Ask any athlete in the green room, decision maker in the boardroom or amateur forecaster on the sofa. There is one eternal certainty that rings true for every NFL Draft: nothing is certain. Everything known—from the combine to scouting reports to the rumor mill—pales in comparison to what’s not known.
ESPN The Magazine’s NFL Draft Preview Issue, which hits newsstands Friday, May 2, features Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on the cover. Since his subpar pro day, his critics have only grown louder. But so has his inner voice, reminding him of the strength it took to get here. This time last year, Bridgewater was the hands-down No. 1 quarterback of the 2014 NFL draft. He has everything a team wants: strong arm, good character and high football IQ. But now scouts and GMs wonder if his success is a product of a weak schedule and if Bridgewater is too quiet to lead an NFL team. Nonetheless, if a team drafts Bridgewater and starts him as a rookie, he’ll become one of very few QBs from single-parent households. In the cover story, “Never in Doubt,” The Mag’s Tim Keown takes a look at both the role Bridgewater’s upbringing played in his demeanor and the role socioeconomics play in becoming an NFL QB.
The NFL Draft preview issue also features:
- A Derek Carr feature entitled “Sins of the Brother”: The same toughness question that haunted David Carr during his NFL career could chase younger sibling Derek out of the first round. By Seth Wickersham
- A Blake Bortles profile, “Boy, He Escalated Quickly” that outlines four undisputable reasons the Central Florida QB is more likely bound for Canton than bound to disappoint. By Peter Keating
- In “Inching up the draftboards” The Mag sheds light on small-school standout, Pierre Desir, and that even though the NFL is suddenly smitten with oversize corners Desir is rising above the rest. By Ryan McGee
- “Kings for a day,” an annual project spotlighting mid-round draft prospects – this time featuring Jadeveon Clowney’s South Carolina sidekicks: DE Chaz Sutton, DT Kelcy Quarles, CB Victor Hampton, QB Connor Shaw, and WR Bruce Ellington. By Morty Ain
- A mock draft with ESPN experts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. and a 1-32 ranking of NFL franchises.
- Draft Confidential: The Mag survey of 35 draft hopefuls that delivers some candor on Johnny Football, Clowney and more.
Additional highlights include:
- NCAA/College Sports: The economic downturn that started about six years ago flattened wages and crushed jobs. But sports programs at the nation’s top public colleges have thrived: Revenues continue to reach record levels while payrolls have risen on average about 40 percent. See more in “College sports rise amid downturn” and Magraphic outlining how much colleges made and spent on sports in 2012-2013.
- Don’t Miss: Two years ago, Yasiel Puig fled Cuba in the hands of black-market smugglers. This is the story of how the cost of the defection journey-in money and human lives-shadows him still. From The Mag’s Scott Eden, who spent five months investigating and reporting, “No one walks off the island.”
- MLB: In “The need for speed,” The Mag notes that pitchers are throwing harder than ever, and a few of them, like Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal, run the gun into triple digits. But is that a good thing?
- Trending: The Mag’s Sam Alipour sits down with Mad Men star Jon Hamm to dish about his new film Million Dollar Arm, sports passions and his last swing as Don Draper.
Media Contact: Carrie Kreiswirth firstname.lastname@example.org 860-766-6042