One of the best things about Bridgewater was his progression from 2011 to 2013. In 2011, he passed for 2,129 yards, threw 14 touchdowns, had 12 interceptions and rushed for four touchdowns. Even though his rushing touchdowns decreased in 2013, he looked like a completely different player with 3,970 passing yards, 31 touchdown passes, four interceptions and one rushing touchdown. These statistics indicate a player who has a great work ethic and the ability to mature.
Bridgewater put together two really strong seasons, but fantasy players will still be interested in other options for their draft. I am more of a fan of Lindsey Duke than her boyfriend Blake Bortles, but Bortles has the ability to quickly make a fantasy impact. He reminds me of Andrew Luck in the sense that he won’t rush for as many yards as Robert Griffin III, but he was still able to rush for 272 yards and had six rushing touchdowns in 2013.
He also passed for 3,581 yards and threw 25 touchdowns, so we know the he can be a threat passing and running the ball.
Derek Carr of the Fresno State Bulldogs is also an intriguing option as a fantasy football starter. Despite the criticism of the quality of opponents that Carr faced, he was still able to pass for 5,082 yards and threw 50 touchdowns in 2013. Between the 2011 to 2013 seasons, Carr threw an incredible 113 touchdowns. I personally wouldn’t draft him, but Carr is still on my radar.
With the options of Manziel, Bortles and Carr available for your draft, should you spend a pick on Bridgewater? My answer: No. Bridgewater improved his mechanics each year he played in college, but it took time for him to develop. He is not a player who can instantly run an NFL offense like Luck and Griffin, and he will need time to learn and adapt to the NFL. Bridgewater will go through his share of growing pains in 2014.
Bridgewater has the talent and ability to become a franchise quarterback, but it will take time. The defenses in the NFL seem to have a hard time figuring out how to contain a rookie quarterback who can run the ball, and Bortles and Manziel will most likely have better fantasy seasons than Bridgewater because of this fact.
While Bridgewater has the opportunity to become a high-scoring quarterback in two or three years, 2014 should not be the year that you own him.