There’s one axiom that almost every football coach, analyst and fan believes about the game today: The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. If a team has a good one, they are a contender. If they don’t, they have no chance of competing for a title.
Thus, landing an elite signal caller is priority No. 1 for every team. And the best place to find one is in the draft, where a team’s quarterback of the future, a guy who can make them a contender for the next decade, could still be on the board when it’s their turn to pick.
The key is picking the right QB, which is an inexact science at best. For every Peyton Manning, there’s a Ryan Leaf. For every Russell Wilson, there’s a Brock Osweiler. For every Tom Brady, there’s some guy who never made a roster.
Who should teams in need of a quarterback take during the 2014 NFL Draft? Here’s how the editors of cover32 assess the field:
1. Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)
As the NFL becomes more and more of a league where quarterbacks who can run and pass are finding success, players like Manziel become more and more attractive. During the past two seasons, he showed that he has incredible ability in both areas. That’s what is attractive to teams; Manziel is the ultimate playmaker. He’s also a winner, someone who just exudes confidence. But that’s also where he gets into trouble, as some teams may be scared off by his repeated off-the-field antics.
2. Blake Bortles (Central Florida)
Bortles is moving up the draft charts, with some analysts having him going as high as No. 1 overall to Houston. Why is the UCF star leaping over Manziel and Bridgewater? Mainly, it’s because he looks more like a classic NFL quarterback than those two. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, he seems better suited for the wear and tear of a 16-game season. But that stature doesn’t make up for his inability to make all throws, especially with accuracy, and play consistently.