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.”

As for Manziel?

“I do see him as a risk,” Gibbs said. “And I don’t know him personally. I’m just watching him. He’s doing all of this stuff in college. What’s he going to do when he gets to pro football? You know the lifestyle changes. He’s saying all the right things now, and he should. He’s smart. But I don’t know about him.”

Gibbs also questions whether Manziel’s style will transfer to the NFL, where the passing windows shrink and the defenders are harder to outrun.

“The truth is if you’re a coach and you’re on the hot seat, you’re saying, ‘Take Johnny Manziel,’ ” Gibbs said. “You have to do something to keep your job, so you take that risk. But if you’re a guy who has just been hired and you know you got two or three years to figure things out, I don’t think you take that guy. That’s just my opinion. What do I know?”

 

Mark Craig mark.craig@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 12 2nd Half 18:25
UC Santa Barbara 34
Baylor 58 2nd Half 5:51
Memphis 42
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
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 NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
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: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close