In this year’s NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns hold the No. 4 and No. 26 overall picks. Speculation is that the Browns will pass on a quarterback with the fourth overall choice, deferring to the second pick in the first round. The key name that’s been thrown around is Derek Carr, but Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater wouldn’t be a stretch at No. 26 for the Browns.
For a long period of time, Bridgewater was thought to be a lock for the No. 1 overall choice in the draft, but an ugly pro day and some questions about his size have seemingly taken him out of the top quarterback equation. For Cleveland, solidifying the QB position is a priority — and something the franchise has been unable to nail down. Brian Hoyer looks like he will be given the starting job at the outset of the season, but could be given a short leash.
In Louisville’s pro-style offense, Bridgewater flourished in his three seasons as a starter, amassing 9,987 yards passing and 72 touchdowns. If chosen by Cleveland, the belief is that he will have a year to develop and grow accustom to the NFL. But, for young Browns quarterbacks, that hasn’t meant much and Bridgewater’s slight frame could be cause for concern.
With a developing offensive line, Bridgewater would benefit from a year on the sideline to take perspective and to avoid taking hits. According to pro scouts, he is in need of a few minor mechanic changes, but seems to be fit for the next level.
Best-case scenario for the Browns is that they draft Bridgewater at No. 26 and he develops into the franchise quarterback they’ve desperately needed; worst-case is that Bridgewater is thrown into the fire and becomes No. 20 in the long line of quarterbacks who have started for Cleveland since 1999.
Predicting the NFL draft is tough, and the truth is that nobody truly knows who can make it at the next level, but it appears as though the Browns could do much worse than Bridgewater in the first round of the draft.