NFL Draft 2014

Consensus QB Rankings No Longer Consensus

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:

ESPN is going crazy

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.’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.

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  1. unless someone falls into our lap, i wouldn’t be surprised if vikes take a def. player at 8 or trade down for more picks, and then get a QB later. REALLY don’t want to see another reach

    1. The more I learn about the NFL, the harder it is for me to figure out what truly is a reach. Some teams honestly do just have completely different boards from other teams. Ponder may have been a reach, but with as much controversy as this next QB class is generating, I’m not sure there’s any argument that any of the first six QBs picked will end up a “reach” by teams’ own evaluation departments.

      Hell, the first four QBs could all go to teams that honestly considered their QB to be #1.

      1. I define a reach as a player drafted sooner than one (anyone) of the so called “experts” thinks where they should be drafted. Which doesn’t really mean a whole hell of a lot. If all of the so called “draft experts” have a different opinion on what a reach is, then how can us common folk know what one is.

  2. I’m beginning to think and hope that we take the stud defender and trade up for McCarron in the 2nd, or late 1st. The least hyped players, of late, seem to be working out the best.

    1. If they are going to trade up for someone it will be Garappolo or Carr, McCarron isn’t going in the first round. Bortles is the only QB I would take in the top ten right now. I like his potential the best. I still like Teddy too, I’m really not sure why he’s getting busted on so much (probably would have helped if he’ld worked out at the combine). He is extremely accurate and from what I’ve seen of him he doesn’t completely crumble under pressure.

      1. If Sammy Watkins is still on the board at 8, Spielman should have plenty of trade partners to move back. I’m hoping Rick is in the right place to hit the jack pot.

        1. If only one of the top three offensive tackles is left, that could also lead to some trade offers. If Gilbert has good workouts I could see him getting into the top ten, maybe even with the Vikes. I prefer Dennard in the middle of the first, but depending on what happens in free agency maybe the secondary ends up being more important than the front seven come May. There’s lots of options in this class.

    2. I personally dislike McCarron as a prospect. I’ll explain more when I get around to scouting reports.

  3. We’ll have to trust Norv knows what he’s doing. Ricky has said that he will lean on Norv in making a decision so it sounds like Turner will make the call on qb. That’s a good thing with Ricky’s track record on qb’s.

  4. This is an odd year for grading quarterbacks.
    My personal order
    1. Johnny Manziel
    2. Blake Bortles
    3. Jimmy Garapallo
    4. Teddy Bridgewater
    5. Brad Smith
    I don’t trust the SEC boys as Bama and LSU are so talented their teams make them look better. As for Carr he reminds me of Weeden or ponder with a stronger arm so RUN.

    1. Just say no to Johnny football. Don’t want him. I have see both Jaws and Tony Dungy say they wouldn’t draft him in the first three rounds. And we find out how good the SEC is once playoffs start in college football.

      1. Cmon you can’t listen to jaws, and I wouldn’t put much stock into Tony either there’s a reason he’s working for ESPN

    2. Why do you have Bridgewater so low, compared to his projections? I think he’s the top QB, and by a country mile.

      1. I don’t think 4 is especially low, the 4th qb could still be picked in the top ten. Manziel has been my favorite for a year and Bortles is a close second. Jimmy is my dark horse as I think he’ll be a solid top 15 quarterback in the NFL.
        Bridgewater is the safest pick asset quarterback but his upside is so limited, coupled with the fact that his leadership is sub par. He reminds me of Geno Smith in a lot of ways whom I was also not keen on.

  5. This talk of taking a QB for the Vike in the first round is a lot of jibber jabber about nothing. If none of the quarterbacks are taken with the first 7 picks, the Vike will still not draft a QB in the first round at 8. This class of QBs is not worth a number one pick. If one or more of these slappies are available in round two, it might be worth looking, but not in round 1.

    Here’s to hoping most of these corn hole Qbs are off the board at 8, this will allow the Vike to pick the best defensive player available.

    1. Johnny football is easily worth a first rounder. In the past 5years the only quarterback I liked more out of college was Andy luck. He’s got more potential than any qb in the NFL right now, he just needs to unlock it.

  6. Ron Jaworski says he wouldn’t draft Johnny football in the first 3 rounds of the draft……

  7. Dear Freds old friend Buds,

    When will you be breaking down the offensive line draft? Surely you’ve been timing the cone drills and vertical “hops” of the offensive lineman this year? Please, fill us in on who the top offensive studs are from Slippery Rock state are? Please?

    Let us know who’s got long arms, great footwork, nice wiggle and if Freds asks Carl, a good catching radius. Who is the Johnny Lineman of the draft Buds?

    1. Buds is still trying to talk Speilman into drafting this kid out of v USC, says he’s the next great thing his name is Ron Yary… the years have finally caught up with him I believe

    2. Freds, I’ve been on the DL for a while, so I’m a little behind on my draft homework. But haven’t you learned by now that last season can be blamed entirely on Ponder and Musgrave? It doesn’t matter how the linemen blocked or the linebackers tackled or the DB’s covered, all of our losses last year can be traced back to bad play calling and incomplete passes. Surely you learned that, didn’t you Freds? I predict that if Ponder takes even one snap this year, we will go 0-16. (Trying to recall the name of the OC for this year’s winning Super Bowl team…well, no matter, at least we got rid of the last two we had.)

      The only thing that matters is guessing right on a QB, Freds. Don’t draft one too soon (reach), but don’t pass on the one that turns out to be good, either (miss). Then we just sit back while Zimmer screams and swears at people on the sidelines (anybody gets really good if you scream at them enough) and Turner calls all the right plays. Linemen, schninemen… only the QB matters!

      But Skol’s right. I’m too old to know anything about football, so just ignore that stuff I wrote. (…and please don’t take it seriously – just having a little cabin fever fun!) BTW, that Yary kid turned out to be pretty decent.

      1. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, even drew brees are all proof that a great quarterback can overcome a terrible offensive line, ones much worse than ours.

        1. 1. I would love to hear how you determine that we have a better O-line than the New England Patriots.
          2. None of those three QB’s were in the Super Bowl this year, something all of those teams had every right to expect. Maybe they DIDN’T overcome a terrible offensive line.
          3. It is a fundamental delusion of football to believe you can win without quality blocking and tackling.

          I will give you this, Skol. The elevation given to this team by Brett Favre in 2009 certainly speaks to the fact that a top-notch QB is critical to a team’s level of play. Poor QB play has plagued this franchise for far more years than any of us care to admit, and we desperately need a solution. However, there is no way a youngster can come in and give us the kind of elevated play provided by Favre without a solid line in front of him. And just as importantly, without a defense ranked far higher than 31st.

  8. All things gleemed at the combine, unless Bortles or Mack drops in our lap….I want CB Glibert at #8.
    Personally, I think that Jimmy Garoppolo may end up being the best QB in this years group. I would trad back up to the first (if necessary, depending on the teams that pick QBs) to get him. I also was surprisingly impressed by McCarron (who I early on dismissed) at the combine. Myock liked him as well, and I really respect his opinion.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Jimmy G. I really doubt you’d have to move back up into the first to get Garoppolo. Likely there in the third, even. Carr looked really good at the combine, too.

      1. If I remember correctly Jamarcus Russell looked like Peyton manning at the combine… I personally put 0 stock into the combine(physically)I look at the field. The only thing I like about the combine is measurements(size weight ect…) and interviews.

  9. I’d rate the QBs like this:

    Best choice:
    1. Teddy Bridgewater

    Need some development:
    2. Derek Carr
    3. Blake Bortles

    Probably not elite potential:
    4. All the remaining QBs