Google Searching for the Next Great QB
By Guest Writer Hughtavious Hill:
With only one game left in the NFL season, attention has started to shift toward the 2014 NFL Draft. As always, the most heated debates will center on the quarterback position. This year, there are plenty of variables and question marks among the four marquee QBs: Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron.
As NFL scouts (and NFL fans) become more sophisticated, the nature of scouting has evolved as well. Instead of relying on simple measurables and game tape, evaluators have started to learn and utilize the nuances of advanced metrics and statistical analysis. Draftniks continue to push the envelope to get smarter and smarter.
Which is exactly why we’re about to do the opposite. Everyone’s going smart, so let’s go dumb. In determining which of these QBs will breakout and which will bust, we’re going to gauge five major factors, relying on only a simple google search.
To be a franchise QB, you don’t need a great name. But it can’t hurt. We need to sell jerseys here, people.
Teddy Bridgewater: We start strong out of the gate. If someone was writing a sports movie about a talented QB who comes in and saves the local high school, “Teddy Bridgewater” might just be his name. +10 points
Blake Bortles: Are you serious? Blake Bortles? To be fair, Mr. and Mrs. Bortles didn’t exactly have the coolest surname to work with here, but doubling down on the alliteration of “Blake Bortles” was a major misstep for their son’s future pro prospects. Teddy Bridgewater sounds like a franchise QB. Blake Bortles sounds like someone you want to punch in the face. -25 points
Johnny Manziel: “Johnny Manziel” may not sound like anything special, but Aggie fans will cite his awesome nickname — “Johnny Football.” But… is it awesome? Have we all agreed to that? I mean, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch — these are awesome nicknames. Johnny “Football” sounds like something that Brick Tamland created on the fly. Still, it beats Blake Bortles. +5 points
A.J. McCarron: Raymond Anthony McCarron Jr. prefers to go by “A.J.” which is a red flag from the start. How many top QBs utilize initials? There’s Buffalo starter E.J. Manuel, Houston backup T.J. Yates, and some dude on Philadelphia named G.J. Kinne whom I’m still not convinced is a real person. People might point to the all-time great Y.A. Tittle, but I was too scared to research him, for fear my autocorrect would me down a dark road of distraction. -5 points
If we’re relying on only the most basic information possible, we need to check to see if any of these QBs have won a national championship or Heisman trophy. And avoid them at all costs. After all, the true elite QBs in the NFL — Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees — didn’t bother with those silly college achievements.
Teddy Bridgewater: No Heisman, check. No title, check. Teddy did win a couple of bowl games, but we’ll let that slide. +5 points
Blake Bortles: Blake Bortles smartly stayed under the radar for most of his college career; I doubt most people knew his name until these last few months. He did get uppity and win a BCS bowl, but he’s still solid here. +5 points
Johnny Manziel: A Heisman trophy? As a freshman? Johnny, your stock is dropping already. -10 points
A.J. McCarron: A.J. never put up enough stats to garner a Heisman trophy, but he did lead Alabama to two national championships, which immediately makes you wonder how he could ever be an effective NFL QB. -20 points
You can’t simply lump quarterbacks from the same schools together and presume that they’re all the same. That is, unless you want to save yourself time. Consider it done.
Teddy Bridgewater: Back under Bobby Petrino, Louisville was a factory for good college QBs who would turn into mediocre pro QBs, including Chris Redman and Brian Brohm. In case you forgot about Brian Brohm, he was Green Bay’s second round pick, who ended up losing the backup job to their seventh round pick, Matt Flynn. Who ended up losing his job to Russell Wilson (understandable) and Terrelle Pryor (yikes). -20 points
Blake Bortles: Central Florida coach George O’Leary is a great man – not only did he coach at Notre Dame, but according to his resume, he ran the papacy and U.S. treasury for a spell. But the program has only been playing D-I since 1996, so it’s understandable that the Knights have never had a QB get drafted. Wait… what? Daunte Culpepper went to UCF? Seriously? Who knew. +10 points
Johnny Manziel: Surely, Johnny Manziel learned how to be a pro during his redshirt year, as he sat back and watched Ryan Tannehill “lead” Texas A&M to a 7-6 record. The lesson — if that dude can be a top 10 pick, then he certainly could, too. Of course, since then, the GM who selected Tannehill (Mike Ireland) and the coach who vouched for him (Mike Sherman) have both been fired. -10 points
A.J. McCarron: Recent Alabama QBs have gotten the rotten reputation as being mere game “managers,” but I don’t think that’s fair. Sure, John Parker Wilson and Greg McElory were smart guys who managed games, but people forget about Brodie Croyle, whom I wouldn’t trust to manage an Arby’s. -20 points
4. DISTINGUISHING FEATURE
Teddy Bridgewater: By all accounts, Bridgewater is a hard worker who’s intelligent and savvy enough to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. All that said, the guy has what we call Dumb Resting Face.
And before you write hate letters, realize that’s not a racist remark — the president of the Dumb Resting Face association is none other than Eli Manning.
While other QBs may be focusing on the holes in the Cover 2, Eli and Teddy both look like they’re trying to figure out what happened in American Hustle. And here’s the twist: it’s not a bad thing. In fact, it probably explains why Eli Manning‘s been so good in the playoffs. Whereas brother Peyton gets caught up in pressure and the impact on his legacy, Eli can just sit there, admire how darn pretty the clouds look, lob a pass into the air, and wonder if David Tyree can find it. +30 points
That said, Premature Aging isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Greg Oden may have tanked, but LeBron James lived up to the hype. Plus, there’s bound to be a Necessary Roughness remake sooner or later. +10 points
But please, don’t feel sorry for Manziel. The man has vision. He has eyes in the back of his head. Just as he sets up safeties with a pump fake, he’s simply setting us up for a huge cash grab endorsement with ProActiv+. Well played, my friend. +20 points
It may be unconventional, but it’s not unprecedented. Colin Kaepernick has a similar look, and he’s been lighting it up in the NFL. That said, there is a slight difference between them. It’s easy to get away with chest tattoos when you’ve got a rocket arm and a set of wheels like Kaepernick; the chest ink doesn’t look quite as badass when your primary skill is “avoiding turnovers.” -25 points
5. SIGNIFICANT OTHER
If television and movies have taught me anything, it’s that evil henchman have terrible aim, and that quarterbacks need charisma. And clearly, charisma translates in an ability to get hot women. So let’s see how these guys are doing on that very important front.
Before you judge, remember that Oscar de la Hoya made a nice little career for himself. +10 points.
I would be surprised, but I’m pretty sure that one of Central Florida’s core class requirements is Breast Enhancement 101. I hope it works out for these crazy kids.
Johnny Manziel: Johnny’s been scoring on and off the field for years at College Station, but rumor is that he’s settled down with a girl named Lauren Hanley.
Heynow. Scouts have long debated how Johnny’s lack of prototypical size will cause him to get injured in the NFL. I’m far more concerned about how it’ll affect him with this girl. -50 points
A.J. McCarron: As we all know, A.J. McCarron has been dating nouveau-celeb Katherine Webb. Plenty of Alabama coeds are hot, but only a few are so hot that they cause Brent Musburger to be registered as a sex offender.
At first glance, Katherine Webb’s presence bodes well for A.J.’s prospects in the NFL. After all, Tom Brady is married to Gisele (and had knocked up that other actress whose name we all — and I’m including Tom — have forgotten). But there’s a clear difference here. Gisele is famous. Katherine Webb is trying to be famous. On Friday night, A.J. McCarron needs to be studying the Steelers’ blitz packages, not going to the red carpet for Powerwalking with the Stars. -100 points
1. Teddy Bridgewater: 35 points
2. Blake Bortles: -20 points
3. Johnny Manziel: -45 points
4. A.J. McCarron: -170 points
Our GOOGLE SEARCH test favors Teddy Bridgewater, but none faired all that well. All that said, we’ve learned two very important lessons today — it’s difficult to be an NFL QB, and it’s even harder to be a public figure in the internet era.