Craig: A case for Bortles or Bridgewater at No. 8 to the Vikings

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 20, 2014 - 9:15 AM

This might be the most unpredictable draft in recent memory because of the uncertainty surrounding its quarterbacks.

hide

Teddy Bridgewater, left, and Blake Bortles “are safe picks,’’ according to David Gibbs, who faced both. “You’re not going to get a Ryan Leaf.’’

Photo: Michael Conroy • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

With the eighth pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings select …

Teddy Bridgewater. Unless they select Blake Bortles. Unless, of course, they select Johnny Manziel.

Folks, we’re lost in a choppy sea of predraft chatter with no life preserver and an extra two weeks of dog paddling until Houston mercifully makes the first pick on May 8. The fact that no one has any idea what will happen has not stopped everyone from saying they do.

The original draftnik himself, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., has taken four swings at it (and counting?). He has Bortles going to the Vikings twice followed by Bridgewater (once) and Manziel (once). That’s a 4-for-4 guesstimate that Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman is thinking quarterback all the way.

Meanwhile, Spielman sat in his office this week saying, “We don’t need to reach for a quarterback at No. 8. We signed Matt Cassel.” And that makes sense, although beware. This is the time of year when Spielman is capable of stealing your eyeballs and convincing you that you look better without them.

This might be the most unpredictable draft in recent memory because of the uncertainty surrounding these three quarterbacks. To help us cut through the cra …, er, chatter, we’ve turned to David Gibbs, the University of Houston’s defensive coordinator.

Gibbs joined Glen Mason’s Gophers coaching staff as the youngest defensive coordinator in Division I-A football (29) in 1997. By 1999, he had turned the Big Ten’s worst defense in 1996 into the nation’s eighth-ranked pass defense.

Gibbs also spent nine years as an NFL defensive backs coach for Denver, Kansas City and Houston. But for the purposes here, we called him because of what he was doing five months ago.

Comparing the two

On consecutive weeks in mid-November, Gibbs and his Cougars defense were on the road against Bortles’ Central Florida team and Bridgewater’s Louisville team. Both teams were ranked No. 19 when they played Houston.

“I think they’re both going to be good NFL quarterbacks,” Gibbs said. “How good? I’m not a quarterback guru. But neither one of them is going to be a bust. They’re safe picks. In my opinion, because of the way they’ve been trained and coached, you’re not going to get a Ryan Leaf. You’re not going to get JaMarcus Russell. You’re not going to get a guy who just can’t play.”

Houston lost to Central Florida 19-14. It was the only game all season that Bortles threw more interceptions (one) than touchdown passes (zero). His 136.0 passer rating was his third-lowest of the season, and he ran six times for minus-10 yards.

The Cougars also lost to Louisville 20-13. Bridgewater managed a grind-it-out game plan, passing for only 203 yards on 19 completions with no touchdowns or interceptions. He ran four times for minus-20 yards.

“I’m not an egomaniac, so I realize we weren’t a big game for either of those two quarterbacks,” Gibbs said. “But I would say based on our games that Bridgewater was a little farther ahead. Teddy threw for 31 touchdowns and four interceptions on the year, but in our game, he knew that as long as he didn’t screw up, they would win the game.”

Fitting in

Gibbs said NFL evaluators benefit from Bridgewater and Bortles playing in pro-style offenses with similar run-pass checks, whereas “trying to project Johnny Manziel into an NFL offense must be a nightmare.”

“Bridgewater and Bortles both did everything that you need them to do,” Gibbs said. “They can throw from the pocket, they could throw on the run whether it was bootlegs or sprint-outs. They made all the throws from the out routes to the go routes.

“Upside-wise, Bortles is the guy who is just now figuring it out. He’d try to force a throw, whereas Teddy wouldn’t do it. It could be third-and-20 and Teddy is going to check the ball down. He’s not going to turn the ball over.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Baltimore 0
NY Yankees 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Toronto 0
Philadelphia 0 Top 2nd Inning
NY Mets 0
Boston 2 Top 1st Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Miami - T. Koehler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll
Texas - S. Baker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 14 1st Qtr 7:14
Connecticut 0
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close