Louisville Cardinals product Teddy Bridgewater has always been my top-rated quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft class, and plenty of signs point to the Cleveland Browns taking him with either the 26th pick in the draft or a higher pick if they are able to trade up for him. Bridgewater is clearly the most polished QB in the class, he has solid physical tools, he’s incredibly accurate, and no quarterback is better at making good decisions and reading defenses. He would be a legitimate franchise quarterback for anyone, and the Browns biggest need is clearly at QB. With Bridgewater and a talented WR like Mike Evans or someone in round two, the Browns offense would get two big upgrades and give the team a chance to be serious playoff contenders. At this point, the Browns defense is so strong and they also have some pieces on offense that a franchise QB could allow them to have a Kansas City Chiefs-like turn-around.
Anyway, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the “sweet spot” for Teddy Bridgewater in this year’s draft is in the 8-26 range, meaning that his realistic ceiling seems to be the Minnesota Vikings at No. 8 or the Cleveland Browns with their second pick in the first round. The Bridgewater-Browns rumors have had an awful lot of smoke lately, which makes plenty of us wonder if this is all jut some elaborate smokescreen. However, I think their interest in taking him at 26 or trading up a little bit is real, especially since they’ve reportedly been in some trade talks with the Miami Dolphins, who pick at 19.
That said, the Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles rumors haven’t disappeared either. The Browns look like the most likely landing spot for the Browns, but I honestly wouldn’t pass him up at 8 if I were the Vikings. The Vikings are in the same boat as the Browns, as their biggest need is at QB, and they have the pieces to go to the playoffs if they can land a franchise QB. After all, they made it to the postseason in 2012 with Christian Ponder as their QB. It could all be a smokescreen, but most people are reporting that the Vikings will wait until the second or third round to draft a quarterback, with plenty of the smoke coming from Zach Mettenberger’s direction.