Nobody is more enamored with quarterbacks than former NFL head coach Jon Gruden, and he’ll be the first to tell you so.
“Oh yeah, I like quarterbacks,” Gruden said to azcentral.com’s Bob McManaman and other reporters on a conference call Saturday. “I’ve been accused of that.”
In addition to his Monday Night Football analyst duties, Gruden runs the popular series on ESPN in which he breaks down film with quarterbacks, testing athletes on their ability to draw up plays, as well as putting them through a series of on-field workouts. “Chucky” hit on a number of quarterbacks that have been talked about as first- or second-round picks, as well as a couple late-round candidates.
On Fresno State’s Derek Carr:
I do like Carr. I like the fifth-year seniors,” he said. “I think Carr is going to come in and be further along than a lot of these guys because of his vast background, two different systems. I think he’s got an excellent arm. I think he’s been challenged from a protection standpoint … (but) the fifth-year seniors will be the guys that are obviously most ready.
On Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel:
“I realize he’s under 6 feet tall. Maybe he can’t see over the pocket. But we blew that theory in the water last year with (Russell) Wilson and (Drew) Brees. I know he can learn. I spent two days with him and I know he wants to learn.”
“He had four different offensive coordinators at Texas A&M. He had two different head coaches. It didn’t matter. He adapted and did extremely well. This is the first Heisman Trophy winner as a freshman. In two years at Texas A&M, he had the most productive back-to-back seasons in SEC history. I don’t know what you want him to do. He threw for eight thousand (yards), ran for two thousand, he has 93 touchdowns. All I know is I want Manziel.”
On Alabama’s A.J. McCarron:
“I can see him certainly going in the first round. McCarron’s production speaks volumes: 36 wins, four losses, all-time record holder at Alabama in a lot of different categories. … I think he’ll be a good acquisition for someone that has a long-term plan.”
On Georgia’s Aaron Murray:
“He’s in my top five. I realize he’s got some injuries, not just the knee that he’s rehabbing right now. I don’t think many kids have thrown for 3,000 yards for four straight seasons in that conference. I just like what he is off the field.”
On Clemson’s Tajh Boyd:
“What I like about Boyd is he’s a finisher. He went back to Clemson to finish with his teammates. He is a quarterback that has a live arm. He can run. He has production passing and running. The show we did on him that I think is relative to his performance; it’s all about peaks and valleys.”
On Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater:
“I’ve done a lot of individual workouts in my past as a receivers coach, as a quarterback coach, even as a head coach. If the player didn’t work that well for me, I didn’t move them down, I took them off our board. … I’d be concerned if I were any person and I didn’t have good private workouts or I had a typically bad pro date.”
On Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage:
“Savage is one of the great American mysteries right now. Rutgers, he lost his job. He left and went to Arizona. Rich Rodriguez brought the spread offense to Tucson. He left Arizona and went to Pitt. He threw for over 60 percent. He’s a pocket passer. You can see he has a big arm. … There’s not a lot of quarterbacks in college football that drop back and throw it anymore and Savage is clearly one of them.”
On Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo:
“He’s not a finished product. He’s going to have some growing to do because of the system he comes from. But he’s a big, sharp prospect that I know a lot of people like.”
On Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas:
“He reminded me of Cam Newton for obvious reasons. A dual threat that had physical presence at the position that was rare. He just hasn’t come along as a passer, a consistent passer, like maybe some people think.”