The 2014 Scouting Combine is in the rear-view mirror and the draft is within sight. That's why we're tracking some of the more intriguing names as we get closer to the 2014 NFL Draft (May 8-10). Check back frequently for updates as we break down the best options for a new class of fantasy football stars.
Blake Bortles, Central Florida
Scouting report: Bortles has outstanding size, mobility, and intangibles. He has quick feet in his drop and a very deliberate throwing motion. He doesn't have a huge arm but he can make all of the necessary throws. When he has a clean pocket and throws in rhythm, he is very accurate to all three levels. However, when he has bodies around him, he falls off throws and his accuracy suffers. He throws a lot of bubble screens in UCF's offense, but there are examples of him advancing deep into a progression. He has the athleticism to extend plays and is a dangerous runner. He is raw but he does have a big upside.
Fantasy scouting report: Bortles has some strengths, but his myriad of question marks makes him more of a project. If he's going to be successful, he'll need to be in a situation with plenty of receiving help. So it's hard to imagine a better landing spot than the Texans. Andre Johnson still has some gas left in the tank and DeAndre Hopkins is an emerging talent on the other side. Add a healthy Arian Foster to the mix and it's a nice offensive support system for any young quarterback. - Marcas Grant
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Scouting report: The buzz has seemingly cooled on Bridgewater's prospects, but astute evaluators recognize his exceptional intangibles and pocket-passing skills. Bridgewater capably makes every throw in the book with zip, velocity and touch. Additionally, he is a superb leader with a high football IQ and a knack for playing well in big games.
Fantasy scouting report: Bridgewater looks like a little more of a ready-made starting QB option than Bortles or McCarron. That said, he'll still need a little help to get a team going in the right direction. Josh Gordon alone would make Cleveland an interesting fit for Bridgewater. There would be some intrigue to see him throwing to Cecil Shorts in Jacksonville as well. However, the Vikings seem like a better option. Cordarrelle Patterson appears ready for big things in his second season. Greg Jennings and Kyle Rudolph are steadying veteran presences and the addition of Norv Turner as offensive coordinator is everything a young player could ask for. - MG
Derek Carr, Fresno State
Scouting report: Carr has average size (6-3, 218) but has a big arm and plus athleticism. He operates in the Bulldogs' spread attack that features a ton of quick-hitting throws. He has a very quick release and generates plenty of velocity. He's very accurate on short and intermediate passes but his deep ball accuracy is spotty. Also, he has a bad habit of falling off throws when facing pressure, which drastically affects his accuracy. He doesn't have great pocket awareness but when he does escape pressure, he has the speed to pick up chunk yardage. Since becoming the fulltime starter in 2011, he has thrown for 12,730 yards, 113 touchdowns and only 24 interceptions.
Fantasy scouting report: With a strong arm and above average accuracy, Carr does just about everything you'd want from a quarterback -- he just needs time to do it. He spent his senior season in an offense that relied on a quick release and short throws. It's a skill set that could transition well to Norv Turner's offense in Minnesota. - MG
Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinoi
Scouting report: Garoppolo's stock began picking up steam as the scounting season progressed. There is a lot to like about his demeanor on the field and poise under pressure. During his four-year career at Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo set a number of passing records thanks to his skills in delivering the football. However, questions about his mechanics and arm strength have persisted. As have concerns about his size. Like most of the quarterbacks in this class, Garoppolo is far from a finished product and is likely to fall to the second round.
Fantasy scouting report: Garoppolo's skill set is best suited to an offense that relies on getting the ball out quickly. Having played primarily in a shotgun set during his career, there are questions about how we will handle detailed reads and multiple options. Because he's not afraid to check down, having a pass-catching back could be important to Garoppolo's success. However it could also lead to an Alex Smith-like reputation as the new "Captain Checkdown."- MG
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Scouting report: The most exciting player in college football will serve as a fascinating case study for evaluators in the spring. While Manziel is an improvisational wizard with an alpha dog mentality, he is an undersized quarterback who prefers to do his damage outside of the pocket. That trait will make him a coveted commodity by coaches willing to live on the edge, but some coaches will question whether Manziel can play within the confines of a rigid system.
Fantasy scouting report: Manziel will be my highest-ranked rookie quarterback, regardless of his team. In fact, I've just about penciled him as my No. 2 quarterback for next year just based on his potential alone. But if I'm fantasy booking the draft, I want Manziel on the Browns. If nothing else, because Browns fans need something good in their lives. But for fantasy, Manziel is a master of improvisational skills and extending plays. I can only imagine the damage he and Josh Gordon could do together with some extra time in the pocket. - Adam Rank
A.J. McCarron, Alabama
Scouting report: McCarron has good size (6-4, 214). He has been a consistently efficient passer the last three seasons, completing 67 percent of his passes each year. He is a pure pocket passer and throws with timing, anticipation and accuracy. He doesn't have a big arm but he can generate sufficient velocity when he incorporates his lower half. Unfortunately, he often fails to drive off his back foot and his ball loses steam. He isn't a great athlete but he's very accurate when he's flushed from the pocket. Alabama is 36-4 with two national titles since McCarron became the starter in 2011.
Fantasy scouting report: Throughout his college career, McCarron was the picture of consistency. It's hard to knock him for that. However, he lacks the spectacular playmaking ability that would portend to him being a fantasy star on the next level. McCarron's best bet would be to sit behind another starter for a couple of seasons to learn the ropes. However, if his destiny is to be a first-year NFL starter, he'll be best served landing in a place like Houston. - MG
Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Scouting report: At times during his LSU career, Mettenberger was viewed as the college equivalent of a game manager. Despite his great size and arm strenght, Mettenberger struggled at times with a slow delivery and a lack of poise under pressure. It also won't help that the missed the Combine because of a knee injury. Yet for all of the negatives, NFL scouts should like that he spent time in a pro-style offense under former NFL offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Nonetheless, Mettenbeger doesn't appear ready to take the reins of an NFL offense.
Fantasy scouting report: Much like Logan Thomas, Mettenberger is likely to fall to the second or third day in the draft and will need some polish before he can compete for any serious time in the league. His skills might be best suited for an offense with an established starter and some quality wide receivers. - MG
Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
Scouting report: You can't teach size and that's something Thomas -- who was a star tight end in high school -- has in abundance. It makes him an imposing presence in the pocket, but doesn't make up for deficiencies in other areas. As a converted signal-caller, Thomas struggled at times with football, mechanics, accuracy and touch. Arm strength, however, has never been an issue. Overall, Thomas is a major project and might not see the field for a couple of seasons.
Fantasy scouting report: Thomas has the look of a classic pocket passer, if not the complete skill set. In order to be successful, he will need to land in a system with a lot of established pieces, especially at the receiver spot. The chances of Thomas seeing any significant time in 2014 seems slim, so fantasy owners might want to keep an eye on him simply for developmental purposes. - MG