Opinions vary on QB prospect Bridgewater

Analysts and teams appear to have a consensus on the top three quarterback prospects in the draft, but not the order of them. The same is true in evaluating Teddy Bridgewater, where the opinions varied on his value. Mel Kiper Jr., Mike Mayock and Dave-Te' Thomas weigh in with their evaluations.

Listening to three different talent evaluators poring over tape and looking for flaws, it's easy to see how NFL teams can swing and miss on a quarterback.

In the case of Teddy Bridgewater, three analysts – Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, Mike Mayock of NFL Network and Dave-Te Thomas of the NFL Draft Report used to assist teams with their evaluations – all had different takes.

Kiper has Johnny Manziel as the first pick in his mock draft and had the Vikings taking Teddy Bridgewater at No. 8.

"In terms of a Teddy Bridgewater, he throws a good ball, he's accurate, makes good decisions. I like the fact he thinks pass first, run second. He's a kid that goes about his business in a very workmanlike order," Kiper said.

"Bridgewater may be a guy that you get at 4 or you get at 8 and he's a nice pick at that point."

After spending 2½ half hours on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, it was clear that Mayock thinks Manziel has the highest potential of the consensus top three quarterbacks in the draft – Bridgewater, Manziel and Central Florida's Blake Bortles – but Mayock made it clear he also believes Bridgewater is the most NFL-ready as a rookie.

"The reason I think he's the most ready to play in an NFL-style offense is he was under center, he was in pistol, he was in the shotgun. His offense in Louisville threw it short, intermediate and deep," Mayock said. "He understands three-step, five-step. He reads more than just half the field so you can put the tape on and watch him do things and say, yeah, that translates to the next level. He's not as much a wild card as Manziel and I think he's more developed in his reads and throws than Bortles, so that's why I say I think he's the most ready to play."

Of the consensus top three, Bridgewater had the highest completion percentage, 71.0, in 2013 and easily the best touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio at 31-4.

"Bridgewater and Bortles I think can both be good quarterbacks but I'm not ready to say either of them is an all-pro quarterback," Mayock said.

Thomas, the scout for the NFL, took it a step further. He wouldn't want to draft any of the top three quarterbacks in the first round, save for maybe Bortles late in the first round, but on the field his harshest comparison came with Bridgewater.

"I look at Teddy Bridgewater and I'm seeing the second coming of Geno Smith," he said. "Good mechanics and everything on this guy, but there are games when this kid is just totally exposed on the football field."

The Vikings have the eighth pick in the draft, but, despite all the questions surrounding the top three quarterbacks, they still might not have a shot at any of them. Five of the top eight teams in the draft need a quarterback.

That leads to the question about overall value. Are Bridgewater, Bortles and Manziel really worthy of top-10 consideration or are teams simply inflating their evaluations of the top quarterbacks because the need is so great among the top teams in the draft?

"Are we going to push all three of these kids up there? And the more tape I watch of all three of them, the more questions I have," Mayock said.

"And I don't want to overanalyze these guys, because there's a danger in that, also, but I just pick apart all three of them. I could not pick apart Andrew Luck."

If the analysts can't seem to agree on the value or order of the top three quarterbacks, then maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that teams can't either. While Mayock said most of his NFL sources have Manziel as the best option, Kiper said his sources don't agree.

"There's not even a consensus on where (Bridgewater) is right now. You look at Bridgewater, Bortles and Manziel and you put them in a hat and you pick one, two, three," Kiper said. "I found all kinds of combinations talking to NFL people."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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