Over the last two days, future NFL talent participated in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. After reviewing tape and listening to interviews, there’s no denying that this year’s draft class is super deep with high end talent. On NFL Scout mentioned that this is the deepest draft in 30 years! While there is obvious talent on both sides of the ball, this article will focus strictly on quarterbacks. Fantasy footballers are looking for the next big thing at quarterback. Let’s break down which players were impressive and disappointing during the 2014 NFL Combine.
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: In 2012, Manziel was the first redshirt freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. Manziel took the nation by storm as he operated coach Kevin Sumlin’s ‘Air Raid’ offense at College Station. During his Heisman winning season, Manziel became just the fifth player in FBS history to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards. Manziel also accounted for 21 rushing TDs. During 2013, Manziel’s passing numbers improved. He improved his completion percentage (69.9%) and passing yardage total (4,100 yards).
Manziel is considered to be a Top 5 pick in the draft. Manziel clocked 40-yard dash times of 4.63 and 4.56 seconds, respectively, which puts him in the same class as Andrew Luck (4.65) and Cam Newton (4.59). Manziel is much smaller than Luck and Newton (5’11 3/4, 209 pounds), but makes up for the lack of overall size with abnormally large hands (9 7/8″). Two Super Bowl winning QBs (Drew Brees and Russell Wilson) also check in around 6’0″, but alike Manziel, abnormally large hands work in their favor. Manziel will throw at his Pro Day in March.
Manziel referred to himself as one of the ‘most competitive people on the Earth’, which will hopefully shine through during his team interviews. The Houston Texans, who own the #1 pick, will take a long, hard look at Manziel. New head coach Bill O’Brien is an offensive guru and if he select Manziel with the #1 pick, the Texans may be a step closer to their first Super Bowl title.
- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF: Bortles is a relatively unknown QB from the American Athletic Conference. Bortles led his team to impressive wins over #6 Louisville and #10 Baylor during his junior season. Bortles is much bigger than Manziel (6’5″, 232 pounds), but his hand size is a little smaller (9 3/8″). Bortles ran for 230 yards and 6 TDs, but he isn’t known as a runner and his 40-time (4.81) solidifies that notion. Bortles was one of the only ‘top QBs’ to throw…and he didn’t disappoint. Bortles’ release was effortless. His foot work and accuracy was clean. Bortles’ deep ball accuracy on ‘bucket throws’ was excellent. Bortles will need to clean up his 5-and-7 step drop mechanics, but overall, he looked excellent and took advantage of being one of the only QBs to throw. Bortles is a lock as a Top 10 pick.
- Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson: Boyd had some accuracy issues and his mechanics were not clean. Boyd turned in a 4.85 40-yard dash, which is a little slower than expected.