We here at the Art of Score realize the amount of over-saturation and further more, the absurdity of handing out draft grades to players and teams before guys have even played one down of professional football. However, we also realize the demand for some type of fantasy feedback, particularly for those of you in dynasty drafts who will be drafting players before you get to see any of these guys in pads.
As such, we’re going to give you these positional rankings now – put them in your input file, and let’s watch how they change over the course of the summer.
1.) Teddy Bridgewater – Vikings – I’ve felt all along from a talent perspective Bridgewater was the best QB in this draft. Going to Minnesota is pretty good for him for a few reasons. First if he struggles in camp and isn’t ready for the season there’s no QB in the NFL that says “stopgap” more than Matt Cassel – so the Vikes shouldn’t feel pressured to start Bridgewater if he’s not ready. Second, Norv Turner apparently pushed for Ted (I feel weird to keep calling him “Teddy”) so Turner believes in him and will design the offense for him. And third the Vikings will still emphasis the run game under Adrian Peterson – as anyone will tell you a heavy run game can slow down pass rushers, and give an inexperienced QB more time to make quality decisions. In redraft leagues, unless Bridgewater clearly wins the job out of preseason, and looks very good doing it – I’m probably not drafting him – even as a low end backup. He’s going to take some time I predict – but in dynasty drafts he’s one of the few QB assets I’d like to have from 2014. Probably a mid 2nd round dynasty pick.
2.) Tom Savage – Texans – Ok I know the next two guys on this list have more hype, seem more pro-ready, and have zero chance of not starting at some point in 2014. But to me with Savage you play the long game here and see if you win. You’ll hear a lot of buzz about Ryan Mallet coming to Houston and if that happens it probably pushes off Savage’s debut 2 seasons or so (I don’t believe in Mallet). And in 2-3 years Arian Foster and Andre Johnson could be gone from what was an explosive offense. However, what makes Savage attractive in spite of this uncertainty is that he has better tools than most at the position – he has better size, better accuracy, and better decision making than Manziel, and he’s got a better arm than Bortles. In redraft leagues he’s a non draft for 2014 – on the off-chance he comes in as the 2014 starter, a backup to a low risk starter (Manning, Rodgers, Brees, etc) might be feasible. In dynasty rookie drafts – if you have a development roster spot – spending a 3rd or 4th rd pick on him may yield you a top 15 QB in a few seasons.
3.) Johnny Manziel – Browns – Crazy is as crazy does. In less than a week, Josh Gordon has started to face the possibility of a year long suspension, reports have surfaced that most of the Browns scouting department and coaches wanted Teddy Bridgewater, and that the owner Jim Haslam apparently overruled everyone on the advice of a homeless dude. Now, whether that last part is just an urban legend, or a terribly misguided PR move – I don’t know, and I don’t care. Look Manziel is polarizing, so no matter what I say about him you are going to have your opinion on whether he can play in this league. I think he’s the type of guy to have 3-4 seasons of a few highlight plays, be generally mediocre – be loved or hated way beyond that level, and then slip into the ether. He’s smaller and slower than RG3, doesn’t seem to have the decision making that Russel Wilson has, and lacks the accuracy of Andrew Luck. Yet I’m supposed to believe somehow that this guy is the league’s next superstar? Not buying it. Assuming he starts this year in Cleveland in redraft formats he may be worth looking at from the perspective of his scrambling – but keep in mind that usually has a shelf life (as RG3 found out) – and he has low end backup value on that. In rookie drafts, the guy is going to be drafted 2nd round, whether it’s by you depends whether you think Manziel has game beyond his legs. If I was drafting in dynasty I would pick him if I thought he would have a highlight or two his rookie year and then try to trade him.
4.) Blake Bortles – Jaguars – Well the Jags believe in him so he’ll probably be given the keys to drive asap. Bortles has great height and weight for an NFL QB, and he’s fairly mobile – but I am highly skeptical of his ability to throw the ball. In college he had a ton, and I mean probably the majority of his time in a one read system – complete with extremely short drops of 2 or less. A lot of QB’s look great in bubble screen systems – but can he throw the ball down the field? I say not really, but based on a draft position this guy will be a starter in the league for at least 2-3 seasons. For redraft purposes he is undraftable to me even if he’s the opening day starter, I mean if he heats up you can also try a waiver wire on him. In rookie drafts, if you’re fairly desperate for a backup QB you can take him in the late 3rd or 4th rounds knowing that at least he’ll start some games this year.
5.) Jimmy Garoppolo – Patriots – A testament to how weak this QB class seems to me is that I’m putting Garoppolo over players that have a much clearer path to starting. If the Pats hadn’t chosen Jimmy he may well have been the 2nd or 3rd best QB fantasy option in this draft. As it stands right now Garoppolo is undraftable in redraft leagues, and in dynasty leagues is a high risk pick that depends a lot on how you view him. I think Jimmy is talented, I think learning under Brady would be good for him, but I also think it’s impossible to know if he’s the next Pat’s QB. And if he’s not New England’s successor than you have to check the trajectory of guys like Matt Cassel and Ryan Mallet (to be determined) and figure out if you like his FA chances in 3 seasons. I would take a flier on him in dynasty leagues if you have a developmental spot he seems to be exactly the player you hold that spot for, and unlike Mallet I believe that the possibility of the Pats job may be up for grabs by the end of his rookie contract. I’d take him over Bortles in dynasty at about the same spot in the draft if my team already had a competent backup QB on the roster.
Derrick Carr – Raiders – nobody wants to get involved with the Raiders’ mess do they?
Logan Thomas – Cardinals – The most fascinating of the QB’s to me unpredictable. A better Cam Newton? Or out of the league in 2 years?
Zach Mettenberger – Titans – Not a great potential guy, but path to QB may only be blocked by shaky and often injured Locker.
Aaron Murray – Chiefs – Small, lack of arm strength, and recovering from a torn ACL. May have some intangibles. May also have been drafted solely for contract leverage with Alex Smith.
David Fales – Bears – Getting to work with Trestman is nice, working with Cavanaugh is even better. Capable backup player – ironically may have a career a lot like recently departed Josh McCown.
AJ McCarron – Bengals – McCarron seems to have some potential starter traits good arm, size, decision making average. But he’s missing something elite – and he’s not going to find it in Cincy behind Dalton.
Tajh Boyd – Jets – A run 1st QB 3rd string back up to Geno Smith and Michael Vick. I don’t see Boyd ever starting an NFL game.
Keith Wenning – Ravens – Wenning is probably a better QB than 2 or 3 of the guys that went ahead of him in the draft. But he’s clearly on track for NFL career backup…although that career may last longer than people think.
Garret Gilbert – Rams – Possible conversion to WR? Either way Bradford has nothing to worry about from QB competition.