Excellent depth characterizes the quarterback class for the 2014 NFL Draft. It does not contain no-brainer superstars like the 2012 class, but fans should expect a much stronger class than last year’s draft.
Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater leads this year’s QB class. The rising junior excelled in his second season as a starter, throwing for 3,718 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing 68 percent of his passes. At 6’3”, 218lbs, Bridgewater has the size and natural passing ability of an elite franchise QB. He burst onto the national spotlight with his Sugar Bowl performance against an elite Florida defense, and if he picks up from there, then Bridgewater should find himself in the top five selections in 2014.
Big names such as Texas A&M’s Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, and Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas also help boost the stock of the 2014 QB class. These prospects are legitimate threats to be taken in the first round. Murray stands as the lone non-dual-threat, but his passing skills may be the best of any 2014 prospect after Bridgewater. Manziel, Boyd, and Thomas can shred opposing defenses with their arms and legs. However, they must progress even more this season to solidify themselves as first round picks.
As previously mentioned, the depth of this class is where its strength lies. The other top QBs include A.J. McCarron (Ala.), David Fales (San Jose St.), Braxton Miller (Ohio St.), Derek Carr (Fresno St.), Keith Price (Wash.), Bryn Renner (UNC), Zach Mettenberger (LSU), Jeff Driskel (Fla.), Marcus Mariota (Ore.), and Brent Hundley (UCLA) among many other notable QBs. These are all recognizable names to even the average college football fan, which speaks volumes towards the depth of this class. However, players like Price and Mettenberger must overcome some inconsistent play in order for scouts to become sold on them.
Chuckie Keaton is the sleeper of the draft. The rising junior is skilled and experienced as he prepares to lead the Utah State Aggies to a WAC title. The 6’2”, 200lb dual-threat QB was tremendous last year while throwing for 3,373 yards, 27 touchdowns, and a 68 percent completion rate. Keaton has been the Aggie starter since he stepped on campus as a freshman. In his first collegiate game, Keaton went into a hostile Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn and nearly took down the then-defending national champions if not for a miracle onside kick. His skill set is similar to Colin Kaepernick, and he has the experience to add to his confidence heading into an NFL training camp. Come next May, Keaton could be a hot commodity and could find himself off the board by the second round.
The 2014 class may not have an Andrew Luck or RGIII to boast, but its depth makes it very strong and appealing to NFL teams. Bridgewater is the king pin, but the other signal callers mentioned bring much skill and experience to the mix. This May will be a breath of fresh air after 2013 regarding QBs.