Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) celebrates after the Russell Athletic Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Top 10 Quarterback Prospect Rankings

1. Teddy Bridgewater – Louisville
Bridgewater has all the tools to be a franchise quarterback at the next level. He puts the perfect amount of velocity and touch on his throws, and makes big time plays with his arm. Bridgewater is also the most refined prospect from inside the pocket. He does a great job going through his reads and finding the open man. He has the leadership mentality that you want in a quarterback prospect. If he was ten pounds heavier there would be no criticism to his game.

2. Derek Carr – Fresno State
Derek Carr has elite arm strength. That is what notches him above the rest of the field. He does have issues with footwork and dealing with pressure in the pocket. He surprised me with his show of athleticism at the combine where he showed good speed in the 40 yard dash. All of the negatives pinned to Carr are things that can be coached in the NFL. He has shown flashes of greatness over his career at Fresno State and I believe he will develop into a good, successful NFL quarterback.

3. Blake Bortles – UCF
When you think about what an NFL quarterback should look like, Blake Bortles comes to mind. At 6’5’’ 230 lbs, he fits the mold of a prototypical NFL quarterback. When I watch tape of Bortles, I see good arm talent mixed with surprising athleticism. He led UCF on many big drives and showed great sustainability throughout the entire season. He could rank up with Ben Roethlisberger at being able to extend plays with his size and mobility.

4. Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel is the biggest wildcard in my eyes. He has all the ability to be a playmaker at the next level. Throughout his entire career he has been a magician behind the offensive line. He does a great job extending plays with his feet and delivering the ball downfield. The tough thing for me to determine is whether or not a great deal of his success can be attributed to the fact that he played with the best offensive line in college football. Johnny Manziel is a real “boom or bust” candidate for me.

5. Brett Smith – Wyoming
Brett Smith is the best quarterback prospect that no one knows about. He played in a lesser conference at Wyoming and was not invited to the scouting combine. Back in January when I sat down to watch Smith’s game tape, I was pleasantly surprised. He showed great poise in the pocket, and the ability to move the chains with his legs if needed. He is very similar to Johnny Manziel in his playing style, but less erratic. You can read my full report on Brett Smith here.

6. Zach Mettenberger – LSU
Another guy who fits the build of a prototypical NFL quarterback is Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger showed great improvement throughout his 2013 season. Working with former NFL offensive coordinator Cam Cameron vastly improved his play. He has a strong-arm and has the ability to make any throw that is asked of him. He does have accuracy issues and tends to fall into an interception rut in big games. He has the physical tools to be a great NFL quarterback, but needs to improve his mechanics. His delivery is too long and causes the ball to arrive late.

7. Aaron Murray – Georgia
If there is any quarterback that fits the potential Russell Wilson or Drew Brees comparison, it would be Aaron Murray. He is undersized and dealing with a major injury, which could cause him to fall down draft boards come May. He is great at moving the chains and picking up first downs for his team. Murray was a four-year starter at Georgia and has a long list of achievements in the SEC. He is a smart football player who won’t overwhelm you with his arm talent, but he has all the makeup to have a solid NFL career. Check out my in-depth report on Aaron Murray here.

8. Jimmy Garoppolo – Eastern Illinois
Every year there is a small school quarterback that scouts and analysts fall in love with. This year, that guy is Jimmy Garoppolo. Obviously there is skepticism when it comes to the level of play that Garoppolo faced in college, but he has been very active this offseason participating in two major all-star games. During his time at the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, he proved that his talent matches up with some of the big school players.

9. AJ McCarron – Alabama
AJ McCarron was the definition of consistency during his time at Alabama. Even though he was the quarterback in a run heavy offense, he put the team on his shoulders whenever it was needed. McCarron is one of the most decorated quarterbacks of all time. He is the type of leader that any coach would love to have on his team. He was the most impressive quarterback for me at the combine. He chose to participate in every drill, and showed good arm strength and the ability to place the ball nicely all over the field.

10. David Fales – San Jose State
David Fales is one of the top quarterbacks when it comes to pre-play adjustments. He does a good job of reading the defense and putting his team into great position pre-snap. He has spent time in pretty much every type of offensive system in college football and it shows on tape. He has experience working from under center and can maneuver the pocket with confidence. The biggest knock on Fales is his lack of arm strength. He is unable to put a good amount of velocity on his throws, and that lessens even more when he throws on the run.

Best of the rest: Logan Thomas

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