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Second reads on Derek Carr, Johnny Manziel and the 2014 QB class

This is part of a seven-story package assessing the state of the young NFL quarterback. Look for more on Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton and others in ESPN The Magazine's How to Raise a QB Issue, on newsstands Nov. 13. Subscribe today!

DEREK CARR
RAIDERS

HEIGHT 6-3 / WEIGHT 215 / QBR 66.6

THE SCOUTING REPORT

Carr is going to be a star in this league, but management still needs to put more skill players around him.1 He's playing with confidence, but he still forces some difficult throws instead of taking what the defense allows.2 He could use more protection from his offensive line,3 but he's the best prospect of these second-year QBs.4

THE RESPONSE
KC Joyner, ESPN NFL Insider
1 Sure, but they also need to get coach Jack Del Rio to support an offense that revolves around a passing game. In nine seasons in Jacksonville, his offenses ranked in the top half of the NFL in pass attempts just once.

Joyner
2 He's actually ahead of the curve here. He has a solid 1.1 percent bad decision rate. (BDR shows how often a passer makes a mental mistake that leads to a turnover chance.) The league average is 1.3 percent.

Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders
3 I humbly disagree. Oakland's offensive line is protecting Carr well. The Raiders rank first in adjusted sack rate (sacks per pass attempt, adjusted for down, distance and opponent) and first in pressure rate..

Matt Bowen, ESPN NFL Insider
4 Agree. Carr is playing the best football of the '14 class. He's a gunslinger, which can lead to trouble, but he doesn't back down from any throws. I love that quality when the situation presents itself. The Raiders have their QB.

BLAKE BORTLES
JAGUARS

HEIGHT 6-5 / WEIGHT 245 / QBR 59.4
THE SCOUTING REPORT

In Bortles' rookie season, the Jags were very protective of him, but they have a different philosophy this year, and he seems to have a better grasp.1 His accuracy isn't great (a little Eli-like),2 but he plays a lot with his legs and makes plays in the passing game off that.3 There's just been so little continuity with his skill players, which has limited his development.4

THE RESPONSE
Aaron Schatz,Football Outsiders
1 Very different philosophy. Bortles threw just 15.4 percent of his passes more than 15 yards downfield as a rookie, the second-lowest rate among all starting QBs. This year: 27.2 percent, the highest of any starting QB this season.

Matt Bowen, ESPN NFL Insider
2 He's never been a very accurate passer or a rhythm guy like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. But he's made strong strides in his lower-body mechanics -- his technique and footwork.

KC Joyner, ESPN NFL Insider
3Bortles ranks in the top half of all starting QBs in QBR on outside-the-pockets passes (47.2), ahead of Carr, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck, among others. That shows you how dangerous he can be on the run.

Schatz
4 He hasn't had any less continuity than Bridgewater or Carr. Sixty-seven percent of his offensive snaps included skill players who were there last year. Bridgewater and Carr: 58* and 47 percent, respectively.

TEDDY BRIDGEWATER
VIKINGS

HEIGHT 6-2 WEIGHT 215 QBR 62.3

THE SCOUTING REPORT

Teams are forcing Bridgewater to pass,1 and he's making good throws on outs and back-shoulder fades,2 but there are still questions with his deep stuff.3 He struggles with some types of pressures, and he needs to improve his pocket awareness instead of forcing throws, but that's pretty standard for most young guys.4

THE RESPONSE
KC Joyner, ESPN NFL Insider
1 Bridgewater ranks 28th among quarterbacks in dropbacks per game (33.1), and Minnesota is tied for fourth in rushing attempts per game (30.1). I'm not sure that can be called forcing him to pass.

Joyner
2 True. Bridgewater actually attempts more passes per game outside the numbers (17.1) than Rodgers -- and has a slightly better yards-per-attempt average on those throws (6.9 for Bridgewater, 6.5 for Rodgers).

Matt Bowen, ESPN NFL Insider
3 Agree, yes. He has trouble with his deep-ball accuracy -- his passes float too much -- and he has a tendency to miss on throws when he drops his arm angle at the release point, which causes the ball to sail long.

Aaron Schatz,Football Outsiders
4 He definitely struggles under pressure. He has a 5.1 QBR when he's pressured, which ranks 24th in the NFL. And just 10 quarterbacks are sacked more per game.

JOHNNY MANZIEL
BROWNS

HEIGHT 6-0 / WEIGHT 210 / QBR 60.6

THE SCOUTING REPORT

So far this year Manziel looks like he's trying not to be Johnny Football anymore, as far as the constant scrambling and throwing it all over the place goes.1 In limited snaps, he's shown improved maturity and poise.2 And in his start against Tennessee in Week 2, he did a nice job (11.5 ypa).3 Even so, it would still be difficult benching Josh McCown for him.4

THE RESPONSE
Matt Bowen, ESPN NFL Insider
1 Here's the major thing: He isn't playing out of control. Even in a small sample size this season, he's not immediately looking for those escape doors in the pocket as much, and he's still showing a rare ability to create.

KC Joyner, ESPN NFL Insider
2 It would be difficult to be less poised than Manziel appeared to be in his limited time last season. His 2.4 percent bad decision rate was nearly double the league average.

Joyner
3 Manziel had a 75.5 Total QBR against the Titans in Week 2. It's a single game, sure, but that's near-elite territory, so it's being established that he does have a high ceiling.

Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders
4 Cleveland's odds of making the playoffs are down to 0.1 percent. What does this team gain by playing McCown instead of giving Manziel regular-season playing time to determine whether he's the QB of the future?

*Bridgewater's figure does not include snaps with Adrian Peterson, who played just one game in 2014.

All stats through Week 9.

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