ZI think everybody believes the Bengals will draft a quarterback at some point. With Andy Dalton's contract expiring and negotiations seemingly far apart, expect the Bengals to be proactive in finding a QB that can play and keep this talented roster afloat in 2016 or even 2015 if Dalton doesn't get franchise tagged.
After hours of watching these QB prospects, I feel confident in my analysis and conclusions. Here are the best Quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Teddy Bridgewater - Louisville - 6'2" - 210 lbs.
Most game-ready QB I've graded since Andrew Luck and ahead of RG3. Bridgewater does everything you'd expect in a QB - He has a great short game, manipulates the pocket, has good anticipation and is very intelligent. Basically, all of the qualities we take for granted at QB. Accuracy can be inconsistent deep, but it doesn't stem from a physical limitation. It shouldn't hold him back. Frame is slight, but Teddy is very young and should easily gain weight with time. I'm continually impressed by his tape.
Blake Bortles - Central Florida - 6'5" - 235 lbs.
Bortles has good size and athleticism with room left to grow. He lower mechanics needs rewiring as he often fades away from throws, doesn't push off the back foot and throws from a narrow base. All issues rob Bortles of potential arm strength and accuracy consistency. Bortles made some impressive plays in the pocket, but it was inconsistent; Sometimes allowed pressure to affect his mechanics and release. Let Bortles sit in 2014 and allow him to work some of these issues out.
Johnny Manziel - Texas A&M - 6'0" - 207 lbs.
Manziel is the most exciting QB prospect since Newton. He's electric and seems to be on another level than his opponents. The game comes easy to him as you see him toy with defenders and run circles around them. He's going to create huge plays both positive and negative. He can throw the football and has made huge strides as a passer over the past year. Will have durability concerns because of his size and play style but toughness should not be questioned. I would love to have him.
Aaron Murray - Georgia - 6'0" - 206 lbs.
Murray may be very close to his ceiling, but if healthy, could've easily graded out as my #2 QB. His accuracy, anticipation and quick release remind me of the smaller QB everyone compares smaller QBs to. Murray is going to end up starting in the NFL, I just don't know how much better he'll get. Where is he a potential upgrade to Dalton? -- Anticipation and Intermediate Accuracy.
Derek Carr - Fresno State - 6'2" - 214 lbs.
Carr has the experience, pedigree, arm strength and football IQ that teams will love. His inconsistencies stem from mechanical breakdowns when he faces pressure and needs to improvise. Can that be fixed? As of now, Carr is a low-end starter with tremendous upside on a play-by-play basis because he can make any throw and some that other QBs can't. Overall, I think he is who he is.
Keith Wenning - Ball State - 6'3" - 218 lbs.
Wenning is the best pure passer in this draft. He's accurate at all levels of the field and he's the only QB I can say that about. His deep accuracy was easily the best in the class. Wenning throws with a rare touch and shows good anticipation.
He doesn't have the biggest arm, isn't very mobile and played at Ball State. He's a QB I would love to take late in the draft and see what he can be in the NFL.
Logan Thomas - Virginia Tech - 6'6" - 248 lbs.
Thomas shows flashes that cannot be replicated by another QB in this draft. His 10 best plays are as good as anybody's 10 best, but his 10 worst plays are worse than anybody's. A coach will love the size, arm, athleticism. He never developed in college and that's the biggest worry. Many will tell you that the Virginia Tech coaching staff did him no favors. Huge upside.
Brett Smith - Wyoming - 6'2" - 207 lbs.
Mobile, Improvises, Accurate on short, but small with a weak arm. Smith's mechanics look exactly like Andrew Luck's but the physical limitations will probably keep him from being a quality starter. He's worth the lottery ticket pick because of accuracy and pocket management.
AJ McCarron - Alabama - 6'3" - 220 lbs.
If he didn't play at Alabama and wasn't a part of 3 BCS championships, McCarron wouldn't get mentioned nearly as much. An NFL team will take him and try to eventually start him. The only redeeming quality McCarron has that translates is Anticipation, but that's a good one to have.
Zach Mettenberger - LSU - 6'5" - 224 lbs.
If healthy, Mettenbeger's grade would make him my #5 QB. Size, Arm Strength and Pro System experience will make him attractive, but his immobility and reckless passing style may limit his upside. At times, Mettenberger's anticipation is jaw-dropping and other times you're concern that he's throwing so early, that he's going to turn the ball over too much in the NFL. Fearlessness in pocket can impress and also will be cause for injury concerns his entire career. Character concerns as well.
Tahj Boyd - Clemson - 6'1" - 222 lbs.
Boyd is smaller, athletic, makes bad decisions and is very erratic in the intermediate level. What he does well is shown in the short game, pocket calmness and deep catchable passes. Boyd leveled off after his junior year and never took the next step. Had premium talent around him. I still think he has some potential left. If we're talking rounds 4-6, I'm interested.
David Fales - San Jose - 6'2" - 202 lbs.
Fales is still an unknown to most because he really doesn't stand out in one area but some scouts like him because he flashes in every area. I think he's at least an NFL backup. Some say he's a top 5 QB in this class. Perhaps I've underestimated his accuracy, football IQ and anticipation.
Jimmy Garoppolo - Eastern Illinois - 6'2" - 226 lbs.
Garoppolo is a name being mentioned in the top 60 picks, but I don't see it. His best qualities are quick decisions and quick release. His flaws outweigh those strengths in the form of seeing/feeling ghost pressure and a limited arm. Garoppolo has some surprising athleticism and quick improvising skills to him that flash some Tony Romo. Maybe that's what NFL teams see when combined with that quick release?
Tom Savage - Pittsburgh - 6'4" - 228 lbs.
Savage has played for three different schools, but hasn't put together enough quality starts. He has the size and arm strength, but might be the most inaccurate passer on this list. If I'm looking for the reasons as to why Savage is being rumored as a top 60 pick, it's the 2 or 3 flashes a game when he looks calm in the pocket, goes through progressions and rifles a nice pass to the intermediate section of the field.
Stephen Morris - Miami - 6'2" - 213 lbs.
Morris has an Electric arm. Ball rips out of his hand with a tight spiral. When he gets hot, some of his throws are beautiful. The downside is that he's all over the road for about 90% of the game. You never know what's going to happen when he drops back. Worth a late pick just for the arm and athleticism.
Keith Price - Washington - 6'1" - 196 lbs.
Price is a broken QB. He had the worst OL of these QBs and if shows. Every snap is an adventure and every throw is a mystery where it will land. He fights hard and keeps working, but he's not somebody I would be drafting and trying to fix. Let some other team handle that uphill battle.
Connor Shaw - South Carolina - 6'0" - 206 lbs.
Shaw is going to start a few games in his career and win a couple. He'll show toughness, moxie and enough grit that fans will love him. At best, he develops into Jeff Garcia, but he's probably closer to Bruce Gradkowski. The flashes of deep accuracy and touch can be impressive. I would love to take him late or undrafted.
Bryn Renner - North Carolina - 6'3" - 228 lbs.
Renner is just a guy in many phases of the game. Looks like a competent backup from a pro style system UNC. Flashes of accuracy and anticipation with loads of experience.
Kennny Guiton - Ohio State - 6'2" - 200 lbs.
Just a handful of starts for Guiton but he showed off some deep accuracy, a strong arm and mobility to make him a developmental QB for some team.