With just two quarterbacks currently under contract, the Minnesota Vikings most likely will come away from the 2014 NFL Draft with at least one new signal caller. Matt Cassel recently signed a two-year deal with the club, and Christian Ponder is under club control for at least one more season, but neither are franchise quarterbacks. In separate pieces for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Matt Vensel and Mark Craig break down the potential fits of the consensus top-three throwers: Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.
Vensel separates his thorough profile of Manziel into sections, analyzing Johnny Football’s dazzling play-making ability, his smallish stature, the rock star persona and other potential choices at the position Minnesota may make. Thanks to Michael Vick and other mobile quarterbacks who have had success in the league, Vensel contends that general manager Rick Spielman will have to reconsider the future of the position, which in the past has relied upon the tall, statuesque passers.
Craig looks in depth at Bortles and Bridgewater, speaking to David Gibbs, the University of Houston defensive coordinator who faced the two quarterbacks in consecutive weeks last season.
“I think they’re both going to be good NFL quarterbacks. How good? I’m not a quarterback guru,” Gibbs said. “But neither one of them is going to be a bust. They’re safe picks. In my opinion, because of the way they’ve been trained and coached, you’re not going to get a Ryan Leaf. You’re not going to get JaMarcus Russell. You’re not going to get a guy who just can’t play.”
Gibbs likes Bortles upside, but said he’s more prone to force a throw, whereas Bridgewater is content to check down on third-and-20 rather then turn the ball over.
For Manziel, Gibbs is reticent to give his full endorsement: “I do see him as a risk. And I don’t know him personally. I’m just watching him. He’s doing all of this stuff in college. What’s he going to do when he gets to pro football? You know the lifestyle changes. He’s saying all the right things now, and he should. He’s smart. But I don’t know about him.”