NFL Draft – Quarterback Rankings

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL draft a little less than a month away, I thought it was about time I posted my position rankings. The Bears have far fewer holes than they did at the beginning of the off-season, so it’s feasible that they could really draft any position. You can see what positions I think they will target in my latest mock draft, but Emery has been very unpredictable in his short time running the Bears so your guess is probably as good as mine. Throughout the next month I will list my rankings at each position with some analysis of the players and occasional commentary on whether they would be a good fit for the Bears. If you think my rankings are way off or if I forgot anybody, let me know about it in the comments.

QB Rankings:

1.) Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (6’2, 214):  I still think Bridgewater is the best QB in this draft. Despite his mediocre pro day, his game tape is excellent. There are some concerns that his build is too slight and that he won’t hold up to the rigors of the NFL game. He might not, but if his weight is the biggest the problem then he is the clear number one since the other two top QBs have legitimate question marks about their actual football skills. Bridgewater will put on weight as he ages, everyone does. He is the best pure passer in this draft and his accuracy and ability to throw receivers open is superior to Bortles or Manziel. Draft Projection: 1st round

2.) Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (6’0, 207): He’s short, his decision-making is suspect, and he seems like a bit of a prima-donna, but Manziel is a play-maker and can put a team on his back for long stretches when he gets hot. Manziel has better arm strength then advertised, great wheels, and intangibles that can’t be taught. He’s reminds me a lot of Jim McMahon both off and on the field, albeit a more mobile version. Drafting Manziel is risky, but he is the only QB in this draft who can take a bad team and make them competitive right away. Draft Projection: 1st round

3.) Blake Bortles, Central Florida (6’5, 232): His pro day might have bumped Bortles up on the Texans big board, but I think pro days are the most overrated part of the draft evaluation process. I have yet to figure out what running scripted passing drills in shorts has to do with on-field production. Bortles does have the prototypical franchise QB size and look, which compared to the short Manziel and skinny Bridgewater probably helps his chances as the #1 pick. That’s a pick that a GM’s job rides on and it’s hard to blame them for taking the safest option. Bortles projects as a poor man’s Andrew Luck which in this draft might be enough to be the first QB off the board. It’s one of the deepest drafts in recent history, but not overly top heavy at the QB position. Draft Projection: 1st round

4.) Derek Carr, Fresno St (6’2, 214):  He put up huge numbers in college (5,083 yards, 50 TDs) but it’s hard to correlate that to NFL production when most of his completions were screens and slants. Carr did have an excellent off-season, showing off a powerful arm that can make all the throws and better than expected speed (4.68) and athleticism. According to reports, Carr was also excellent in his team interviews and he came off as confident, intelligent, and charismatic during his press conference at the combine. No quarterback has raised his stock more than Carr has this off-season, but there are still some serious question marks. Carr’s footwork and tendency to throw off his back foot is a major issue and there is no evidence on tape that he can sit in the pocket and handle pressure since it wasn’t part of the Fresno St offense. The fact that his brother, David Carr, was one of the bigger #1 pick busts in recent memory probably sits in some team’s minds as well. Draft Projection: 1st-2nd round

5.) Zach Mettenberger, LSU (6’5, 224): I’ve had Mettenberger pegged as a 2nd round pick all off-season and it looks like he is making a late rise up team’s draft boards. His knee injury has kept him from working out but he has his pro day this week (Wed) and supposedly he’s healed enough to do all the normal QB drills. Mettenberger might have the best arm in the draft, throws a nice deep ball and played in a pro style offense under Cam Cameron at LSU, so his learning curve should be quick. His main drawback is a lack of mobility and he will need a solid O-line in front of him because he struggles to elude pressure. Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round

6.) Aaron Murray, Georgia (6’1, 207): If he was a few inches taller, I think he could be a late first / early second round pick. Murray’s game tape is as good or better than anyone in this class, but he’s barely 6’1 and has injury concerns. He has all the intangibles you look for in a QB, a strong arm, elite intelligence, and good athleticism. I am higher on Murray than most and think he could end up being a poor man’s Drew Brees. Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round

7.) Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois (6’2, 226): I like Garoppolo, but think people are underestimating the jump in talent from Eastern Illinois to the NFL. Sure Tony Romo did it, but that’s about it at QB from the Ohio Valley conference. Garoppolo has plenty of upside; he doesn’t have the biggest arm, but it’s good enough and his quick release and sound decision-making should eventually make him a solid pro. Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round

8.) A.J. McCarron, Alabama (6’3, 220): He doesn’t have flashy skills, but is a proven winner with only 4 losses in his college career. McCarron’s arm strength looked just mediocre at the combine, but that isn’t what he relies on to succeed. He is a solid decision maker, with adequate mobility, good size, and throws an accurate, catchable ball. To me he profiles as a back-up, game manager type but some team will fall in love with his intangibles and draft him too early. Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round