AFC North: Derek Carr

Josh Gordon said during a recent visit to ESPN that he was a Johnny Manziel guy and he thought the Cleveland Browns would draft the quarterback with the No. 4 overall pick in May.

He gushed about Manziel during his visit to Bristol.

Gordon
Gordon
Bridgewater
This week in an interview on NFL.com he said if he had a choice he would take Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Asked to comment on the quarterbacks in the draft, Gordon didn’t even mention Manziel, instead talking up Blake Bortles -- “reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger” -- and Derek Carr -- “I’m a big fan of Derek Carr” -- and Bridgewater -- “He’s been real good on the field.”

When pressured about which quarterback he would take he finally gave in and said he would “play it safe” and take Bridgewater.

A few things can be said about this:
  • Gordon might not have a clue who he likes, and like some players sometimes do might just be saying what he thinks people want to hear.
  • Gordon really isn’t committed to a particular draftable quarterback.
  • If he really thinks Bortles is Roethlisberger, that’s good enough for me.
  • Playing it safe is not the way to go with the fourth pick in the draft.

The Manziel-to-Bridgewater thing can be filed under the heading: “Go figure.”
Derek Carr's workout for the Cleveland Browns showed why the Browns are skipping players' pro days.

The Browns were able to send their coaches to or near Fresno State and have Carr make throws they wanted to see, not the ones he wanted to do. GM Ray Farmer, coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan got to watch Carr up close and personal.

Carr said on SiriusXM NFL Radio after the workout that it was definitely driven by the Browns.

Carr
"Everyone was standing there, talking, of course, giving their input, things they wanted to see," Carr said on "Late Hits," hosted by Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt. "We do their drills. They really want to tire you out. When you do individual drills, they want to tire you out, see how you're feeling, really grind you a little bit. And then you throw routes when you're really tired, like a football game. Then some bootlegs, they want to see how you move on the run when you're tired. Then we do some reads that they have."

The Browns also had dinner with Carr the night before.

Lo and behold, in two days they got a longer, more in-depth and more personal interview than the 15 minutes they'd have had at the combine, and a longer, more focused workout than they would have seen at the pro day.

Johnny Manziel's pro day may have set new standards. His turned into more of a sideshow than a revealing workout. The apparel that Manziel wore for his workout were soon put on sale by Nike after the pro day -- and here we thought he wore football stuff to simulate football conditions -- and Manziel made a show to thank all the scouts and team officials for finding their way to Texas A&M, a place he called hard to find. Never mind all in attendance had probably been to College Station several times before.

Rest assured, though, Johnny Football has gone away. #sarcasmfont

Carr told SiriusXM that the workout went exactly as he hoped, which is to be expected, but he also said doing it for just the Browns was "a great experience."

There's nothing wrong with the way the Browns are going about this scouting process.

The only thing that would be wrong would be getting the pick wrong.
Josh Gordon said it early in the day on ESPN's "SportsCenter." He said it as the day continued. And he reiterated it late in the day in an interview with ESPN.com: He expects the Cleveland Browns to take a quarterback with the fourth pick in May's draft.

“I don't think Ray Farmer wants to miss out on a quarterback pick,” Gordon said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon.

Gordon
Gordon
Which in words is a slight upgrade from him saying earlier in the day that he was “pretty sure” it would be a quarterback. (Then again ... Gordon also was quick to say Farmer had texted during the day to keep folks guessing.)

Gordon was not saying Farmer told him anything. Just that he had talked with the Browns GM, and after the talks he feels the Browns are leaning toward the passer. To the point that when the possibility of drafting wide receiver Sammy Watkins was mentioned, Gordon talked as if he'd be the 26th overall pick, not the fourth.

“It would be great to have him, if he lasts that long,” Gordon said.

The three quarterbacks Gordon mentioned as possibilities were Blake Bortles of Central Florida, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Derek Carr of Fresno State.

This is either the greatest smokescreen in draft history, a player just expressing his opinion or a clue to the Browns plans.

Given Farmer's stated belief in keeping others around the league guessing, it might seem more smokescreen than clue. But Gordon is not just another guy on the team. He spent Thursday on several shows with interviews at ESPN. Late in the day he said the Browns need a quarterback and Brian Hoyer can win.

“Both are true," he said. “We need a quarterback for sure. We only have one on the roster (actually two, Hoyer and Alex Tanney), and you never want to go through that battle of attrition -- like last year.”

He called the quarterback carousel of 2013 “extremely frustrating,” and sounded like a guy anxious to settle in with a guy. He also sounded more concerned about Hoyer's return from a torn ACL than many others.

“It's never something I'd want to rush on anybody,” he said. “That can ruin a career. He can do it on the field, but at the same time you've got to be looking for the future and longevity.”

Gordon may have been thinking of his friend and former college teammate at Baylor who came back too soon, Robert Griffin III of Washington. Gordon supports Hoyer if he's healthy, and appreciates the notion of Hoyer throwing to him and Watkins.

To a point.

“There's more than enough balls to go around,” Gordon said. “The more weapons you have on offense, the harder it is for the defense to key in on one guy. But first and foremost, we need to solidify a quarterback back there.”
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars' loss to Buffalo ended a three-game winning streak, but it also improved their draft position by two spots.

If the season ended today the Jaguars (4-10) would own the No. 4 overall pick. Houston (2-12), St. Louis (6-8) and Oakland (4-10) would have the first three picks, with the Rams picking that high because of a trade with Washington.

Bradford
Bradford
Cutler
If the current order holds, the Jaguars are in a good spot if they indeed want to pick a quarterback with their first pick. There are rumblings that the Texans are going to make a run at Jay Cutler in the offseason, which would be a smart move because the Texans -- despite this season's record -- are still a playoff-caliber team if they find a good quarterback.

Cutler would keep the Texans' window open for the next few seasons. It would be unfair to expect a rookie quarterback to carry the team, especially since none of the them appear to be in the same class as Andrew Luck.

St. Louis wouldn't appear to be thinking quarterback, although there is some uncertainty there because of the season-ending knee injury to Sam Bradford. Before he was hurt in October, Bradford was on pace to have the best season of his career, and there were reports that the Rams wanted to do a contract extension for the former No. 1 overall selection.

If the injury has changed their mind, the Rams could take a quarterback with their first of two first-round picks, but they also need help on the offensive line and at safety. Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews is an option.

Oakland would be the wild card. Terrelle Pryor appeared to be their quarterback early in the season, but now it's Matt McGloin. Is either a long-term answer? Probably not, so quarterback would be the Raiders' top need. The Raiders are unpredictable, and it wouldn't be a shock if they bypassed a quarterback for one of the top linebackers or Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins.

If the Raiders did take a quarterback, that would leave the Jaguars with at worst their second choice among the available quarterbacks. It isn't as deep a crop as originally thought now that Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Baylor's Bryce Petty have said they are returning to school. Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel are expected to leave early and UCLA's Brett Hundley is waffling, but there also are several senior prospects worth considering in the first round, including LSU's Zach Mettenberger and Fresno State's Derek Carr.

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AFC NORTH SCOREBOARD