A Sneak Peak into the Quarterback Class of 2014 – Part I
Over the next few weeks, we’ll examine the potential quarterback class that the Browns can choose from in the upcoming draft. First we’ll take a look at the signal caller’s bowl game then compare that to his stats during the regular season. Obviously, these are only a few of the factors in which scouts will consider when determining which of these (if any) should be selected in May. We’ll go in chronological order – based on his team’s bowl game – the first two quarterbacks are Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater.
Derek Carr (Las Vegas Bowl): 29/54 passes (53.7% completion rate), 216 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception.
Analysis: It was a rather underwhelming performance by the senior quarterback, who played against his stiffest competition of the entire season. Throws were missed – especially in the red zone – and turnovers were included. To add injury to insult, Carr was visibly holding his right arm in the first half. I doubt the injury is severe, or will even linger for that matter, but it definitely did not help things. Of course this outing could be somewhat absolved from NFL talent evaluators’ minds rather quickly if he does all the right things (both with tangibles and intangibles) prior to the draft.
(2013 Season): 453/659 passes (68.7% completion rate), 5,082 yards, 50 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions.
Analysis: These are tremendous statistics by the signal caller. Some may argue that the Mountain West Conference may not be the greatest measuring stick to base his statistics off of. However, touchdowns are still touchdowns and fifty of them are nothing to scoff at. Reviewing a few films of games by Carr this season, and it appears his bread and butter is the shotgun formation with shorter, underneath throws. Browns’ fans could cringe as a result of this, as it looked like similar game plans to what Tim Couch and Brandon Weeden employed in the NCAA. His yards-per-attempt of 7.71 is lower than many of his counterparts – teams will no doubt press the Fresno State star about this. I would highly expect a good deal of longer routes in the Senior Bowl week and the Scouting Combine, however.
Teddy Bridgewater (Russell Athletic Bowl): 35/45 passes (77.7% completion rate), 447 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Analysis: What an incredible performance displayed by Bridgewater; the quarterback made quick decisions, avoided a costly mistake, and put the football where only his targets could catch them. It’s not surprising that opted to leave to school after a performance like that – it’s also unlikely that the signal caller would fall down to the number four draft spot. However, the scouting combine and pro day are still a few months away; spots where his stock could get hurt (I predict limited work to reduce those opportunities). It will be interesting to see the kid’s personality and how he responds to difficult questions and circumstances, both on and off the field.
(2013 Season): 268/382 passes (70.2% completion rate), 3,523 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.
Analysis: His yards-per-attempt is 9.22 – coupled with his exceptional completion percentage, and scouts really like his potential. Like Carr, playing in a perceived lesser conference could be a red flag for the quarterback. Despite tossing for significantly fewer yards and touchdowns than Derek Carr, Bridgewater was more accurate in his throws and was able to limit his turnovers. Also, entering this 2013 campaign, the Louisville signal caller was highly regarded as the best professional prospect. Barring injury or a drastic drop-off, he would still be viewed by many as the best. That turned out to be the case, and depending on what he does in February and March, Bridgewater could land at the first overall draft position.