Newsday's Bob Glauber goes the extra yard for the inside scoop on the NFL.
Phil Simms sounds off on Manziel, Bridgewater and Bortles
Phil Simms isn’t a big fan of Johnny Manziel.
Or Blake Bortles.
Or even Teddy Bridgewater.
In fact, the former Giants quarterback-turned-CBS-analyst believes that if Geno Smith was in this year’s draft, he’d be the best of the bunch.
“If you’re the New York Jets you’ve got to sit there and go, ‘Wow, good thing we made a move last year and we didn’t wait until this year,’” Simms told Adam Schein on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel on Wednesday. “My first thought is just physically and how he played at the end of the year I would be pretty happy going, ‘Man, alright, we got a guy.’ I think if Geno Smith was in this draft class he would be the number one guy, without question.”
Simms has plenty of questions about Manziel, the Texas A & M star who won the 2012 Heisman Trophy.
“It would concern me, and a lot, that he ran a 4.68 at the Combine,” Simms said. “Is he going to get faster as time goes on? I would admit watching him this past year, maybe it is because I’ve seen him so much, that I didn’t think he was as explosive and as fast as maybe he was the year before. Those are just some really general thoughts I had right away when I watched him. The 30 inch vertical jump? I know it’s a vertical jump but I hate to say it, it bothered me. I expected more explosion. If you’re going to be a scrambling, move around quarterback, I think that’s a pretty important thing, to be explosive and to do these things.”
Simms is also concerned about Manziel’s reckless style, particularly when it comes to tucking the ball in and running.
“The style of play? Does it worry me? Oh, sure it does. Because nobody can play that free and easy in the NFL. Let’s remember he’s had two of the best college offensive linemen in front of him in all of America the last couple of years. He’s got a first round wide receiver. Those are great. Not going to hold that against Johnny Manziel. We’ll see.”
Overall, Simms doesn’t see a franchise-caliber quarterback in this year’s class.
“I think this is a tough class to judge to say there is a true, without question, franchise quarterback ready to be drafted,” Simms told Schein. “And, look, I’ll say it one more time, I haven’t watched them on coach’s film. Usually my first instinct – every once in a while I do back up and go, ‘Oh, boy, I should have watched more film on him before I opened my big mouth’ – but, no, my first thought is none of them jump out at me saying this is the guy, if I had to pick a quarterback first, this is the one I would take.”
Simms isn’t sold on Bridgewater either.
“I have question marks about him, too,” he said. “The arm. What is Teddy Bridgewater going to be? You tell me. What does he do that’s going to drive him over the top in the NFL as we think of quarterbacks? ... I’ll characterize [Bridgewater’s arm strength as] NFL, middle of the pack. … Solid arm. When I say middle of it, I’m talking about all the quarterbacks in the NFL. It’s just an average power arm or whatever. Again, don’t tell me arm strength doesn’t matter because I’m telling you for the one millionth time it does matter.”
Simms said he’s at least intrigued, if not sold, on Bortles, the Central Florida star passer.
“He’s probably the one I want to watch more than anybody,” he said. “I saw Blake Bortles play maybe, I’m going to say five games this year on TV. I just didn’t think I was looking at potentially a top 3 or 4 pick in the Draft. I just didn’t see that. Of course, I didn’t know he was going to come out. My eye didn’t go, ‘Oh wow, that was pretty impressive.’ That didn’t happen to me. Yeah, of course, I liked his size and all that. That’s something you can always count on. At least you have that. That’s what you sell as an NFL team – well he’s got size, he has decent mobility – but I got to tell you, extremely disappointed in his time. How does Blake Bortles, they’re talking about him running and all this stuff, and what was his official time, 4.91?”
So maybe Simms is wrong about one of these guys, sort of like he was about Andrew Luck when the Stanford star was coming into the draft? Simms raised questions about Luck’s arm strength when he came into the league in 2012, but not any more.
“I said some of these things about Andrew Luck, that I didn’t see great throws when he was at Stanford,” he said “Boy, I see a lot of them now in the NFL, that’s for sure. So [Bortles] could be one of those guys. Even at the Combine, I kinda watched his motion and just wasn’t crazy about it, but we’ll see.”