Every year, there is a splash player that fans and pundits alike seem to rally around and try and carry to the top of the NFL draft.
This year, that player appears to be Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. It’s basic football that a team cannot win without a great quarterback, so when Bridgewater passes the eye test, it’s easy to see him among the top picks in the 2014 NFL draft.
In this scouting snapshot I want to give you a look at Bridgewater from 2012 and look ahead to the upcoming college football season.
After reviewing six of Bridgewater’s games from last season, two things became very obvious. First is that he played most of the season while hurt. Whether it was his ankle or his wrist, injuries plagued Bridgewater for a big chunk of the year. This fact made grading Bridgewater a little challenging, but the other obvious point from 2012 was when Bridgewater was healthy, football comes very easily to him.
As I watched more and more of Bridgewater, the easier it was to appreciate just what a smooth athlete he is. Whether it’s his drops that are crisp, his mechanics that are tight and sound, or his footwork that shows balance and agility, Bridgewater works with very little wasted movement. P
hysically, Bridgewater has excellent height but has a bit of a slight build. That’s not to say he’s thin, because he isn’t, but rather that he has a lean athletic frame and it serves him well with his speed and quickness. Having said that, I’d be much happier with him if he had 8-10 more quality pounds on him.
Another thing that really stood out to me as a positive is that Bridgewater is able to play so well in a Louisville offense that uses him under center a great deal. With so many novelty college offenses, it’s good to not have to speculate on whether or not a quarterback can go through his drops properly, run a good play action fake and a roll out/bootleg. Bridgewater can do all very well.
I said that Bridgewater is a very smooth athlete, and that can be a good and bad thing. In terms of his arm, there are times where he’s trying to aim the ball and throw to a spot when he needs to just draw back and bring the heat. In the NFL, there are going to be times when he needs to drive the ball with velocity, whether it’s a deep ball so it doesn’t float, or an intermediate route when the windows are tight.
Having said that, he is a smart player who goes through his progressions and typically finds the open receiver. He shows good touch on most routes and can at times really “drop it in the bucket” on deep throws. By all accounts he is a very good teammate and leader on the field as well.
Overall, Bridgewater has an excellent skill set. I am not ready to drop him in as a potential no. 1 overall pick until he can show me improvement in some key areas, and most importantly get through his junior season healthy. Look for a full scouting report on him at the end of the season.