For most of the postseason, the consensus big board on the drafted quarterbacks has mostly oscillated between a Big Three and a Big Four, where Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles would round out the top of the quarterback class and Derek Carr would occasionally be included.
This is generally common practice for the NFL draft, as usually talent evaluators agree on who is in the top tier and who follows immediately afterwards, with 2013 as a big exception.
But for this year, it looks like draft evaluators are far more split on the subject than they have been on the past, and while rumors of Teddy Bridgewater’s unstable place at the top of the board have been persistent, never has there been this much indecision when it comes to QB rankings. Tony Pauline of Draft Insider reported through Walter Football’s Combine rumors (thanks to the Daily Norseman for this tip) that there’s been a shakeup in what we perceived to be the Top Four:
In conversations here in Indy it’s apparent the quarterbacks stack up 1) Blake Bortles, 2) Teddy Bridgewater, 3) Derek Carr, 4) Johnny Manziel on a number of team boards.
But Pauline isn’t the only one.
Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc. and ESPN have been fairly adamant that Derek Carr doesn’t deserve to be in the Top Three… or Four… or Five. Not too long ago, I tweeted out their order, through ESPN Insider:
Keeping Carr out of their top 150 players altogether seems a bit much, but they did stick to their guns when asked on SportsCenter. To them, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron occupies the ambiguous space that Carr often did, not in the same tier as the top three, but clearly separated from everyone below him.
The gold standard of third-party talent evaluation is usually CBS, and for the moment, their top four is as you would expect: Bridgewater, Bortles, Manziel and Carr. SBNation agrees and so does Draft Countdown. Drafttek is not far off, with the Lousiville signal-caller at the top, followed by Manziel, Bortles and Carr.
But other excellent talent evaluators disagree with CBS’ bland consensus rankings.
Optimum Scouting (where I occasionally contribute, but do not evaluate talent) has the quarterbacks ranked 1) Bridgewater, 2) Bortles, 3) Garoppolo, 4) Carr, 5) Manziel. NFL.com’s rankings propose two tiers of quarterbacks, with Blake Bortles at the top and Teddy Bridgewater right behind him. In the second tier are Manziel and Carr.
USA Today sponsors team sites for draft rankings, which are very thorough and reliable. Their flagship site, NEPatriotsDraft ranks the QBs 1) Bridgewater 2) Manziel 3) Carr and 4) Bortles, while DraftBrowns boldly puts Manziel at the top, followed by Bridgewater, Bortles and Carr. DetroitLionsDraft holds that Bridgewater is the top QB, while Carr, Manziel and Bortles finish out the top four.
Walter Football also follows a different path, with Bortles first, followed by Johnny Football, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. FFToolbox thinks that Manziel deserves the top nod, with Bridgewater, Bortles and Carr to follow.
There are 24 different orders one can come up with for Bridgewater, Manziel, Carr and Bortles. Soon, it will seem like all of them will have been used, with other random quarterbacks thrown in there for fun. Just remember that if your team selects a QB in May, arguing that he’s the “consensus Xth-ranked QB” will mean you’re wrong.