The NFL invited 30 top prospects to attend the draft in New York next month and released the list of invitees yesterday afternoon. The list is comprised of players expected to be drafted in one of the first three rounds and will take place at the iconic, Radio City Music Hall. Only four college teams had multiple players (or former players I should say) invited.
Some of the teams you’d expect to see represented with multiple invitees are indeed on the list, led by Alabama and Texas A&M, each with three players. Representing the Crimson Tide will be safety, Ha Ha Clinton Dix, offensive tackle, Cyrus Kouandjio and linebacker, C.J. Mosley.
The Aggies will have quarterback, Johnny Manziel, offensive tackle, Jake Matthews and wide receiver, Mike Evans. Manziel, Matthews and Evans are all projected to be drafted in the top 10 by Sports Illustrated, specifically, 4th, 5th and 7th respectively.
So, who are the other two teams with multiple invitees you may ask? Maybe traditional powers like Michigan? Auburn? Florida State? USC? Those would all be great guesses and in most years probably true but not in this draft.
The Ohio State Buckeyes and Louisville Cardinals are the correct answers in case you were playing my little trivia game (Sorry, I don’t have prizes for those who got all four teams right). The Buckeyes had cornerback, Bradley Roby and linebacker, Ryan Shazier invited and both are projected first-rounders by SI.com. They see Roby going to the Jets at pick No.18 and Shazier to the Bengals at pick No.24
As for your hometown Cardinals? Quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater and safety, Calvin Pryor will be attending and like the Buckeyes duo, both former Cardinals are expected to go in the first round. Pryor has steadily seen his stock rise with solid workouts and a great combine while Bridgewater has been the enigma of this years draft.
Teddy was once considered a probable No.1 overall pick but mid-season of his junior campaign started a tail spin, in the eyes of some, and an uninspired Pro Day in front of over 20 NFL teams left some to question his value. Sticking with Sports Illustrated for this piece, Bridgewater is taken off the board at the No.8 pick to Minnesota with Pryor going 14th and being reunited with former Louisville assistant, Clint Hurtt in Chicago.
I have seen a few mock drafts that have Bridgewater going as far as the seventh pick in the second round but most still have him being taken in the first. While his stock has plummeted recently on some sites, Mel Kiper still lists Bridgewater as the number one overall quarterback in the draft. As someone who saw first-hand, the abilities of Teddy on many occasions, I don’t think there is any way possible that he does not get drafted in the first round. Personally, I think Arizona takes him witht he 20th pick if he is not selected before then.
Yes, Teddy is not the biggest, fastest or most mechanically sound quarterback in the draft, but he has proven time and time again that he can make all the necessary throws to win games on some very big stages against other future NFL talent. I’d have to rank him best overall in terms of sheer will to win and guts. Nobody knows for sure where these guys will be drafted but it’s safe to say that Louisville is now on the cusp of being looked at as one of the premier college football programs in the country.