ESPN conducted a media conference call on Tuesday with Monday Night Football’s Jon Gruden to discuss the SportsCenter Special: Gruden’s QB Camp series and ESPN’s 2014 NFL Draft coverage. ESPN will provide live coverage of the NFL Draft May 8-10, and Gruden will provide analysis on the main set the opening night in prime time.
One of the most polarizing players in this draft class is Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who's reportedly falling down a number of draft boards because of a bad showing at his Pro Day. It seems silly, but Gruden, to a degree, agreed that a bad showing at a Pro Day can significantly hurt a player's draft stock.
I've done a lot of individual workouts in my past as a receiver coach, as a quarterback coach, even as a head coach. If the player didn't work that well for me, I didn't move them down, I took them off our board. So if you're not having good individual workouts, if you don't have a good pro workout, that's part of the evaluation process.
You're going to be moved down or potentially off some people's boards. I'd be concerned if I were any person and I didn't have good private workouts or I had a typically bad pro date.
As for the rest of the QBs in this class, he thinks Fresnop State's Derek Carr and Georgia's Aaron Murray may be the most pro-ready prospects.
Three of the top guys are juniors. I don't think they're physically ready. I don't think they're far along mentally. I think they might be a work in progress for six months or a year. But I do like (Derek) Carr. I like the fifth-year seniors. I think Carr is going to come in and be further along than a lot of these (quarterbacks) because of his vast background, two different systems.
I think he's got an excellent arm. I think he's been challenged from a protection standpoint. I like Aaron Murray from Georgia. I like (A.J.) McCarron. The fifth-year seniors will be the guys that are obviously most ready.
Gruden also spoke glowingly of Murray, who the Bengals could target as a backup for Andy Dalton later in the draft, but Gruden doesn't think he should fall that far.
He's in my top five. I realize he's got some injuries, not just the knee that he's rehabbing right now. He's had some injuries in high school that I'm sure people are also documenting.
But when I watched Georgia play I see production at the quarterback position. I don't think many kids have thrown for 3,000 yards four straight seasons in that conference. I just like what he is off the field. He's an SEC scholar of the year. He has his degree.
He goes to the Senior Bowl on his own just to be in the meetings. He's a football junky. He has a charisma about him. When I saw him down here at our quarterback camp, we have a number of NFL players here, Santonio Holmes, Devin Hester, Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, Kyle Williams.
Murray did a good job with meeting NFL players, college players. I just like a lot of things about him. So he's higher on my board.
Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby recently pleaded guilty to a variation of a DUI charge even though his alcohol content was below the legal limit. With this coming so close to the draft, Gruden believes it, along with a number of other issues with Roby, could cost him in the draft.
Everybody will evaluate it differently but at the same time they'll take this very seriously. It's not good right before the draft to have anything like this occur for many reasons. But they're going to go back and weigh the pros and cons of every one of these players, what they've done on the field and off the field.
All the information I'm sure will be gathered and everybody will have their own interpretation once they gather it. Here is a kid who missed the opening game. He was suspended for some reason. Here is a kid that didn't play against Clemson in the bowl game, I think he had an injury. There are some concerns regarding Bradley Roby.
If the Bengals want to draft an offensive tackle early in this year's draft, there are a number of quality players who could be had in the early rounds.
Morgan Moses at Virginia is a very interesting guy to me. They've had a history of left tackles come out of Virginia. Moses is a kid that played one year at left tackle. He was a right tackle for a couple years. Joel Bitonio at Nevada is an interesting player.
A fifth-year senior, been around, worked hard. I think he has some position flexibility, can play right, left or go inside. I like Zack Martin at Notre Dame. He might be my favorite linemen in this draft – 52-time starter, captain, really excelled at the Senior Bowl, drill work.
Cyrus Kouandjio at Alabama, interesting player. Had some knee issues. I believe he's rounding into health. Massive person with experience on the left side.