Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been disparaged and seen his game picked apart the past few weeks, but he remains the class of the quarterback class in this draft, NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah says.
Jeremiah had Bridgewater as the leader of his top tier of quarterbacks Monday on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft." Fellow analyst Curtis Conway also has Bridgewater No. 1, and while analyst Charles Davis has Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel as his top signal-caller, he said he believes Bridgewater is due to rise again on draft boards.
"It's not a huge disagreement," Davis said. "I like Manziel at No. 1 ... but I think Bridgewater at No. 2 -- he's going to rise again. He's getting beat up all the time now. That's too much for me. I've watched too much production from him to get beat up like that."
Bridgewater, once considered by many a potential No. 1 overall pick, has seen his stock plummet after a much-criticized pro day workout that NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock described as "average at best."
In NFL.com's latest mock drafts, Bridgewater is still projected by most analysts to be a top-10 pick. Jeremiah actually has Bridgewater going No. 26 to the Browns, but he has said that projection has less to do with his personal evaluation of Bridgewater and more about the current buzz in NFL circles.
At the top of Jeremiah's second tier is Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo, whom Jeremiah praised for his "quick feet (and) quick release." No. 2 in the second tier is Alabama's AJ McCarron, whom Jeremiah called "a very good decision-maker," followed by Pitt's Tom Savage, whom Jeremiah said has a huge arm that enables him to make throws no other QB in the draft could make.
LSU's Zach Mettenberger and Georgia's Aaron Murray rounded out the second tier. Jeremiah said one reason he has Mettenberger ahead of Murray is that Mettenberger's "size and tools fit more offenses" than Murray's. Jeremiah said Murray best fits in a "pure West Coast scheme" and probably wouldn't fit as well on a team such as Cleveland, where his limited arm strength might not work as well in windy conditions.
Davis has Murray at the top of his second tier. He says Murray has an "underestimated" arm and is sort of "a poor man's Drew Brees." Conway said he likes McCarron the best among the second tier.
Jeremiah's third tier is led by San Jose State's David Fales, whom he describes as a "very efficient player." Completing the tier are Clemson's Tajh Boyd, whose running ability is "a nice bonus"; North Carolina's Bryn Renner; and Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, called "wildly inconsistent" by Jeremiah. Conway is higher on Boyd than Jeremiah is, saying he thinks Boyd belongs in the second tier.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.