Troy Niklas TE 6’5″ 270lbs. Notre Dame
70 Carlos Hyde RB 6’1″ 235lbs. Ohio State
71 Michael Sam OLB/DE 6’1 1/2″ 260lbs. Missouri
72 Zach Mettenberger QB 6’5″ 230lbs. Louisiana State
73 Donte Moncrief WR 6’3″ 228lbs. Mississippi
74 Chris Boyd WR 6’4″ 205lbs. Vanderbilt
75 Kyle Fuller CB 6’0″ 193lbs. Virginia Tech
76 Marcus Smith OLB/DE 6’3 1/3″ 258lbs. Louisville
77 Anthony Johnson DT 6’3″ 304lbs. Louisiana State
78 Jeremy Hill RB 6’2″ 235lbs. Louisiana State
79 Wesley Johnson OT, G, C 6’5 1/6″ 290lbs. Vanderbilt
80 Demarcus Lawrence OLB/DE 6’3″ 244lbs. Boise State
81 Louchiez Purifoy CB 6’0″ 190lbs. Florida
82 Jackson Jeffcoat DE 6’4″ 252lbs. Texas
83 Martavis Bryant WR 6’5″ 200lbs. Clemson
84 Charles Sims RB, WR 5’11 1/2″ 214lbs. West Virginia
85 Deone Bucannon S 6’0 1/2″ 216lbs. Washington State
86 Morgan Breslin OLB/DE 6’2″ 250lbs. Southern California
87 Antone Exum S, CB 5’11” 220lbs. Virginia Tech
88 Jeremiah Attaochu OLB/DE 6’3 1/8″ 252lbs. Georgia Tech
89 Jared Abbrederis WR 6’1″ 189lbs. Wisconsin
90 Andre Hal CB 5’11” 186lbs. Vanderbilt
91 Brett Smith QB 6’3″ 205lbs. Wyoming
92 Ka’Deem Carey RB 5’10” 196lbs. Arizona
93 Ryan Grant WR 6’0 1/6″ 197lbs. Tulane
94 Jimmie Ward S 5’10 1/4″ 191lbs. Northern Illinois
95 Ed Reynolds S 6’2″ 206lbs. Stanford
96 Marcus Roberson CB 6’0″ 195lbs. Florida
97 C.J Fiedorowicz TE 6’5 1/2″ 262lbs. Iowa
98 Cody Latimer WR 6’3″ 215lbs. Indiana
99 Telvin Smith OLB/DE 6’2 1/2″ 218lbs. Florida State
100 Jaylen Watkins S, CB 5’11 1/4″ 194lbs. Florida
101 Aaron Murray QB 6’0 1/4″ 201lbs. Georgia
102 Terrance West RB 5’11” 223lbs. Towson
103 Marcus Martin C 6’3″ 310lbs. Southern California
104 Jimmy Garoppolo QB 6’2 1/3″ 219lbs. Eastern Illinois
105 Kenny Ladler S 6’0″ 200lbs. Vanderbilt
106 Bruce Ellington WR 5’9″ 196lbs. South Carolina
107 Justin Britt OT 6’6″ 315lbs. Missouri
108 Aaron Colvin CB 5’11 1/4″ 186lbs. Oklahoma
109 DaQuan Jones DT 6’3 1/3″ 323lbs. Penn State
110 Dion Bailey ILB/OLB 6’0″ 210lbs. Southern California
111 Andre Williams RB 6′ 227lbs. Boston College
112 Chris Borland ILB/OLB 5’11 1/4″ 245lbs. Wisconsin
113 Devon Kennard DE 6’3″ 255lbs. Southern California
114 Victor Hampton CB 5’10 202lbs. South Carolina
115 Billy Turner OT 6’5″ 315lbs. North Dakota State
116 Storm Johnson RB 6’1″ 215lbs. Central Florida
117 Ryan Groy OT, G 6’5″ 318lbs. Wisconsin
118 De’Anthony Thomas RB 5’9″ 173lbs. Oregon
119 Taylor Hart DE, DT 6’6″ 292lbs. Oregon
120 Adrian Hubbard OLB/DE 6’5 7/12″ 255lbs. Alabama
121 Christian Kirksey ILB/OLB 6’1 1/2″ 234lbs. Iowa
122 Keith Wenning QB 6’3″ 220lbs. Ball State
123 Yawin Smallwood ILB/OLB 6’2″ 244lbs. Connecticut
124 Jordan Zumwalt ILB/OLB 6’4″ 231lbs. UCLA
125 Morgan Moses OT 6’6″ 325lbs. Virginia
126 Jordan Najvar TE 6’6″ 265lbs. Baylor
127 David Fales QB 6’1 1/4″ 220lbs. San Jose State
128 Travis Swanson C 6’5″ 310lbs. Arkansas
129 Craig Loston S 6’0 1/4″ 214lbs. Louisiana State
130 Kareem Martin DE 6’5 7/12″ 272lbs. North Carolina
131 Devonta Freeman RB 5’9″ 203lbs. Florida State
132 Cameron Fleming OT 6’6″ 314lbs. Stanford
133 Vinnie Sunseri S 6′ 210lbs. Alabama
134 Brent Urban DE 6’6 1/2″ 298lbs. Virginia
135 Seantrel Henderson OT 6’6 7/12″ 331lbs. Miami (FL)
136 Justin Ellis DT 6’2″ 342lbs. Louisiana Tech
137 Tevin Reese WR 5’10” 172lbs. Baylor
138 Ben Gardner DE 6’4″ 275lbs. Stanford
139 Willie Snead WR 5’11” 193lbs. Ball State
140 Arthur Lynch TE 6’4 1/3″ 258lbs. Georgia
141 Josh Huff WR 5’11” 201lbs. Oregon
142 Joel Bitonio OT, G 6’4″ 307lbs. Nevada
143 Isaiah Crowell RB 5’11” 210lbs. Alabama State
144 Weston Richburg C 6’3 1/3″ 300lbs. Colorado State
145 Marion Grice RB 6’0″ 204lbs. Arizona State
146 Tyler Larsen C 6’3 1/3″ 314lbs. Utah State
147 Pierre Desir CB 6’1″ 195lbs. Lindenwood
148 Ronald Powell OLB/DE 6’4″ 248lbs. Florida
149 Jordan Tripp ILB/OLB 6’2 1/2″ 237lbs. Montana
150 Terrence Brooks S 5’11” 197lbs. Florida State
151 Tre Boston S 6’0″ 205lbs. North Carolina
152 Ross Cockrell CB 6’0″ 182lbs. Duke
153 Trai Turner G 6’3″ 316lbs. Louisiana State
154 Keith McGill S, CB 6’3″ 214lbs. Utah
155 Kadeem Edwards G 6’4″ 309lbs. Tennessee State
156 Daniel McCullers DT 6’6 7/12″ 348lbs. Tennessee
157 Ed Stinson DE 6’3″ 292lbs. Alabama
158 Max Bullough ILB/OLB 6’3″ 252lbs. Michigan State
159 Kevin Norwood WR 6’2″ 197lbs. Alabama
160 Jay Bromley DT 6’4″ 285lbs. Syracuse
161 Kain Colter WR 6’0″ 195lbs. Northwestern
162 Logan Thomas QB 6’5 1/2″ 250lbs. Virginia Tech
163 Robert Herron WR 5’10” 187lbs. Wyoming
164 Ahmad Dixon S 5’11 1/3″ 205lbs. Baylor
165 TJ Jones WR 6′ 195lbs. Notre Dame
166 Chaz Sutton DE 6’5″ 263lbs. South Carolina
167 Anthony Hitchens ILB/OLB 6’1″ 233lbs. Iowa
168 Kevin Danser G 6’6″ 301lbs. Stanford
169 Mike Davis WR 6’0 1/6″ 193lbs. Texas
170 Tim Cornett RB 6′ 210lbs. Nevada-Las Vegas
171 Dontae Johnson S, CB 6’2″ 199lbs. North Carolina State
172 Shaquelle Evans WR 6’0 1/2″ 210lbs. UCLA
173 Marcus Williams CB 5’11” 192lbs. North Dakota State
174 Jeff Mathews QB 6’4″ 229lbs. Cornell
175 Stephen Morris QB 6’1 1/2″ 208lbs. Miami (FL)
176 Marqueston Huff S, CB 5’11” 198lbs. Wyoming
177 Walt Aikens CB 6’0 1/2″ 205lbs.
178 Xzavier Dickson OLB/DE 6’3″ 265lbs. Alabama
179 Rashaad Reynolds CB 5’10” 195lbs. Oregon State
180 Jeoffrey Pagan DT 6’4″ 290lbs. Alabama
181 Dri Archer RB, WR 5’8″ 178lbs. Kent State
182 Ryan Carrethers DT 6’2″ 330lbs. Arkansas State
183 Hakeem Smith S 6’1″ 190lbs. Louisville
184 Phillip Gaines CB 5’9″ 185lbs. Rice
185 Bryan Stork C 6’3 1/3″ 306lbs. Florida State
186 Brandon Linder G 6’5 1/4″ 316lbs. Miami (FL)
187 Aaron Lynch DE 6’5″ 248lbs. South Florida
188 James Gayle DE 6’3 1/2″ 255lbs. Virginia Tech
189 Marcel Jensen TE 6’6″ 270lbs. Fresno State
190 Deion Belue CB 5’11” 183lbs. Alabama
191 Denicos Allen ILB/OLB 5’11” 218lbs. Michigan State
192 Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB 6’2 1/4″ 215lbs. Nebraska
193 Antonio Andrews RB 5’10” 225lbs. Western Kentucky
194 James Wilder RB 6’2″ 233lbs. Florida State
195 Chris Davis S, CB 5’9 1/2″ 201lbs. Auburn
196 Ja’Wuan James OT 6’6″ 315lbs. Tennessee
197 Trey Burton RB 6’3″ 223lbs. Florida
198 A.C. Leonard TE 6’4″ 245lbs. Tennessee State
199 Eric Ward WR 5’11” 206lbs. Texas Tech
200 Spencer Long G 6’4″ 305lbs. Nebraska
201 Josh Stewart WR 5’10” 178lbs. Oklahoma State
202 Richard Rodgers WR, TE 6’4 275lbs. California
203 Michael Schofield OT 6’6 1/2″ 303lbs. Michigan
204 Russell Bodine C 6’4″ 310lbs. North Carolina
205 Lamin Barrow ILB/OLB 6’1 1/6″ 229lbs. Louisiana State
206 George Uko DE 6’3″ 275lbs. Southern California
207 Jeremy Gallon WR 5’8″ 184lbs. Michigan
208 Calvin Barnett DT 6’2″ 300lbs. Oklahoma State
209 Cody Hoffman WR 6’3 7/12″ 218lbs. Brigham Young
210 Trey Hopkins G 6’4″ 300lbs. Texas
211 Jalen Saunders WR 5’8 1/2″ 164lbs. Oklahoma
212 Kapri Bibbs RB 5’11” 203lbs. Colorado State
213 Steven Nelson CB 5’11” 192lbs. Oregon State
214 Silas Redd RB 5’10” 200lbs. Southern California
215 Bene Benwikere CB 5’11” 192lbs. San Jose State
216 Prince Shembo OLB/DE 6’2″ 250lbs. Notre Dame
217 Isaiah Lewis S 5’10” 205lbs. Michigan State
218 Brandon Coleman WR 6’6″ 217lbs. Rutgers
219 Jerick McKinnon RB 5’9″ 209lbs. Georgia Southern
220 Xavier Grimble TE 6’5″ 250lbs. Southern California
221 L’Damian Washington WR 6’4″ 205lbs. Missouri
222 Will Clarke DE 6’7″ 273lbs. West Virginia
223 Lorenzo Taliaferro RB 6’0 1/4″ 231lbs. Coastal Carolina
224 Alden Darby S 5’11” 192lbs. Arizona State
225 LaDarius Perkins RB 5’10” 195lbs. Mississippi State
226 Bashaud Breeland CB 6′ 185lbs. Clemson
227 Corey “Philly” Brown WR 6′ 190lbs. Ohio State
228 Deandre Coleman DT 6’5″ 315lbs. California
229 Matt Hazel WR 6’3″ 190lbs. Coastal Carolina
230 Devin Street WR 6’4″ 190lbs. Pittsburgh
231 Jonathan Dowling S 6’3″ 198lbs. Western Kentucky
232 Bennett Jackson CB 6’0″ 185lbs. Notre Dame
233 Shamar Stephen DT 6’4 1/2″ 308lbs. Connecticut
234 Lavelle Westbrooks S, CB 5’11 1/4″ 195lbs. Georgia Southern
235 Michael Campanaro WR 5’9 1/4″ 191lbs. Wake Forest
236 Ricardo Allen CB 5’9″ 186lbs. Purdue
237 James White RB 5’9″ 206lbs. Wisconsin
238 Sean Parker S 5’10” 195lbs. Washington
239 Denico Autry DE 6’6″ 265lbs. Mississippi State
240 Terrance Mitchell S 6′ 189lbs. Oregon
241 Carrington Byndom CB 6’0″ 180lbs. Texas
242 Jonathan Brown ILB/OLB 6’0 1/3″ 224lbs. Illinois
243 James Sims RB 6’0″ 202lbs. Kansas
244 Charles Leno OT 6’4″ 295lbs. Boise State
245 Noel Grigsby WR 5’11” 175lbs. San Jose State
246 Jemea Thomas S, CB 5’9 1/3″ 190lbs. Georgia Tech
247 Connor Shaw QB 6’1″ 209lbs. South Carolina
248 Henry Josey RB 5’10” 190lbs. Missouri
249 Xavius Boyd ILB/OLB 6’2″ 243lbs. Western Kentucky
250 Derrick Hopkins DT 6′ 311lbs. Virginia Tech
251 David Fluellen RB 5’11 1/6″ 226lbs. Toledo
252 Chris Burnette G 6’2″ 322lbs. Georgia
253 Keith Price QB 6’1″ 202lbs. Washington
254 I.K Enemkpali OLB/DE 6’1″ 260lbs. Louisiana Tech
255 Gator Hoskins TE 6’1″ 244lbs. Marshall
256 Khalil Wilkes C 6’3″ 288lbs. Stanford
257 Branden Oliver RB 5’9″ 209lbs. Buffalo
258 Jay Prosch FB 6’0 1/2″ 256lbs. Auburn
259 Solomon Patton WR 5’8 1/3″ 179lbs. Florida
260 Caraun Reid DT 6’2″ 301lbs. Princeton
261 Jacob Pedersen TE 6’3″ 242lbs. Wisconsin
262 John Urschel G 6’4″ 301lbs. Penn State
263 Crockett Gilmore TE 6’5″ 255lbs. Colorado State
264 Cassius Marsh DE 6’4″ 262lbs. UCLA
265 Jon Halapio G 6’3 1/3″ 320lbs. Florida
266 Chris Watt G 6’3″ 321lbs. Notre Dame
267 Andrew Jackson ILB/OLB 6’1″ 257lbs. Western Kentucky
268 Tyler Gaffney RB 6’1″ 226lbs. Stanford
269 JC Copeland FB 6’1″ 270lbs. Louisiana State
270 Jerome Smith RB 6′ 226lbs. Syracuse
271 Jack Tyler ILB/OLB 6’1″ 230lbs. Virginia Tech
272 Kenny Guiton QB 6’3″ 208lbs. Ohio State
273 Gabe Ikard G, C 6’3 1/3″ 302lbs. Oklahoma
274 Jake Murphy TE 6’4″ 252lbs. Utah
275 C.J Barnett S 6’1″ 204lbs. Ohio State
276 Walker May OLB/DE 6’5″ 250lbs. Vanderbilt
277 Corey Nelson OLB/DE 6’1″ 215lbs. Oklahoma
278 Jon Harrison C 6’4″ 299lbs. Florida
279 Trey Millard RB, FB 6’2″ 259lbs. Oklahoma
280 Evan Finkenberg OT, G 6’4″ 293lbs. Arizona State
281 Adam Muema RB 5’10” 205lbs. San Diego State
282 Bryn Renner QB 6’3″ 225lbs. North Carolina
283 Shaun Lewis OLB/DE 5’11” 225lbs. Oklahoma State
284 Parker Graham OT 6’7″ 315lbs. Oklahoma State
285 Raijon Neal RB 5’11” 212lbs. Tennessee
286 Chris Coyle TE 6’3″ 240lbs. Arizona State
287 Dez Southward S, CB 6′ 206lbs. Wisconsin
288 Josh Mauro DE 6’6″ 288lbs. Stanford
289 Shamiel Gary S 6′ 210lbs. Oklahoma State
290 Beau Allen DT 6’3″ 325lbs. Wisconsin
291 Kasey Carrier RB 5’9″ 185lbs. New Mexico
292 Cornelius Lucas OT 6’9″ 328lbs. Kansas State
293 Ben Malena RB 5’9″ 195lbs. Texas A&M
294 Derrell Johnson OLB/DE 6’2″ 264lbs. East Carolina
295 Alex Amidon WR 6′ 182lbs. Boston College
296 Zach Orr ILB/OLB 6’1″ 240lbs. North Texas
297 Nevin Lawson CB 5’9 1/2″ 184lbs. Utah State
298 Rod McDowell RB 5’10” 200lbs. Clemson
299 Kenny Shaw WR 6′ 170lbs. Florida State
300 Jeremy Johnson WR 6′ 180lbs. Southern Methodist
301 Allen Hurns WR 6’3″ 195lbs. Miami (FL)
302 Ryan Hewitt FB, TE 6’4″ 246lbs. Stanford
303 Keith Smith ILB/OLB 6’1″ 229lbs. San Jose State
304 Garrison Smith DT 6’3″ 299lbs. Georgia
305 Ty Zimmerman S 6’1″ 203lbs. Kansas State
306 Nikita Whitlock OLB/DE 5’11” 250lbs. Wake Forest
307 Kerry Hyder DE 6’2″ 280lbs. Texas Tech
308 Dayonne Nunley CB 5’8″ 184lbs. Miami (OH)
309 Brelan Chancellor WR 5’9″ 186lbs. North Texas
310 Khairi Fortt ILB/OLB 6’2″ 240lbs. California
311 Tim Flanders RB 5’9″ 210lbs. Sam Houston State
312 Orleans Darkwa RB 6′ 210lbs. Tulane
313 Jordan Lynch QB 6′ 216lbs. Northern Illinois
314 Kevin Pierre-Louis ILB/OLB 6’1″ 228lbs. Boston College
315 Caleb Lavey ILB/OLB 6’3″ 235lbs. Oklahoma State
316 Cam Brate TE 6’5″ 245lbs. Harvard
317 Dustin Vaughan QB 6’5″ 220lbs. West Texas A&M
318 Charles Ross RB 6’1″ 235lbs. Rice
319 Casey Pachall QB 6’5″ 230lbs. Texas Christian
320 Terrance Lloyd OLB/DE 6’3″ 245lbs. Baylor
321 Nickoe Whitley S 6’1″ 205lbs. Mississippi State
322 Darryl Cato-Bishop DE 6’3″ 266lbs. North Carolina State
323 Brendan Bigelow RB 5’10” 180lbs. California
324 Ryne Giddins OLB/DE 6’3″ 253lbs. South Florida
325 Will Smith ILB/OLB 6’3″ 220lbs. Texas Tech
326 Alfred Blue RB 6’2″ 220lbs. Louisiana State
327 Jalston Fowler FB 6’1″ 250lbs. Alabama
328 Damien Williams RB 5’11” 214lbs. Oklahoma
329 David Parry DT 6’2″ 303lbs. Stanford
330 Vintavious Cooper RB 5’9″ 200lbs. East Carolina
331 Colt Lyerla TE 6’5″ 238lbs. Oregon
332 Corey Linsley C 6’3″ 297lbs. Ohio State
333 Boseko Lokombo ILB/OLB 6’3″ 233lbs. Oregon
334 Chandler Jones WR 5’11” 174lbs. San Jose State
335 Jeff Janis WR 6’2 1/6″ 212lbs. Saginaw Valley State
336 Andrew Norwell OT, G 6’6″ 316lbs. Ohio State
337 Jeremiah Sirles OT 6’6″ 310lbs. Nebraska
338 Viliami Moala DT 6’2″ 340lbs. California
339 George Atkinson III RB 6’1″ 220lbs. Notre Dame
340 Kameron Jackson CB 5’9″ 175lbs. California
341 Pierre Warren S 6’2″ 200lbs. Jacksonville State
342 Darrin Reaves RB 5’10” 210lbs. Alabama-Birmingham
343 Austin Franklin WR 6′ 184lbs. New Mexico State

The Scouting Trail: 2015 NFL Draft insights on Gurley, Cooper

Melvin Gordon has made everyone in the scouting business takes notice. He has had a monster season, putting up video game numbers on a weekly basis.

Duke Johnson’s speed and explosion will make many teams fall in love.

Montgomery looks more like an NFL wide receiver than quarterback. Look for this player to rise after the season.

RBs

Todd Gurley

Georgia

Despite the ACL tear, I am told to not expect the Georgia RB to fall out of the first round. He’s an elite running back prospect, and the NFL people I have talked with don’t think the ACL is a big deal. He would have gone in the Top 15 pre-tear, and he should be ready by late-August, early-September. Not only is he a dominate RB, his return skills separate him from the pack. Could be a big-time value pick for a team at the end of round one like Denver or New England.

Melvin Gordon

Wisconsin

A player who has made everyone in the scouting business takes notice. He has had a monster season, putting up video game numbers on a weekly basis. Some scouts I have talked with think he could sneak into round one but feel he has solidified himself as a high second round pick. Gordon can really make a lot of money with a monster combine/pro day performance.

Duke Johnson

Miami

Another game changer who has solidified himself as arguably the second best RB in the country. He can absolutely fly and should dazzle scouts in the offseason workout circuit. He has also shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield this season, and it should only increase his value as the process plays out. His speed and explosion will make many teams fall in love.

Davonte Booker

Utah

Junior college transfer who is in his first year of Division-1 ball. A sleeper to start the year, but everyone out west knows exactly who he is now. He has excellent feet & catches the ball out of the backfield very well. Scouts expect him to declare and I know some who have late 3rd round grades on him. I’m told his body’s a little underdeveloped, but a player with a lot of room for growth because his limited experience. Teams will do their homework on this back and Booker is name we should get used to hearing during the draft process.

WRs

Amari Cooper

Alabama

Not everyone I have talked believes he is the no brainer first WR off the board. Some scouts I know believe West Virginia Kevin White might be the best WR prospect in the country. Most people I talk with liked last years top guys ( Sammy Watkins and Odell Beckham Jr) more as a prospects. His 40 time will obviously be big. His tape speaks for itself, but he doesn’t return and his body type/frame will be important when picked apart. Media may like this guy more than the NFL right now. Top 15 pick, just not sure about top 5.

Ty Montgomery

Stanford

A player who struggled with consistency, some bad drops and just up-and-down play. His QB play has been hit or miss, but his head coach absolutely loves him. He’s a very physical WR who can make a lot of money when he goes to the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. His return ability will only increase his value. When GMs and coaches get to look at his body, they will be very excited; he looks like an NFL WR. Look for this player to rise after the season.

Jaelen Strong

Arizona State

Scouts are buzzing over this player. Strong is a big outside WR, who can make tough catches, and projects to be an excellent red zone target at the next level. He has first round tape, but some question his top end speed. His 40 time will go a long way to determine his draft status. Most I have talked with expect him to run in the mid 4.5s. If he could run 4.4s – he could hear his name called on day one.

Kaepernick vs Carr

I reached out to several NFL execs and multiple QB coaches asking them what Bay Area QB they would rather have moving forward. The answers were a unanimous (5-0) for Carr. It seems crazy because Kaepernick has won big games (4-2 in the playoffs) and has all the physical attributes you could want. But the consistent sentiment was he may just be what he is and some of his fundamental flaws will not change (accuracy/touch) over time. Kaps frenetic play is just something his coach and skill guys will have to learn to live with, it may not be something that changed.  He will always be a guy that forces you to live with the bad because the good is so special. Carrs pocket presence and natural development over the ‘14 season has caught the eye of many around the NFL. His arm strength was never the question and he has quieted the “he may not be tough enough” crowd quickly. Everyone I spoke with was very bullish on his potential and what he will become once Oakland surrounds him with talent. Carr has definitely made the scouting/coaching community take notice early in his career.

Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo Rates Every Quarterback from the 2013 NFL Season

Editor’s Note: Former Chicago Bears GM (2001-2012) Jerry Angelo rates every quarterback from the 2013 NFL season on his nine-point scale. Angelo’s notes are included.

9.0-8.5

The upper class quarterbacks. They can elevate the play of their team. Has an extraordinary make-up physically and has intangibles. An elite player.
9.0 Peyton Manning He is definitely in a class by himself in my eyes.  I think he sees the game so much better than any quarterback I have ever seen.  The stats, NFL records, speak for themselves.  He needs a Super Bowl this year to go down as the best ever, in my eyes.
8.9 Tom Brady Having one of his finest years, because of what he’s had to overcome to lead his team to another extraordinary season. When they talk about Manning, they always use Brady as a comparison.
8.8 Aaron Rodgers A gifted arm with crossbow accuracy. He can maneuver and find a down field target as good as any. His late-in-the-game heroics are well documented. You may sack him, but can’t stop him.
8.7 Cam Newton A special talent with flaws. He took a good team and had them playing consistently well. They didn’t back into being divisional champs, they took it and he lead the charge. Needs to continue to grow his football IQ. More work in the classroom is the key to his continued development.
8.7 Drew Brees He plays as fast as any QB in football and has too given his height. He can see around a defense and throw over it as good as any in his mold. He struggled more than any other elite QB on the road. Comfort level has more to do with his performance, than supporting cast.
8.6 Philip Rivers For the first time in his career he played beyond the sum of his parts. He was a driven leader who got results in big games. His play was special and his team over achieved, because of it.
8.5 Andrew Luck If you’re in a ‘pick-up’ game, you’re picking him first. He plays with reckless abandon. He’ll have some ‘bonehead’ plays, but so did Favre. After watching him in the playoffs this year, he made some terrible decisions that led to turnovers. Yes, he responded well to those turnovers, but he put his team in major holes through turning over the football. He’s fearless and as he matures his game will improve. The only thing he’s missing is a championship ring.

8.4-8.0

Played at a high level. Was one of the reasons – but not the reason – for his team’s success… not elite.
8.4 Ben Roethlisberger Still has the power in his arm and the ‘hang in’ toughness to move an offense.
8.4 Russell Wilson He has all the savvy you want for the position. His size and arm talent limit him. You can win with him, because he follows the script and can make plays down field. He keeps defenses honest with his play making ability. A great leader.
8.4 Colin Kaepernick A great talent. Though he has the size and arm strength he’s not a comfortable as a pocket passer. His vision is tunneled and relies more on his athleticism, than his reads to make plays when things start to unravel. When his instincts kick in he can take over a game.
8.3 Alex Smith Has a high IQ in the classroom and on the field. He’s mobile and tough. He’s not as good as Rich Gannon, but like him. He consistently maximizes on the extent of his abilities.
8.0 Nick Foles Put up top numbers and achieved the best QB rating in football. Once they made the change to him, they won. He knows how to protect the ball and get them in the end zone. Oakland got a dose of how good he is doing it.

7.9-7.5

Talented, has good history of play, but had a subpar year. Lack of durability, deficiency in an intangible area, poor cast around him or coaching. Any of these reasons may have kept him from playing to his potential. May be a descending player.
7.9 Matt Ryan A good, but not special player. He is tough minded and smart, but his arm talent is not elite. He needs a good cast around him. When he is not supported with talented receivers, a solid line and a good running game, you see his flaws.
7.9 Tony Romo He has a blind spot. His instincts are just average and his accuracy is not consistent enough given the amount of times they let him wing it and that’s what he does…wing it. His mental toughness is suspect and physically he is the danger zone given his two back surgeries.
7.9 Jay Cutler Has all the physical tools, but inconsistent in the clutch. Mostly due to a lack of poise. He’s not comfortable reading defenses and consequently locks onto a favorite or pre-determined target, that may or may not be the right choice. The less he’s asked to see the better he is. A better half field general, than a full field one.
7.9 Matt Stafford Stafford, in my eyes, not only did not win games for the Lions this year, but also LOST them for his team.  Carelessness with the ball, inaccurate throws, and poor mechanics will prevent him from ever turning into an elite QB.  Calvin Johnson masks a lot of his faults.

7.4-7.0

Solid traits but limited. Can “win with him” but need a good supporting cast and quality coaching. Shown to be a consistent performer, but not a top one.
7.4 Andy Dalton Top character and work habits. Is book smart, with average football IQ. He’s in his comfort level when everything around him is working. He struggles when it’s all on him. His accuracy isn’t as sharp as his ability to read coverage. Part of his problem is he was over used. Too many attempts for a pedestrian QB. You can like him, but can’t love him.
7.3 Carson Palmer He’s experienced with size, arm strength and good accuracy. He’s a adequate learner with good football sense. He can make big plays given his arm talent, but not going to play over mediocre coaching or a marginal supporting cast.
7.1 Joe Flacco He only gets into this category because of his Super Bowl win.  I’m not sold he has the ability to be an elite QB. He can play too cautious or get locked on to a receiver. He can be hot and cold, needs to be more room temperature; if the Ravens are going to make a run again.
7.0 Eli Manning He showed this year, as he did when he lost Plaxico Burris, he’s only as good as the sum of the parts around him. He lost his confidence and poise this year. A veteran quarterback with his pedigree, that should not have happened regardless of injuries, etc.

6.9-6.5

Has strong traits but hasn’t done it. Lack of experience, injuries, missing intangible may be the reason for his erratic play. Still a work in progress. He can move up or down.
6.9 Robert Griffin III Talented, but yet to define himself as an NFL quarterback. He won’t have a successful career by working outside the pocket. No one at his position did or will. Too many games and too many hits keep QB’s from having a career based on their feet, rather than their pocket accuracy.
6.8 Sam Bradford Top intangibles, good size and arm strength. Can make all the throws, but has yet to make them consistently for a season and not for a handful of games. Has one more year to show it. History says the longer it takes the lower his ceiling.

6.4-6.0

Can start and compete with him with a good supporting cast and quality coaching, but lacks something, i.e., arm talent (strength or accuracy), poise, instincts. Not good enough. To win with him 2 of the 3 of the phases have to be dominate or surround him with high caliber players.
6.4 Josh McCown Had the best year of any back-up at his position. He played consistently and without having his coaches compromising the play book to get it done. He was well schooled and efficient moving the team.
6.4 Kyle Orton A solid player. One game start this year. Almost became a good off season story; if it weren’t for an untimely interception. A strong arm, tough and good play history. He locked himself into a career back up job. Money became more important than opportunity.
6.4 Matt Schaub Lost his confidence, his fans and eventually his teammates and coaches. No quarterback went from the “penthouse to the out house” quicker than him. His team went they way he did… to the bottom.
6.3 Jake Locker Has the skills, but not a quick thinker or an intuitive one. He struggles with the game plan, not learning it, but implementing it. Have to keep things basic and hopefully with more play time things start coming together for him. A great kid.
6.3 Ryan Tannehill He’s an athlete who is trying to develop into a QB. His arm is good, but his accuracy is questionable. He isn’t comfortable from within the pocket. Led the league in sacks, something isn’t right, given he’s an athletic QB. Protection is one thing, ‘feel’ is another. When things aren’t going well, he can’t pull himself or his team out of it. Those aren’t good signs for a signal caller.
6.3 Mike Glennon He showed good poise and good arm strength. Can see over the rush and can get the ball down field. Those are the pluses. The negatives are he’s to slow and immobile. Will hold onto the ball long after his internal clock should have gone off and struggles to extend a play once it breaks down. His accuracy is average and struggles in the intermediate area of the field.
6.2 Geno Smith Got a lot of playing time, which may have helped him or hurt him. Too many interceptions and negative plays. His numbers were terrible. His progress will depend on his learning from this year’s struggles. Otherwise, defensive coordinators will have a field day with him. Quarterbacks make a living from the neck on up, not the neck on down.
6.0 E.J. Manuel
6.0 Thad Lewis
6.0 Terrelle Pryor

5.9-5.5

Can be an emergency starter. Does not have the mental make up or physical talent too perform as a consistent starter. He’s temporary relief, but not a long term solution.
5.9 Michael Vick
5.8 Ryan Fitzpatrick
5.8 Matt Cassell
5.8 Kellen Clemens
5.8 Chad Henne
5.8 Matt Moore
5.8 Brian Hoyer
5.7 Christian Ponder
5.5 Matt Sanchez
5.5 Josh Freeman
5.5 Brandon Weeden
5.5 Jason Campbell
5.5 Blaine Gabbert
5.5 Charlie Whitehurst
5.5 Brady Quinn
5.5 Seneca Wallace
5.5 Shawn Hill
5.5 Tavaris Jackson
5.5 Luke Macon
5.5 Dan Orlovsky
5.5 Rex Grossman
5.5 Derek Anderson

5.4-5.0

A band-aid, can get you through a game. Not a starter. He lacks the arm strength or needed accuracy. May also be missing something intangible, i.e. toughness, instincts etc.. Cannot win with him, regardless of supporting cast or coaching.
5.4 Kirk Cousins Smart, hard working and well liked and respected. Lacks the arm talent to start and become a guy you can win with.
5.0 Colt McCoy Nothing that gets him to the line in any area tangible speaking, will be a memory in 2014.
5.0 Matt McGloin A lot of moxie with marginal arm talent. No traits to compliment top intangibles.
5.0 Case Keenum
5.0 Scott Tolzein
5.0 Jordan Palmer
5.0 Jimmy Clausen

BEST TO WORSE:

  1. 8.9 Peyton Manning
  2. 8.8 Tom Brady
  3. 8.8 Aaron Rodgers
  4. 8.8 Andrew Luck
  5. 8.7 Drew Brees
  6. 8.6 Philip Rivers
  7. 8.6 Cam Newton
  8. 8.5 Ben Roethlisberger
  9. 8.4 Russell Wilson
  10. 8.4 Colin Kaepernick
  11. 8.3 Alex Smith
  12. 8.0 Nick Foles
  13. 7.9 Matt Ryan
  14. 7.8 Tony Romo
  15. 7.7 Jay Cutler
  16. 7.6 Matt Stafford
  17. 7.4 Andy Dalton
  18. 7.3 Carson Palmer
  19. 7.1 Joe Flacco
  20. 7.0 Eli Manning
  21. 6.9 Robert Griffin
  22. 6.8 Sam Bradford
  23. 6.4 Matt Schaub
  24. 6.3 Ryan Tannehill
  25. 6.3 Jake Locker
  26. 6.3 Mike Glennon
  27. 6.2 Geno Smith
  28. 6.0 EJ Manuel
  29. 6.0 Terrill Pryor
  30. 5.9 Christian Ponder
  31. 5.5 Blaine Gabbert
  32. 5.5 Brandon Weeden

Updated: the Next NFL General Managers

At this time of the year, I rarely go a few days without being asked about potential general manager candidates. And if you’re following me on Twitter or have heard me in any recent radio interviews, you might have caught some of the names I’ve mentioned. But because I’m constantly having conversations with NFL executives over the course of the season, that list expands or gets reduced by the information I gather by the week.

With only five weeks left in the regular season, it’s a good time to take an extended look at the best candidates for potential general manger openings, which should start to open up in early January. Heck, one already opened up last month.

In order to get an idea of who the best candidates are, I asked two current NFL general managers, one former NFL general manager, three personnel executives, and three prominent NFL player agents who they thought should be on the list. And I asked each guy to remove friendships, the best they could, and give me their list of the top-five most qualified names.

Here’s the list broken down by the ones most likely to get jobs for 2013 and executives likely to get strong consideration in the future:

Tom Gamble/San Francisco 49ers/Director of Player Personnel: In my 14 years of covering the NFL, I don’t recall getting as many strong comments about a potential GM candidate from high-ranking personnel executives and NFL player agents as I’ve received about Gamble in doing research for this piece. In fact, one NFL GM said my list should start with Gamble for the very fact that he’s about as well-rounded of a candidate as you’ll find.

And when you examine Gamble’s background, you can understand why.

He got started in the NFL at a very young age — literally right out of college — with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988. His father, Harry, was the president of the team at that time. And the younger Gamble was around football growing up. His father was a long-time coach (pro and college) and then moved on to become an NFL executive late in his career.

Like his father, Tom Gamble is a rarity in NFL scouting departments these days: He not only has extensive pro and college scouting experience, he has experience with contract negations and the salary cap, and even has coaching experience (defensive assistant/quality control coach with the New York Jets for two seasons: 1995-1996) on the NFL side. While Gamble was promoted to his current role nearly two years ago, other teams have also been interested in him in recent years (St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders on more than one occasion).

Now in his 25th NFL season, Gamble has worked for five teams over that time period and has touched just about every possible aspect on the personnel side. He has helped build 10 playoff teams (four with the Eagles, five with the Indianapolis Colts, and one with the 49ers—and very likely another one this season).

Before taking a job with the 49ers back in 2005, Gamble worked for seven seasons as a college scout under former Colts GM Bill Polian, who is widely recognized as one of the best personnel evaluators in NFL history.

“He’s got a complete grounding in the game. He grew up in the game,” Polian explained to me recently about Gamble. “This is exceedingly important when you consider there are a lot of issues that you have to deal with when becoming a general manager that will come up with a team. You’re at a big disadvantage if you don’t have this experience in dealing with everything. That’s why non-football people have a harder time succeeding. Because Tom has so much experience and grew up around the game with his dad, he’s going to be more prepared than most. That’s a huge advantage.”

And it’s that extensive experience which should help Gamble land a GM job for next season.

UPDATED 12/21: Two  personnel sources said that Gamble should receive attention from at least three teams for expected GM openings next month.

Eric DeCosta/Baltimore Ravens/Assistant General Manager: The veteran personnel evaluator received his latest promotion in May of this year. DeCosta turned down several interviews with other teams earlier this year because it’s a well-known fact that he’ll eventually take over the entire football operations once (GM and Executive VP) Ozzie Newsome retires. What makes DeCosta one of the strongest personnel executives is due to his extensive pro and college scouting background, which spans over 16 years. And he has worked alongside of Newsome for many seasons. It also doesn’t hurt that DeCosta has been part of one of the NFL’s most successful scouting departments in regard to the NFL Draft for many years.

Marc Ross/New York Giants/Director of College Scouting: Ross joined the Giants in his current role in 2007. He got started as a college scout back in 1997 with the Philadelphia Eagles and was promoted to team’s college scouting director in 2000, at the age of just 27. And after working as a college scout for the Buffalo Bills after leaving the Eagles, he moved up the ladder again with the Giants. As one former NFL executive who worked with him for many years told me, Ross is one of the most organized and forthright people he’s come across in his years in the league. Ross, over the past few years, has interviewed GM jobs with the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and Seattle Seahawks. And it’s widely believed that he’ll get an interview for the vacant Carolina Panthers GM opening since former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi is advising the team in their GM search as a consultant. UPDATE 12/21: Multiple personnel executives said that Ross is Accorsi’s early choice for the job opening. However, Accorsi was still gathering information on other possible candidates for the team to interview, along with Ross, after the season concludes.

Steve Keim/Arizona Cardinals/Vice President of Player Personnel: Keim, who started with the Cardinals in 1999, was promoted to his current role earlier this year after the NFL Draft. He essentially oversees both of the pro and college scouting departments. And Keim, who mostly had scouting experience for several years on the college side, got more involved on the pro side five years ago. One high-level NFC executive with another team said that he expects Keim to get a GM job over the next few years based on his extensive experience in player evaluations. It’s worth noting that Keim interviewed for the Rams GM job earlier this year.

David Caldwell/Director of Player Personnel/Atlanta Falcons: Caldwell, who was promoted to his new role earlier this year where he will oversee the college and pro scouting departments, also interviewed for the Indianapolis Colts GM job earlier this year, which eventually went to Ryan Grigson. While most if not all of his scouting experience came from the college side prior to this season, Caldwell’s name has been brought up to me on several occasions over the past few year as one of the top GM candidates based on his outstanding eye for talent and solid organizational skills. In fact, one current NFL GM said he would put him in the top-5 of best candidates available.

John Dorsey/Director of Football Operations/Green Bay Packers: UPDATE 12/21: One personnel source suggested to me recently that there’s no question that Dorsey is one of the most highly qualified executives not to currently have the GM title attached to his name.

After doing some background checking on Dorsey, that’s pretty much an accurate statement.

The former linebacker for the Packers for six seasons, Dorsey moved to the college scouting side for seven seasons after his playing career was cut short due to injury. He then became the team’s director of college scouting for 15 seasons (left to handle player personnel for the Seattle Seahawks for two seasons, but then returned to the Packers) and was promoted to his current role earlier this season.

While Dorsey’s scouting experience mostly comes from the college side, he still has had exposure to the pro side in recent years. And he has been exposed to contract negotiations over the years, according to a source.

George Paton/Assistant General Manager/Minnesota Vikings: Paton was promoted to his current role earlier this year after receiving strong interest from the St. Louis Rams for their vacant GM job, which eventually went to Les Snead. While most of his scouting experience is from the pro side, he’ll get additional experience on the college going forward based on his new role, which firmly cements him as the No.2 man in the team’s personnel department.

Jason Licht/Arizona Cardinals/Director of Player Personnel: Licht is a rarity these days: He has extensive scouting experience on the pro and college levels from working with five teams over a 12-year period. Plus, he has coaching experience on the NFL level (1996 for the Dolphins as an offensive assistant/quality control coach) albeit brief. Licht also interviewed for the Chicago Bears GM job earlier this year, which eventually went to Phil Emery. In fact, Licht was the runner-up for the job.

Others who have been mentioned as possible GMs for future seasons

Brian Gaine/Miami Dolphins/Assistant General Manager: Gaine, now in his 15th year in the NFL and fifth with the Dolphins, was promoted to his current role with the team back in June of this year. While his scouting background mainly has come from the pro side (previously with the Jets and  Cowboys), the veteran personnel evaluator ramped up his evaluations of college players in recent years based on his recent promotions. His name has come up a bit in conversations over the last few years with various NFL executives as a future GM. And he interviewed for the Rams GM job earlier this year.

Tom Telesco/Indianapolis Colts/Vice President of Football Operations: He was promoted to his current role earlier this year and has spent 14 years with the Colts, which puts him second in command in the personnel department. And Telesco has extensive pro and college scouting experience going back nearly 17 years. One personnel source who worked with him in the past said he could definitely see Telesco becoming a GM in the future based in his solid scouting and organizational skills.

Doug Whaley/Buffalo Bills/Assistant General Manager+Director of Pro Personnel: Because of his dual role he received when he joined the Bills in 2010, Whaley is basically second in command on the personnel side for the Bills. And he has plenty of experience with pro and college scouting (with the Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Seattle Seahawks), which is a major plus for any prospective general manager candidate. While it’s assumed that he’ll eventually replace GM Buddy Nix when Nix decides to retire, it still wouldn’t be surprising to see other teams show interest in Whaley going forward.

Tag Ribary/Seattle Seahawks/Director of Pro Personnel: Ribary was promoted to his current role two years after working with the Seahawks in various capacities on the pro scouting side. He also had pro scouting experience with the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers. While he doesn’t have extensive college scouting background that some other candidates have, Ribary’s long tenure spanning over two decades in the NFL makes him a well-known and qualified candidate.

Chris Ballard/Director of Pro Scouting/Chicago Bears:  One other NFC team, according to a source, wanted to interview him for a personnel job earlier this year, but the Bears denied that team permission to talk to him, which shows how highly the Bears think of him. And Ballard, who had college coaching experience for many years before joining the Bears 12 years ago, got promoted to his current role back in June. Prior to his promotion, Ballard worked as a college scout, but he oversees the pro scouting side these days, so he now has exposure to all facets of NFL scouting.

Matt Russell/Denver Broncos/Director of Player Personnel: The veteran talent evaluator has 12 years of extensive scouting work with the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, and Broncos. And Russell has widely been given credit for discovering QB Matt Cassel back during his time with the Patriots. Russell’s scouting background was on the college side prior to this season, but his latest promotion from earlier this year should help him get a stronger handle on the pro side.

Scott Cohen/Assistant General Manager/New York Jets: The veteran personnel evaluator began his 21st season in the NFL earlier this year. Cohen has extensive pro and college scouting experience over his 20+ seasons in the league with the Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Washington Redskins. His experience from scouting pro and college levels as well as being exposed to contract negotiations over the years should help him garner attention from teams looking for a general manager going forward.

Alonzo Highsmith/Senior Personnel Executive/Green Bay Packers:  The former NFL running back joined the Packers as a college scout in 1999. He was targeted at least twice by other teams in recent years for upper level management jobs (non-GM role), but the Packers blocked him from interviewing, which is obviously an indication how strongly they want to keep him. And the Packers, recognizing his solid player evaluation skills, promoted him to his current role earlier this year. Highsmith, who has been largely recognized for discovering CB Tramon Williams, won a scouting award in recent years.

Ranking the Top Three QBs in the 2014 NFL Draft: Teddy Bridgewater

This is Part 3 of Lance Zierlein’s Assessment of the Top Three Quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft. Assessing: Johnny Manziel » | Blake Bortles » | Teddy Bridgewater »

Editor’s Note: All data mentioned represents the 2013 season.

Toughness and Poise

Read The Sideline View’s Scouting Report on Teddy Bridgewater »

Growing up and coming out of the Liberty City neighborhood in Miami is your first clue to Bridgewater’s toughness.  Bridgewater didn’t miss any games due to injury during his three years as QB at Louisville and continued to play through a broken wrist in 2012 against UConn.  With a bad ankle and a cast on that same broken wrist, Bridgewater beat Rutgers in his next game to earn a conference championship and BCS bowl bid against Florida whom he beat with a cast on his left wrist.

Like Manziel, Bridgewater was blitzed on 29% of his throws, but the results were much better than Manziel’s.  While Manziel’s completion percentage fell 12% when blitzed, Bridgewater stayed right at 71% and saw his yards per attempt go from 8.5 to 11.3 YPA.  Anyone who blitzed Bridgewater got the ass torn out of them (is that a scouting term?) with 16 TDs to 1 INT.  A whopping 51.6% of Bridgewater’s TD passes came when blitzed which, remember, was just 29% of his pass attempts.  In fairness, Bridgewater faced a lower level of defensive competition than Manziel.

I tried to find a hole in Teddy’s poise or toughness based on the data, but I couldn’t really do it.  In fact, in “close and late” situations which I defined as the 4th quarter with a score range of +7 to -7, Bridgewater was 26 of 39 (66%) for 306 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs.

Accuracy (including on the move)

Up to this point, there really seems to be no reason to doubt Teddy Bridgewater’s accuracy as he moves to the next level.  For the most part, that perception is correct.

As previously noted, “accuracy” in NFL circles is generally defined how a QB throws the ball from 0-15 yards and Bridgewater shines in that area.  In fact, from 6-15 yards (intermediate throws), he completed 75.6% of his passes with 8 TDs and just 1 INT.

From the pocket, Bridgewater completed 71.9% of his passes for 27 TDs and 4 INTs and averaged 8.8 yards per play.  There were some issues with Bridgewater’s deep ball consistency and he showed some troubling tendencies, but we’ll get to that later.

Makes NFL Throws

Teddy Bridgewater can make all of the throws on paper, but when I watch him, I can’t help but think that he’ll have some issues with ball-hawking defenders if he wants to test the boundaries with his intermediate throws.  Keep in mind that for all of Bridgewater’s accuracy with short and intermediate routes, he’s going to see much more varied coverages from NFL secondaries which means he has to be comfortable throwing to all areas of the field and that appears to be a concerns.

Bridgewater is very capable with is play-action bootleg throws as long as he’s moving right and that is one of my problems with him.  While I really like Teddy’s toughness, poise and accuracy, I’m worried defensive coordinators will rush him from his right and force him left and that is an issue.  Bridgewater was just 7 of 17 for 55 yards and no TDs when moving to his left via rollout or scrambling.  When scrambling or rolling right, he was 20 of 30 for 266 yards and 2 TDs.

Moreover, Bridgewater had just 1 TD to go with 1 INT on 60 pass attempts to the left from 6-15 yards.  When making intermediate throws to the right, he had 4 TDs to 0 INTs on 63 attempts.  The same issues left and right are found with his deep ball where he completed 33% of his passes 16+ yards to the left while completing 51.2% of deep balls to the right.  Bridgewater hit some home runs deep which is to be expected on the college level, but he completed just 44.3% of his deep balls compared to 51.9% for Manziel and 49.2% for Bortles who both show better NFL-caliber touch on those throws when you watch them.

Mobility

When you watch Teddy Bridgewater operate around and even outside of the pocket, you can see he not only has the ability to escape pressure, but to also damage defenses with his legs.  However, Bridgewater simply doesn’t utilize those legs as often as I think he should.

Bridgewater scrambled 31 times for 217 yards but no TDs which is surprising considering how big a weapon that can be for all QBs on any level.  As noted previously, Bridgewater was clearly more comfortable scrambling and throwing to the right, but all told, Bridgewater was 17 of 31 for 221 yards and 2 TDs when flushed from the pocket.  Manziel laps Bridgewater in this category and Bortles was more effective as well.  I admire Bridgewater’s ability to hang in the pocket and make plays, but he will be a more dangerous player on the next level if he can threaten teams more frequently with his feet.

Final Analysis

The tape shows that Teddy Bridgewater has an NFL understanding of progressions and the type of poise and decision-making that should allow him to avoid being a high-turnover risk on the next level.  However, the data and the tape don’t always match-up as it pertains to what to expect on the next level.

Bridgewater’s accuracy is a wonderful thing and will serve him well on the next level, but I question whether he can maintain anywhere near the same level of accuracy with his throws 12-16 yards…. especially against teams running 2-deep shells.  Bridgewater doesn’t have a plus arm by NFL standards and I see him float it too often over the middle and between the CB and the safety on the sidelines.  These passes turn into negative plays on the next level.

What I really like about Bridgewater is that unlike Manziel, Bridgewater seems to have a mature understanding of when to take shots and when to play it safe and dump down to the easy option.  I also want to make sure and stress that Bridgewater’s ability to handle blitzes and excel against them is going to be something that teams who rely on analytics will hang their hats on when grinding the numbers on him.

Against teams running soft zones, Bridgewater was willing to take what defenses gave him and was also able to find soft spots in the zone defenses all the way up to 15 yards down the field.  And while I have some doubts about his arm with some of his intermediate to deep throws, it is good enough to fit it into tight windows vs. zone coverage and he didn’t take many unnecessary chances.

NFL teams will really like the fact that 102 of Bridgewater’s 303 attempts came from under center so he can fit into most of the schemes that he will see in the NFL.  What NFL offensive coordinators won’t like is that Bridgewater has a noticeably weaker throwing to the left side of the field vs. the right side – especially when he’s forced to move left.  Defensive coordinators will feast on that info if he doesn’t tighten it up in the pros.

Bridgewater isn’t a running QB, but he can be a more dangerous QB with his feet than we’ve seen previously and may have to be depending on what his offensive line looks like.  Despite completely just 44.3% of his passes beyond 16 yards and lacking the same deep ball touch as Manziel, Bridgewater did attack defenses down the field to the tune of 16 TDs and 3 INTs.  In my estimation, the biggest question mark for Bridgewater is how he will respond if he struggles to complete his intermediate passes at a high rate.  Will he default to becoming a “Check-down Charlie” or will he adjust and continue to attack defenses down the field?

Lance Zierlein’s NFL 2014 Mock Draft 2.0

Quick Hits

  • Word around league circles is that the Cleveland Browns have a great deal of interest in Derek Carr.  While this may be true, I’m hearing they are also high on Teddy Bridgewater who is a safer option.  The Browns need a safe selection at QB who can take care of the ball and get the ball down the field to Josh Gordon and Bridgewater fits.
  • You might be surprised by the Jets taking Blake Bortles and I was surprised I ended up putting him there, but keep in mind that the Jets just fell into Geno Smith in the second round and they might not be married to him after watching him for a year.  It’s all about getting the QB position right and if the Jets like Bortles they could take him over one of their primary need positions.
  • The Eagles love speed and with Trent Cole getting up there in age, I could see Chip Kelly and the Eagles locking in on one of the quickest pass rushers off the edge in this year’s draft – Dee Ford.
  • The more I dig around on the CB position with scouts and front office men around the league, the more I’m hearing that Darqueze Dennard could fall much further than most people think.  I put him with the Saints in that spot, but that could easily be Kyle Fuller there with Dennard falling to the back end of the first or even out of the first round.
  • The Broncos might be thrilled to see C.J. Mosley fall to them at 31.  However,  with some medical concerns out there surrounding Mosley, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him fall out of the first round into the early part of the second.  In this scenario, I’ve got the Broncos going with a huge need selection at CB with Kyle Fuller.
  • The Seattle Seahawks really don’t care how you do things because they have their own way of drafting.  While I wouldn’t take Joel Bitonio this highly, he is a good athlete with outstanding tenacity who can likely fit into the RT or LG positions for the Seahawks.  The Seahawks need to improve their pass-blocking and overall consistency on the offensive line and Bitonio might be their kind of fit.
  • I ended up having some “name” players fall out of the first round.  Alabama LT Cyrus Kouandjio has medical concerns and didn’t play as well in 2013 as he did in 2012.  I’ve already covered C.J. Mosley’s potential fall out of the first.  I was told by a source inside the league that Florida State DT Timmy Jernigan could “fall like a rock”.  I didn’t question the source, I just left him out of the first round.  Missouri DE Kony Ealy could end up going in the first round, but he doesn’t have the strength to make it as a 3-4 DE yet and I don’t see the edge speed that would excite teams looking for a first round DE.