For the cynic, the NFL Combine is the “Underwear Olympics” and hold little to no value because tape is king.
For the optimist, the NFL Combine is equally as telling as the tape and an extremely integral part of the NFL Draft process.
Realistically, the NFL Combine is somewhere in the middle; if it wasn’t important, it would be an entire week event and if it was the be all, end all, they would hold the draft the week after it was over.
The NFL Draft is another checkpoint – an important one – in the road towards the NFL Draft.
I use all of that as a preface to the results of today’s Quarterback measurements. The “Big Three” QBs that everyone was interested in was Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, and Johnny Manziel.
For Bridgewater, the questions coming in were about all three of his measurements – height, weight, and hand size. Today he measured in at over 6’2” and 214 pounds, which is actually better than most expected. The 214 pounds are a slender 214, but not detrimental in the slightest. Where Bridgewater underwhelmed was in his hand size – only measuring 9 1/4”. Bridgewater wore gloves on both hands at Louisville and it’s no secret that coaches value hand size. This morning, Bill Polian (former Colts GM) referenced that former coach Bill Parcells would take a QB off the board if his hands didn’t meet a certain criteria. Teddy’s hands, while a slight aesthetic displeasure, aren’t a trump card against his tape and ability.
Bortles was a pretty safe bet to carry the ideal QB physique, it was just a matter of how big he would be. He didn’t disappoint in his measurements, coming in at 6’5” (about an inch bigger than I had expected), 232 pounds and having 9 3/8” hands. BB is drawing comparisons to the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, and whether those comparisons are warranted or now, his stock will probably be raised a tick based on his jacked physique.
The “must-see” QB this morning was Johnny F. Manziel. Everyone wondered about his height (would be be 6’0”) and his weight (could he get to 215). Manziel did not reach that 6’0” mark, barely missing it at 5’11”. Sure, his height isn’t ideal, but the success of Russell Wilson and Drew Brees tamper much of the concern. His weight wasn’t spectacular at 207 pounds, but his hands took the cake at 9 3/4”. Johnny Football’s hands and feet (size 15, reportedly) are more of a plus, to me, than his height and weight is a detriment.
All of these measurements either raise or lower Teddy, Bortles, and Manziel by the slightest of margins. Any physical inconvenience can be outweighed by their talent. The only time measurements should be a “Red Flag” is if they are startlingly off and the tape can’t help overcome it.
A1Gsports had Bridgewater and Manziel as Round 1 QBs, while Bortles is a mid-2nd Rounder for us.
Blakes Bortles will fully compete at the Combine, Manziel will not throw, and Bridgewater’s decision is still up in the air.
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[Cover Photo Cred: cbssports.com, Bortles photo: kou.com, Bridgewater photo: houston-culturemap.com]