1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville-Bridgewater isn’t exactly a can’t miss prospect like Andrew Luck, but he’s pretty close. He can make all throws, and is a strong favorite for the No. 1 overall pick, held by the Texans. Bridgewater is a complete prospect and should have a lot of success in the NFL.
2. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M-Previously, I had Manziel going in the second round to sit on the bench for a couple years and learn before taking a starting position. This would still be a good option for him, but after his astonishing performance in the Chick Fil-A Bowl, he is in a position to be drafted with one of the top 5 selections in the 2014 draft, and he’s earned it. Manziel was nearly perfect in that game, making every throw on the field and managing to escape pressure with his legs. He was fired up on the sidelines, leading his team, and brought home a win after a 21 point halftime deficit in what would be his final college game if he decides to declare for the draft. He passed for 382 yards and 4 TD’s, no picks, and his leading receiver was Derel Walker. Mike Evans who? Manziel’s performance was one for the ages, and one of the finest games from a quarterback I have ever seen.
3. Derek Carr, Fresno State- Carr is a traditional pocket passer, but he is one of the best in the country at that. Carr’s mechanics and decision making are sound, and he has the look of a franchise QB. Carr’s performance in his bowl game is underwhelming in contrast to what Johnny Manziel did, and that’s why they are ranked in this order. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Carr is the second quarterback taken, the Jaguars would be a good fit.
4. Blake Bortles, UCF- Bortles was an unknown heading into the season, but he put together a great season and led the Knights to a BCS bowl victory. Bortles is fundamentally sound and makes few mistakes. Along with Manziel, he is a threat as a runner. Bortles would be a good fit for a team like the Browns or the Raiders, both of whom own early picks in the draft and are in the market for a quarterback.
5. AJ McCarron, Alabama-McCarron owns an incredible college career record, but that was with an overpowering defense and a dominant run game. McCarron makes some nice throws, but not enough to win the game for you by himself. The Jets might take a look at him-his consistency and traditional pocket passing make him a nice contrast to Geno Smith’s unpredictability, and the Jets have that championship defense. The Vikings would have that strong running game for him to rely on. McCarron is a solid QB, but not a spectacular one.
Other notable College Quarterbacks
Tahj Boyd, Clemson-Has a little Colin Kaepernick in his game, but too inconsistent in big games to merit being on this list. Remember, he almost lost the game with a critical interception in the Orange Bowl-until Braxton Miller gave it right back.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon- Mariota has announced that he is going to return to Oregon for his junior season, and if he delivers next year, he could be the top pick in 2015.
Jameis Winston, FSU-Winston is ineligible for 2014 draft because he is only a red shirt freshman. When he decides to declare for the draft, expect him to taken early.