Players are starting to trickle into Indianapolis as they report for the 2014 NFL Draft Combine. Workouts don’t really begin until Saturday, but plenty of important information is gained on the days leading up to drills. Thursday’s arrivals are particularly important for the Jaguars because they may be getting their first look at their future franchise quarterback.
Merited or not, the weigh-in and measurements for quarterbacks have a pretty significant effect on their overall projection to the NFL. Two years ago, Russell Wilson’s height was arguably the sole reason he failed to be drafted in the first round. This year, some of the top prospects come into the combine with questions about their height, weight, and overall build.
Of the top 3 prospects, Blake Bortles is probably the only one who is going to come out looking like a prototypical quarterback. Listed at 6’4″ and 230 pounds, Bortles looks every bit of his publicized size. On the flip side, Johnny Manziel is listed at 6’1″ and 210 pounds. Most people don’t think Johnny Football is 6 feet tall and his bulk may be exaggerated. Similarly, Teddy Bridgewater is listed 6’3″ and 193 pounds, which would be a tad lighter than most would prefer for a quarterback his height.
It’s become cliché to downplay the importance of size – and height in particular – thanks to the recent success of short quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, but there is a valid argument hidden in the oversimplification. A guy like Johnny Manziel is similar to Russell Wilson not just because of his stature, but because both players know how to avoid the big hit. Robert Griffin III was an elite runner and athlete coming out of Baylor, but his penchant to fight for the extra yard and lay out on almost every play has led to an injury-riddled two seasons in the NFL. Manziel has had minor injury issues in college, but he’s managed to avoid major hits despite the massive workload he had as a runner. Teddy Bridgewater isn’t quite as instinctual as Manziel running the football, but his pocket presence is his biggest asset as far as avoiding hits. My biggest concern with Bridgewater is his awkward manner of sliding when scrambling. When someone teaches him how to properly slide, he’ll be golden.
We’ll be seeing a lot of talk this week about the top quarterback prospects and a whole slew of measurements: height, weight, hand size, shoe size, etc. In the end, the tape and the interviews will determine where they are drafted.
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