2014 NFL Scouting Combine Musings: Quarterbacks


Feb 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Eastern Illinois quarterback James Garoppolo (FL), Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron (L), Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (R), and Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (FR) look on during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With the combine wrapped up, the tendency is to want to overanalyze and pick apart relatively small impact on the overall process.

Johnny Manziel took a substantial amount of the headlines because of who he is and how polarizing he is.  Despite assertions to the contrary by Manziel, he did not quite make the 6′ barrier and while there is a slight psychological impact between 5’11 7/8″ and 6′, the reality is people knew he was short.

They also knew he was not huge even though he has a relatively thick trunk, but 207lbs does make one wonder why that is not a larger concern.  Manziel has big hands and big feet.  None of this is new to anyone who has been paying attention to Manziel, but there are now actual numbers attached, which is helpful if only from the standpoint of answering the question once and for all.  Oh, they also found out he was quick.

He did not throw, so while the measurements matter, everything with Manziel comes down to the medical (nothing odd was expected) and the interviews, which the NFL could have gone any number of different ways depending on the team and people trying to push him in different directions.  Manziel has assuredly been coached and is a charismatic speaker, but it is nevertheless interesting what was asked and how he reacted to it.  Unfortunately, no one will really know the answer other than the teams.

What should not be surprising is Derek Carr’s athleticism.  For those who watched him, he can move and even when he was playing through the sports hernia, he was athletic.  Coming into the season, Carr was timed at a 4.59 at Fresno State and spent his offseason running sprints and speed training with Robbie Rouse, the team’s half back the past couple years.

Teddy Bridgewater should have alleviated many of the concerns he had.  There were some thinking he would measure in right with Manziel in terms of height.  Over 2 inches taller and a few pounds heavier, the concern has now shifted to his hands, reports that he interviewed poorly and that he handled his agent situation poorly.  This could be various teams trying to downplay Bridgewater and create doubt about him, because at some point, it should stand out that he is a really impressive quarterback.

Blake Bortles was the one big name prospect that did compete.  No one is really reacting one way or the other on this issue.  Perhaps people should make a bigger deal out of it, so that more quarterbacks will throw and compete at the combine.  The relative anonymity of this situation suggests that arguments for and against throwing now have more fuel.  Bortles throwing did not hurt him but it remains to be seen how much it helped him.  Until it makes a dramatic improvement and puts another quarterback at a disadvantage, the issue of quarterbacks opting to wait for their pro day is not going to be affected.