Pro days are vastly overrated.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater put together three strong and memorable seasons in college football, throwing for almost 10,000 yards and 72 touchdowns. He won a bowl game here or there, too. However, leading up to the NFL Draft, Bridgewater saw his stock slide quite a bit. Not because of his track record at Louisville, not because of what he said to NFL teams. But instead, because one day, one day out of 365 days in a year where Bridgewater wasn’t at his best.
His pro day.
Mike Mayock stated that the best pro day he ever saw from a quarterback was from none other than JaMarcus Russell. Anyone want to tell me where Russell is right now? No, seriously. Anyone? The guy isn’t even in the NFL anymore, and was one of the biggest busts in recent memory. Pro days are of such little importance to me, but the Minnesota Vikings are pretty glad that they are so important to everyone else, as it allowed them to snag the most pro-ready quarterback in this class with the final pick of the 1st round.
Fantasy owners should be happy, too.
Bridgewater landed in an ideal spot for fantasy purposes, as the Vikings have a fantasy friendly offense led by Norv Turner. One of the game’s best offensive minds, Turner was responsible for the Browns leading the league in pass attempts per game in 2013 (42.6), while the likes of Brian Hoyer had some very strong outings when he was healthy last year. It’s hard to say that Minnesota, with the best running back in football in Adrian Peterson in the backfield, will lead the league in pass attempts, but Turner stated that Peterson is going to catch 50-60 passes this season, so it certainly won’t be a run-first offense, so to speak. The Vikings stated that it will be an open competition for the starting job between he and veteran Matt Cassel, but Minnesota is “hopeful” that their rookie will win the job, so it appears they will give him every possible chance. It’s a great fit, too, as Bridgewater is an incredibly patient and poised passer who excels at throwing intermediate passes, which is what he’ll be doing in this offense. Greg Pishek of Rotoworld analyzed the types of throws the top rookie passers made in college, but let’s look at Bridgewater.
*hat tip to Greg Pishek
Bridgewater is clearly a very accurate intermediate passer, and with guys like Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson able to make things happen after the catch, he won’t need to do a lot to post serviceable fantasy numbers in this offense. And while looking at opposing defenses from last season can sometimes be irrelevant, it is worth noting that the Vikings have some good “on paper” matchups this year, facing teams like the Bills, Lions, Redskins, Falcons, Buccaneers and Packers.
Many fantasy owners may be leaning towards Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles, and I get it. They have more rushing upside, which always translates to boatloads of fantasy success. But Bridgewater certainly isn’t an inept runner with the football. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if Bridgewater was the top-scoring fantasy rookie passer in 2014.