Teddy Bridgewater’s Draft Status

Teddy Bridgewater throwing one of his many collegiate passes

Teddy Bridgewater throwing one of his many collegiate passes

Colton Cardinal, Sports Analyst

Teddy Bridgwater in the 2012 Sugar Bowl

The 2014 NFL draft could be remembered as one of the most talented classes we have ever seen. The 2013 draft was the year of the offensive linemen, an important position albeit not the most exciting one.

Football fans are in for a treat this year however as the quarterback position looks to be one of the deepest with such first round contenders as Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles from the University of Central Florida, Derek Carr the brother of past first pick David Carr who both hail from Fresno State. But one of if not the most intriguing of the 2014 class of quarterbacks is Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville.

Bridgewater led his Louisville Cardinals last season to a near perfect season losing only once to UCF captained by Blake Bortles, and a Russell Athletic Bowl Victory in December. Aside from the impressive number of wins Bridgewater completed 303 of his 427 attempts which would be a 71% completion rating, making him the most accurate of his aforementioned contemporaries. Noteworthy accuracy resulted in 31 touchdowns and only four interceptions the entire season.

Bridgwater’s passing abilities were well showcased this past season but one statistic that lacked were his rushing numbers. Only rushing a combined 164 yards and scoring six rushing touchdowns in his whole collegiate career Bridgewater has never been known as a runner. This could go either way for an NFL general manager searching for key to his team’s future.

Standing at six feet and three inches and weighing in at just under 200 pounds GM’s may be turned away by his size and potential for injury in the big leagues, but his predisposition for remaining in the pocket and making accurate short to mid-range passes may make him a more desirable selection this year.

Bridgewater’s size is nothing to sneeze at, but does it truly matter in the pros?

Today’s NFL is all about passing and rushing quarterbacks have short expiration dates. NFL franchises want Tom Bradys and Peyton Mannings, pocket passing gunslingers with tremendous accuracy and Teddy Bridgewater certainly fits the bill.

But a team with a west coast offensive that desires an effective running quarterback who could mimic quarterbacks like Russell Wilson or Cam Newton will likely look elsewhere. Bridgewater lacks the speed and agility of Wilson and the size of Cam Newton to make him a durable rushing quarterback.

In the past couple of years rookie quarterbacks have been more useful and have had quicker success. The 2011, 2012 and 2013 drafts presented an interesting dichotomy in the QB position, with rushers like Russell Wilson and Robert Griffen III, along with effective passers like Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick, all of whom have led their teams to the playoffs in their first few seasons at the helm.

These recent additions to the NFL QB pool have begun to blur the lines of rusher and passer, each with their own levels of success in both method of moving the ball. The big-bodied rushers like Newton, Kaepernick, and Luck have proved durable and useful, while managing to be accurate and strong armed gunslingers.

On the other hand we have Robert Griffin III, who relied on his feet more than others and is on the smaller side which resulted in a short playoff appearance in 2012 and a career jeopardizing injury.

Like these quarterbacks Bridgewater will likely be called upon to be the starter for whichever team chooses him. The question is will he be asked to be more flexible in the pros and to run the ball, or will he be allowed to stay in the pocket and strictly use his arm.

Bridgewater stands next to Johnny Manziel at the NFL Combine

To add to the problems that come with his lack of size and rushing abilities Bridgewater’s combine was extremely disappointing and set many analysts against him.

Skipping the 40-yard dash, the bench press, and pass exercises was not a wise idea as teams will not be properly evaluate his speed, strength, and throwing abilities. Even if he is a pass first kind of QB teams will still want to see everything that he can do.

Despite a weak appearance at the combine and questionable size and speed, Bridgewater still seems like a solid choice to fill a professional team’s role at quarterback.

With pro-level passing abilities Bridgewater looks that he can hold his own in the NFL and possibly lead his team to new found success.