Whether it was prefaced by Teddy Bridgewater’s apparently poor performance in his pro day last week or if it was all in an effort to showcase his football-specific skills, Johnny Manziel’s pro day on Wednesday turned into something of a spectacle. He wore a helmet and shoulder pads, bucking traditional pro day attire and there were 30 NFL teams and a former President and First Lady of the United States of America in attendance for a glorified game of catch.
Part of being a quarterback is learning to live with the scrutiny that comes with the territory, and right now, four quarterbacks who most NFL analysts would agree grade as first-round prospects are all seeing their draft stock bounce around. In an age where every NFL team is trying to gain an edge in the scouting department, desperate in their search to identify that next huge star and worried about making huge mistake with millions on the line, we peel over ultimately meaningless drills looking for anything that might play as significant.
With Bridgewater’s pro day leading some to believe that his stock is falling, tired questions about Manziel’s influence on a locker room and his size causing questions about whether he’d be a good fit in the NFL and tentativeness over the schedule Derek Carr played at Fresno State causing scouts to approach him cautiously, it seems like only Central Florida’s Blake Bortles’ stock is on the rise. That means, for a team like the Minnesota Vikings who are hoping to find a franchise quarterback to pair with an exciting array of offensive weapons, sitting with the eighth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft may actually provide them with some options.
The idea of Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater being available with that pick gives the Vikings the chance to procure one player that many deem to be the most exciting in this class or another who most would agree is the most polished passer.
If either are still on the board with that pick, the Vikings would be making a gigantic splash with their fanbase and both have incredible potential as long-term stars in this league. Of course, the worry with taking someone who was once viewed as a legitimate option with the first overall pick (as both were at one point) but are now sliding is that there’s something to their precipitous drop.
We try to keep in perspective the importance of a single pro day or one bad interview, but what if there’s something to be said for a prospect who can’t handle the microscope of the draft process? After all, the pressure only multiplies from here.
However, while both Manziel and Bridgewater have their issues (Manziel with his larger-than-life personality and Bridgewater with his slender frame), both are players with extreme upside who the Vikings would be lucky to have at eight.
Whether or not that means that either Manziel or Bridgewater actually pan out as the long-term starters we project them to be or if they never live up to their potential remains to be seen. But, if there’s one team that could stand to benefit from seeing all these quarterbacks sliding down the draft board, it’s definitely the Minnesota Vikings.