Jacksonville Jaguars: Teddy Bridgewater

The Jaguars say they want to keep rookie quarterback Blake Bortles on the bench during the 2014 season so he can develop without the pressure of trying to win games. CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora doesn't believe that'll happen.

In a piece in which he predicts when quarterback changes involving the rookie class may come, he writes that Bortles will be the starter in Week 1.
"... While I believe you can do worse than Chad Henne as your starter, you can also can do a heck of a lot better. With all of the young receivers drafted there the past few years, the Jags' desire to build off last season's strong finish and playing in a division that might be the NFL's worst, I feel Bortles starts to close this gap quickly. As much as the Jags might want to hold him off, I'm not sure they give him a redshirt year. I believe he establishes himself as the best quarterback on their roster in the preseason and the Jags end up letting him open the season under center. ..."
Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

ESPN's Mike Sando takes a look at how Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel may fare if they play this season .

NFL.com's Elliot Harrison has the Jaguars 28th in his post-draft power rankings.

NFL.com's Bucky Brooks writes that the Jaguars got the biggest draft steal in the AFC South when they picked cornerback Aaron Colvin. Here's the rest of his division analysis.

SI.com's Don Banks delves into how the Jaguars use analytics in scouting and the draft.
Which player should the Jacksonville Jaguars take with the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft? It’s a question GM David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are trying to answer before the first round on Thursday. Not that they are asking, but I’m here to offer some help. Every day until the first round I’ll argue for a certain player. We're going to go with the caveat that each of the players is available when the Jaguars make their selection.

Today I wrap up the series with a push for a trade.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars still have a lot of work to do on the roster.

Matthews
Evans
They need upgrades at nearly every position, with priorities on quarterback, pass rush, receiver and running back. The best chance to find players to fill those roles -- at reasonable cost, which is also important -- is through the draft.

The best way to attack those needs is by trading the No. 3 overall pick.

The Jaguars have 11 picks, and general manager David Caldwell said he would ideally like to have 12-14. Any team that wants to move up to third would have to part with at least three picks, most likely including a second- and third-rounder. Though the roster has improved since Caldwell and Gus Bradley arrived in early 2013, it wouldn’t be out of the question for 10 or more draft picks to make the roster.

There have been rumblings that Atlanta (No. 6), Tampa Bay (No. 7) and Detroit (No. 10) want to move up for a shot at a quarterback, receiver Sammy Watkins, or linebacker Khalil Mack. They would be the most likely trade partners, because Caldwell would rather stay inside the top 10 if possible.

Dropping out of the top four picks pretty much prevents the Jaguars from landing any of the general-accepted four blue-chippers: Watkins, Mack, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and offensive tackle Greg Robinson. But this is a deep draft on offensive talent, and that is where the Jaguars are going to focus most of their attention after a defensive-oriented draft in 2013.

Caldwell would still be able to land a quality receiver, whether it’s Texas A&M’s Mike Evans or LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. Or he could take Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard to pair opposite Dwayne Gratz. Or Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who was perhaps the best player at the Senior Bowl. Or one of the quarterbacks, whether it's Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, or Teddy Bridgewater.

Caldwell also could go with Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews, who draft analysts believe is among the safest picks in the draft. A league source said last week that Caldwell might be targeting Matthews, which if true would mean the Jaguars will have drafted offensive tackles in back-to-back years. They took Luke Joeckel with the No. 2 pick in 2013.

Caldwell said last week that the Jaguars’ chances of trading down would increase if Houston is unable to move the No. 1 pick. As of last Friday Caldwell said he fielded calls from two teams, but declined to say which teams. An educated guess would be that Atlanta is one of the teams based on their reported desire to trade up and Caldwell’s relationship with Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff.

The Jaguars’ roster still has a lot of holes. Trading down for more picks gives them a better chance of getting those filled as quickly as possible.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- No NFL general manager ever admits they had a bad draft or pulled a bonehead trade and I'm certainly no different.

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My turn as the Jacksonville Jaguars' GM in our NFL Nation mock draft on Tuesday -- in which all 32 team writers acted as their team's GM -- netted linebacker Khalil Mack with the No. 3 pick and, after a trade with New England, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at No. 29. The trade cost me a second-round pick (39th overall), one of two fourth-round picks (114th overall), one of three fifth-round picks (150th overall), and a seventh-round pick (222nd overall), but I felt it was worth it to secure the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft and a player I believe will be an elite player.

I could have gone receiver Sammy Watkins at No. 3. That is a significant need as well. I also had talks with Houston reporter Tania Ganguli about moving up to No. 1.

Instead, I stayed put and ended up with what I believe are the two best fits for the franchise.

However, to get an objective viewpoint on whether that is the case, I turned to NFL Insider Matt Williamson. He was in our live chat on Tuesday and critiqued each pick, so he knows how everything played out in the mock draft. I asked him to pull no punches in rating the selections.

Here is his take:

"Only one round has gone by in our Sportsnation Mock Draft, but to me, the Jaguars were the big winners. This team needs franchise building blocks and I believe that they got one on each side of the ball at two of the most important positions on the field in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, my number one rated quarterback, and Kalil Mack, an ideal fit in Gus Bradley's defense at the LEO position. The Seahawks were built on a playmaking quarterback that is excellent at limiting mistakes and a defense with an oversized secondary and great depth up front. That is the path Jacksonville is taking."

Aww, thanks Matt.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An elite pass-rusher and a franchise quarterback. Not a bad haul in the first round in the NFL Nation mock draft that was held on Tuesday afternoon.

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Mack
Each of the NFL Nation bloggers whose team had a first-round pick acted as general manager and made picks they thought the team they cover would make. In doing my best David Caldwell impersonation, I grabbed linebacker Khalil Mack with the third pick and then jumped back into the latter part of the first round and landed Teddy Bridgewater at 29.

Here's what I was thinking as the draft unfolded ...

I actually went after Jadeveon Clowney. I had some discussions with Houston reporter Tania Ganguli to move up to No. 1 but I felt the price was too high. The Jaguars need to continue to build the roster and I thought losing as many picks as she wanted was not the best approach. Ganguli managed to work out a deal with Buffalo reporter Mike Rodak, though. I wrote about that the Mack selection and how he would fit with the Jaguars earlier Tuesday.

I didn’t really consider taking a quarterback at No. 3 because I wasn’t completely sold on any of them that high. It would have been too risky of a pick and right now the Jaguars can’t afford to take those kinds of risks.

However, when Bridgewater dropped into the teens I got interested, and when he was still on the board at No. 20 I knew I needed to take a shot to land the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft and a guy I believe can be an elite quarterback.

So I exchanged a few emails and texts with New England Patriots reporter Mike Reiss, who had let everyone know he was open to trading down, in an attempt to work out a trade for the 29th overall pick. Complicating things was the fact that another team got into the mix.

After some quick back and forth, Reiss and I settled on this deal. In exchange for the 29th pick I agreed to give him the Jaguars’ second-round pick (39th overall), one of their two fourth-round picks (114th overall), one of their three fifth-round picks (150th overall), and their seventh-round pick (222nd overall).

I felt it was a good deal because I still have a fourth- and two fifth-round picks and eight picks total, which still gives me some ammunition if I wanted to trade back into the third round. Plus, I got the quarterback I wanted more than any other.

I know he had a poor pro day workout, but the bottom line is he's the most pro-ready quarterback and he has more experience in a pro-style system than any of the other quarterbacks. When you put on the tape there are no reservations about Bridgewater.

There are some bad throws and bad decisions, as there are with any quarterback, but the tape shows a quarterback who has good feel and mobility in the pocket, goes through progressions, and has a strong enough arm to succeed at the NFL level.

Not a bad start.
Which player should the Jacksonville Jaguars take with the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft? That's a question that GM David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are trying to answer before the first round on Thursday. Not that they're asking, but I'm here to offer some help. Every day until the first round I'll argue for a certain player. We're going to go with the caveat that each of the players is available when the Jaguars make their selection.

Today I make the case for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Tuesday will be offensive tackle Greg Robinson.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars shouldn't care about a poor pro day.

They shouldn't care that at 214 pounds he's a little slight for his 6-foot-3 frame.

They shouldn't care that he likes to wear a glove when he throws.

Just turn on the tape of Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and that should assuage any concerns about taking him with the No. 3 overall pick.

Turn on two games in particular: the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Florida and the Russell Athletic Bowl against Miami. The Gators had the nation's No. 2 pass efficiency defense, the No. 5 total defense, and No. 5 scoring defense but Bridgewater shredded them for 266 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-23 upset. He was even better against Miami, throwing for 447 yards and three touchdowns and running for another in the Cardinals' 36-9 romp.

Bridgewater played some of his best football in the two biggest games in which he played in college. In front of national television audiences with NFL personnel watching closely, Bridgewater put his team on his shoulders and won big.

Sounds like the kind of guy NFL teams should want.

And yet, the poor pro day showing has hurt him with some draft analysts. Probably even a few general managers, too. It is concerning that he didn't flourish in a situation that was crafted for him to do so, but it's only one day. Everybody has bad days.

But put on the tape and there should be no reservations about Bridgewater. There are some bad throws and bad decisions, but the tape shows a quarterback who has good feel and mobility in the pocket, goes through progressions, and has a strong enough arm to succeed at the NFL level.

"Put on the game tape," Bridgewater said in an ESPN interview. "The game tape speaks volumes because I'm in live action, I'm out there making reads, going through progressions, redirection protection, signaling hot routes, getting the offense in and out of the right play. Looking at those things, I think those things outweigh the pro day."

There's one other thing to see on tape that should mollify Bridgewater's detractors, namely the ones who feel he's not tough enough or physically capable of handling the pounding he's sure to receive in the NFL.

Go back to the Sugar Bowl game against Florida with about 12:30 remaining in the first quarter. Bridgewater rolls to his right and releases the ball a split second before linebacker Jon Bostic absolutely lays him out with a hit under the chin. The 246-pound Bostic -- a 2013 second-round pick by Chicago -- knocks Bridgewater's helmet off and drives him backward several yards.

Bridgewater gets right back up and never missed a play.

The Jaguars can't miss by taking him.
Which player should the Jacksonville Jaguars take with the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft? That's a question that GM David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are trying to answer before the first round May 8. Not that they're asking, but I'm here to offer help. Every day until the first round I'll argue for a certain player. We're going to go with the caveat that each of the players is available when the Jaguars make their selection.

Today I make the case for quarterback Blake Bortles. Monday will be quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Remember all that stuff we talked about Thursday regarding Johnny Manziel?

The ability to make plays outside the pocket, to improvise, to extend plays? That all applies to Blake Bortles, too. But there's one additional thing that he has that Manziel doesn't.

Size.

There are no concerns about the former Central Florida standout's frame. He's 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds -- close to ideal size for an NFL quarterback.

[+] EnlargeBlake Bortles
AP Photo/Michael ConroyBlake Bortles' ability to tweak his mechanics so quickly bodes well for his mental maturity.
Bortles isn't as accomplished as Manziel on the collegiate level, but numerous scouts and analysts believe his best football is ahead of him and what happened during his pro day is their best evidence.

There were concerns about Bortles' mechanics and scouts, and analysts dissected his flaws on tape after the Knights' season ended. The biggest issues were his lower body and footwork. Bortles obviously worked on that pretty hard in the first few months of 2014 because he was much cleaner in his mechanics at his pro day.

His balance was better, the ball came out of his hand cleaner, his throwing motion was more economical, and as a result he threw the ball harder and more accurately.

That he was able to clean up those issues relatively quickly is a huge plus about his mental makeup. In addition, there's the report by the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran on a Jacksonville radio show that Bortles took over the room during a meeting with Jaguars coaches and personnel.

Considering that GM David Caldwell recently said the No. 1 quality he wants in a quarterback is leadership, that's another argument for the Jaguars to take Bortles with the No. 3 overall pick.

There are additional concerns about Bortles because he played in a spread offense and threw a lot of one-read passes. He didn't have to sit in the pocket and go through three or more reads. A lot of the throws were short passes, too. Evaluating him means projecting that he'll be able to adjust to a pro-style offense and become more comfortable taking snaps under center.

But he's the most physically impressive of the big three quarterbacks and he does have the ability to escape and turn a broken play into a big one. There's also less of a worry about him getting hit than Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater. His size will allow him to take more punishment.

The Jaguars have said they don't want a rookie quarterback to play right away. They want him to sit and learn behind Chad Henne. That would benefit Bortles because he has the most upside of any of the top quarterbacks in the draft.

Taking Bortles may not help in 2014, but it would pay off in 2015 and beyond.
Which is the best draft class in Jacksonville Jaguars history?

NFL.com's Chris Wesseling picked the best class for each AFC team and he writes that while there's no obvious answer, he'd pick the first draft in franchise history.

The Jaguars' 1995 draft produced offensive tackle Tony Boselli, a member of the 1990s all-decade team and arguably the best player in franchise history, as well as multiyear starters in running back James Stewart, linebacker Bryan Schwartz, safety Chris Hudson and guard Brian DeMarco.

The '95 draft also was responsible for eventually netting another of the greatest players in franchise history. The team's fourth-round pick in '95 was quarterback Rob Johnson, who was eventually traded to Buffalo for a first-round pick and the Jaguars used that selection to take running back Fred Taylor.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran writes that the Jaguars' projected 2014 offensive line is going to look a lot different than the one that ended the 2013 season.

Here are the three minicamp practices that are open to the public.

CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco has the Jaguars taking linebacker Khalil Mack in his latest mock draft.

Jaguars.com's John Oehser writes that Mike Brewster is confident he'll get the job done at center.

Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke and Doug Farrar did a mock draft on Twitter and predicted the Jaguars would take quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
With the extra time before the NFL draft, something has to fill the time. One of the things is the quarterback-dropping theory.

Instead of two or three teams in the Top 5 taking either Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles, those three players are dropping down the mock draft lists into the middle of the first round. One scenario even has Bridgewater lasting until the first pick in the second round.

While writing about the theory, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora says the first team he sees taking a quarterback is Jacksonville at No. 3. The Jaguars went the safe route last season by drafting offensive tackle Luke Joeckel but he expects GM David Caldwell to think long and hard about taking Manziel or Bortles.

La Canfora writes "If I'm picking here, I take Johnny Football, and, after more than just dabbling with the idea of acquiring Tim Tebow a few years back, I wouldn't blame owner Shahid Khan one bit if he was engaged with the concept of having JFF bring his brand to a franchise long-starved for real national appeal."

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The Florida Times-Union's Vito Stellino writes that Denard Robinson is putting his disappointing rookie season behind him and is excited about having a defined role as a running back in 2014.

Stellino also writes that the third day of the draft is critical to the Jaguars' rebuilding process.

In his 2013 NFL draft do-over, NFL.com's Bucky Brooks says the Jaguars should have taken linebacker Kiko Alonso with the No. 2 overall pick and not Joeckel.

CBSSports.com's Pat Kirwan has the Jaguars taking linebacker Khalil Mack in his latest mock draft.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said on The Dan Patrick Show that the Houston Texans have to pick defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick,

Jacksonville Jaguars mailbag

April, 19, 2014
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Got questions about the Jacksonville Jaguars? I'll try to answer a representative selection of them every Saturday. Submit your questions via Twitter to @ESPNdirocco.

 
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Teddy Bridgewater's second visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars certainly indicates genuine interest on the part of general manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley.

They spent time with him at the combine, had a private meeting at his pro day and already played host to him on a visit, so it's unlikely they'd waste any additional time and money on Bridgewater if he weren't a legitimate target. But where?

The Jaguars pick third, but it seems unlikely that they would take the former Louisville standout there. Based on recent reports and mock drafts, Bridgewater is dropping in the first round because of his shaky performances at his pro day and in private workouts. ESPN's Mel Kiper actually had him going to Houston with the top pick in the second round in his latest mock draft.

The Jaguars pick seventh in the second round (39th overall) and have 11 total draft picks. One theory has Caldwell putting a deal together to move back into the latter part of the first round -- likely the late teens or early 20s -- and selecting Bridgewater. Saturday's visit could be a final under-the-hood exam to make sure he's the right fit for offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's system.

Caldwell hasn't said which of the big three quarterbacks he likes the best, but he has said it's harder to evaluate quarterbacks who played in spread offenses in college and project how their skills will translate at the NFL level. Bridgewater played in a West Coast pro-style offense at Louisville while Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles played in spread offenses. Draft analysts have said Bridgewater has the best pocket presence of the three and appears to be the most pro-ready of all the quarterbacks in the draft.

But his pro day performance was a bit unsettling -- Bridgewater said it was because he didn't wear a glove like he normally does -- and this latest visit may just be a chance for Caldwell and Bradley to get another look at him.

Regardless of which quarterback the Jaguars take, or when they take him, Caldwell is not budging on Chad Henne as the starter heading into 2014. He wants the rookie to sit back and learn. Maybe it's Bridgewater.

Jacksonville Jaguars mailbag

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
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Got questions about the Jaguars? I'll try to answer a representative selection of them every Saturday. Submit your questions via Twitter to @ESPNdirocco.

Analyzing McShay mock 4.0: Jaguars 

April, 10, 2014
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The Jacksonville Jaguars have the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft after finishing 4-12 in 2013. With a roster in need of a significant upgrade, the Jaguars can take a best-available-player approach and still fill an area of need.

Todd McShay's fourth 2014 NFL mock draft Insider is out on ESPN Insider on Thursday and his choice means the Jaguars will fill one of their biggest needs.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars are bringing in a slew of prospects for visits over the next several days. That includes six quarterbacks, the best offensive tackle, and the most explosive offensive player in the draft.

But it doesn’t mean the Jaguars have decided not to take a pass rusher with the No. 3 overall pick.

Fans understandably get excited when news of the players visiting leaks, especially when it’s players like Johnny Manziel and Sammy Watkins, but a team using one of its allotted 30 visits on a player doesn’t always signify genuine interest.

Often there is, but teams also can bring in players for visits because they got a bad vibe during an earlier meeting at the combine or a pro day and they want to see if that was an anomaly. Teams also may want to give a player another physical examination or administer another psychological test. They may have questions about a player’s past they want answered, especially if it’s something that was uncovered after a previous meeting.

Sometimes the visit is to see if the staff can get a feel for whether the player will be a fit in the locker room.

The Jaguars, for example, played host to Dion Jordan, Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel, among others, last April. They took Joeckel with the No. 2 pick after Kansas City took Fisher. The Jaguars certainly needed pass rush help but passed for a left tackle around which the offensive line could be built.

According to various reports, including those by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, quarterbacks Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo and Zach Mettenberger either have visited or will visit the Jaguars within days.

Others scheduled to visit are offensive tackle Greg Robinson, Watkins, linebacker Anthony Barr, linebacker Khalil Mack, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, and defensive end Stephon Tuitt.

Some of those players are obviously in play for the Jaguars with the No. 3 pick. But others -- like Carr, Garoppolo, Mettenberger, Barr, and Van Noy -- are late first-rounders or second-day picks.

It’s the quarterbacks that are the most intriguing, because the Jaguars obviously need to find their future. Manziel, Bridgewater and Bortles are regarded as the top three quarterbacks in the draft but Carr, Mettenberger, and Garoppolo are among the players in the second tier group.

Whether the Jaguars choose from the first or second group depends on whether they feel adding Watkins or a pass rusher -- like Mack or Jadeveon Clowney -- is a better approach than going quarterback with their first pick. It’s a decision that won’t be made until later this month.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If the Jacksonville Jaguars don't take a quarterback with their first-round draft pick, they’re pretty much out of the running for Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles.

Carr
But there are plenty of other quarterbacks they can target, including former Fresno State standout Derek Carr -- whom the Jaguars will be playing host to on Wednesday, according to a league source.

Carr is among the group of quarterbacks most draft analysts rate just behind the Bridgewater/Manziel/Bortles trio. AJ McCarron, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Savage, and Zach Mettenberger also are in the group with Carr.

Some analysts believe Carr may actually be the best quarterback in the draft. ESPN’s Ashley Fox wrote about that on Saturday, and her reasoning makes a lot of sense. Unlike Manziel, Bortles and Garoppolo, Carr played in a pro-style offense at Fresno State -- for a year, anyway.

That was in 2011, when Carr played for coach Pat Hill, who also coached Carr’s older brother David, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2002 draft. Hill was fired after that season and was replaced by Tim DeRuyter, who ran a spread offense.

Fox writes that ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, a former director of pro personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, said teams evaluating Carr need to pop in 2011 tape to get an idea of how he fits in an NFL offense.

"If you limit your exposure to just 2013 or 2012, you're missing the boat," Riddick said. "If you limit yourself to 2012, you are missing 2011, when he ran a quote-unquote pro-style offense, which at a young age I thought he showed excellent proficiency given where he was developmentally at that time."

Jaguars general manager David Caldwell has said it's hard to evaluate college quarterbacks that played in spread offenses because you don't know if they can learn to stay in the pocket, make their reads and deliver the ball on time. That's especially true with Manziel.

The Jaguars coached Carr at the Senior Bowl in January and they liked what they saw. They're going to get a closer look on Wednesday.
Got questions about the Jaguars? I’ll try to answer a representative selection of them every Saturday. Submit your questions via Twitter to @ESPNdirocco.

 

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