Well, Browns fans, unfortunately it’s that time of year again. The holiday season is upon us and not much has changed for the 4-9 Cleveland Browns.
A quarterback still remains a top item on the team’s wish list, as it has for the past decade. While some may say Brian Hoyer performed admirably and Jason Campbell proved sufficient in his starts, I do not view them as long-term solutions at this critical position.
I am here to introduce you to a few young fellows who you should begin to familiarize yourselves with as the 2014 NFL Draft process begins. Even though the draft does not begin until May 8, the team’s scouts are already studying up, as you should be. After all, one of these men might be donning orange and brown this time next year.
Teddy Bridgewater, Jr, Louisville – For quite some time now, Bridgewater has been deemed the consensus number one quarterback in this class, but has halted the hype-train for some, as his 11-1 Louisville team did not live up to expectations.
Bridgewater possesses excellent mechanics, pocket awareness and high football intellect. I personally do not have much to dispute his spot at the top of the quarterback chart in this draft class. He may not be the consensus any longer among the draft community but I believe Bridgewater has the potential to play a long time in the NFL.
Derek Carr, r*Sr., Fresno State – “Oh my, it’s David’s brother, he’s gonna stink,” is the common fan’s perception of this Fresno State Bulldog. By all means, do not compare him to his brother.
Derek is a completely different player, and is a much better prospect in my opinion.
Carr has excellent arm strength, creativity in the pocket and good decision making, which probably lands him somewhere in the top ten range of the draft.
Johnny Manziel, rSo., Texas A&M – “I thought he was just a scrambler?” Not so fast: I’m here to tell you that Johnny Football has all the tools to be a star in the league.
He has better arm talent than most perceive, great toughness and is a true “Houdini” in the pocket. The development as a passer from his redshirt freshman year to now has vaulted him into top-15 consideration. Manziel might benefit from sitting and watching a year like many quarterbacks do, but Manziel is sure to be an interesting to watch as he continues to develop.
Blake Bortles, rJr., Central Florida – While this big-bodied QB from Central Florida might not declare for the draft, he presents another definite option for the Browns.
Some “draftniks” have likened him to Ben Roethlisberger due to the striking resemblance that appears while Bortles works in the pocket. While he has some flaws in his footwork that may be worrisome to analysts, including me, the physical Bortles will go pretty high if he enters the draft.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Sr., Eastern Illinois – This small school superstar has gained some notoriety in the draft industry as a fast riser in NFL front offices.
There have been rumblings that some scouts have late-first round grades on him as of this moment. His pre-draft work will determine how much more he rises and ultimately where he will be drafted. Some will question his arm strength and the offensive system he played in, but the potential to be a NFL quarterback is there.
* “r” stands for redshirt