There were three quarterbacks taken in the first round of this year's draft, and one of them has gotten approximately 99.7 percent of the attention.
The "other" rookie quarterbacks haven't hung out with Justin Bieber or been photographed riding an inflatable swan this summer (that we know of) like Cleveland's Johnny Manziel has, but Jacksonville's Blake Bortles and Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater have been getting acclimated to the NFL as well. The funny thing is, the quarterbacks are progressing toward a starting job at the inverse of their draft order.
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Bridgewater, the 32nd pick, seems to be the best bet among the three to start opening week. He'll make his preseason debut on Friday, and according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press he's expected to play about two quarters including some with the starters. Matt Cassel will start, and he has taken most of the first-team reps in practice according to the reporters covering camp. But Bridgewater has cut into some of those reps, and now might be cutting into some of Cassel's game action. It wouldn't be too big of a surprise to see the two switch spots this month, if Bridgewater plays well in the preseason games of course. Most of the reports from Vikings camp about Bridgewater have been positive.
The steady Bridgewater didn't seem too nervous about his first preseason game.
"I was actually talking with Xavier Rhodes at dinner (Monday) and he was more nervous for me than I was for myself," Bridgewater told the Pioneer Press, referring to Rhodes, a second-year cornerback. "I just can't wait to get out there. ... It's finally here, and I'm excited."
Manziel, who was drafted second among the three quarterbacks, seems to have made a move in the Browns' quarterback competition this week, and he might see some first-team reps in Cleveland's preseason opener on Saturday against Detroit. Meanwhile, the first quarterback taken in the draft hasn't gotten any time with the starters.
The Jaguars are taking it slow with Bortles, the third pick of the draft, as they promised. Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union said Bortles hasn't taken a single snap with the starting offense in any practice since he was drafted. While it seems like an outdated notion that the third overall pick could spend an entire season as a backup, the Jaguars have said that's what they'd like to do and their actions are backing that up. It would be a shock if he played at all with the starters in Jacksonville's preseason opener on Friday against Tampa Bay, considering he hasn't even done that in practice, but it'll be interesting to see his first game action with the backups.
Bortles has also done pretty well, completing 9-of-13 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in a scrimmage last week. Coaches have talked about how he reported to camp ahead of where they thought he would be, as far as grasping the playbook.
"I thought he did a good job," said Jaguars starter Chad Henne about Bortles after last week's scrimmage, via ESPN.com. "All his reads were correct, going to the right places with the ball, and that’s all you want with a young guy: Make sure that the ball’s going to the right place and making good decisions out there."
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