Three years from now, which quarterback will we say was the best from the 2014 class?
Teddy Bridgewater is in a great situation. He doesn't have to start right away and he'll eventually take over an offense with a dominant running attack and one of the most explosive young WRs in the NFL. I believe he'll be the most productive QB in this class when we revisit this group in 2017.
The answer here is Blake Bortles. The Jaguars might have surprised us with the selection of the UCF QB (the widespread belief was that they would take LB Khalil Mack or WR Sammy Watkins) at No. 3. However, put his potential with Jags GM Dave Caldwell (who added nice supporting pieces for Bortles in the draft in WRs Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, G Brandon Linder and RB Storm Johnson), head coach Gus Bradley and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, and Bortles could be special.
Teddy Bridgewater will be the quarterback hailed as the best in the 2014 class when we look back on it in three years. He is in an ideal situation in Minnesota with a Pro Bowl RB, veteran WR corps and a strong offensive line. Plus, he is playing in a QB-friendly system directed by Norv Turner, who is considered one of the best offensive minds in football. Given the importance of a solid supporting cast and a detailed-oriented coaching staff, I believe Bridgewater will outshine his peers quickly in the NFL.
Johnny Manziel has all of the on-the-field skills -- arm strength, running ability and intelligence -- to be a special player and is my choice to be the best in the 2014 class. I do think that Blake Bortles will challenge him over the next three years, though, and the reason I say that is because he'll be playing in much better weather. It's a big advantage to play the bulk of your games in weather-friendly situations. Bortles will play outdoors in Jacksonville and Tennessee, as well as indoors in Houston and Indianapolis. Manziel will have a lot of weather challenges to compete against, including outdoor games in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, which could have inclement weather from November to the end of the season. Despite those challenges, though, I'm still sticking with Manziel.
- Chase Goodbread College Football 24/7
Jags have right plan for Bortles
Jacksonville's Blake Bortles, given three years, will be at the head of the draft class at his position. The fact that he'll get the chance to learn and develop as a rookie this year will be a luxury for both he and the club (GM David Caldwell has indicated that's the plan). Presumably, he'll take his lumps in Year 2, but by Year 3, he'll be able to match quality experience with what should be a better cast of offensive weapons in Jacksonville. If Luke Joeckel and Marqise Lee are playing to their potential at that time, Bortles will be a force.
- Mike Huguenin College Football 24/7
With help, Bridgewater will shine
I think Teddy Bridgewater was the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft, and assuming Minnesota can surround him with at least adequate talent, I think Bridgewater can star. Adrian Peterson's health obviously will have an impact on Bridgewater, as a healthy Peterson takes a ton of pressure off Bridgewater. And unlike holdover QBs Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder, Bridgewater has a high ceiling. It's up to the Vikings' front office to make sure he has complementary talent.
- Bryan Fischer College Football 24/7
Bridgewater has the edge
In three years, I think the jury will still be out, but I'll lean toward Teddy Bridgewater. He walks into a great situation in Minnesota with a good offensive line, the league's best running back in Adrian Peterson and one of the league's best offensive coordinators in Norv Turner. I'm not saying he'll be putting up the biggest numbers of all the quarterbacks, but in terms of doing what is asked and winning games, I think Bridgewater is the answer three years from now.