The final week of the NFL is winding down and many teams, who have no play-off aspirations, are now turning their attentions towards this May’s NFL Draft.
This will be the first of several big name scouting reports that will help shed some light on what it is scouts and other various NFL team officials will see when they look into Draft players.
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is considered by many as a top three pick, if not the potential number one overall pick. Here, I take a quick look at what makes Bridgewater such a hot prospect.
By Dillon Smith – Lead NFL Draft Writer – @DillonSmithNFL
While it is not a good idea to base the abilities and potential of a player solely on their stats, it is still good to note the production. Playing all three years while at Louisville and starting for two of those years, Bridgewater has thrown for nearly 10,000 yards and over 70 touchdowns. Each year, the 21-year-old quarterback has managed to not only drop the number of interceptions thrown, starting at 12 his first year and reducing that down the next two years to eight and four respectively, but also increase his completion to over 70 per cent. If anything, these stats help solidify the positives that teams see in Bridgewater.
PROS: With Bridgewater, there are so many things to fall in love with about him that it’s not a mystery why so many teams and scouts covet him and his abilities. When watching Bridgewater, you notice a kind of maturity in the way he holds himself up that is rare to find in such a young quarterback. While many view him as a mobile quarterback, it is important to note that, though this is true, the Louisville signal caller has a pass-first mentality and will only run the ball after he knows there is nothing open and identifies the chance.
The passing skills that he puts on display is something to admire, with excellent ball placement, touch, and timing on his passes. Never losing his cool under pressure, Bridgewater sees the field so well and goes through his progressions like a seasoned pro. Having a combination like accuracy and smart decision-making is deadly for opposing defenses to have to worry about and, if that wasn’t already enough, also showing that he, at times, shows off the arm strength to chuck it deep down the field and hit his receivers in stride makes him that much more of a lethal weapon.
With all these aspects to Bridgewater’s game, it would be easy for almost any team to select him, had they been in the position at the end of this regular season to do so. To reiterate, Teddy is a much more polished quarterback than every other in this draft, with many weapons such as intermediate and deep accuracy, arm strength, maturity, and decision-making.
CONS: There are not many knocks on Bridgewater’s all-round game. He possesses many qualities and traits that make a successful quarterback. If one were to really get down to it, the biggest area of concern might be the thin frame and build. Standing at 6’ 3” and weighing only 196 lbs, it would be ideal if he could bulk up and add about twenty pounds of muscle so as to better protect him from the pass rushers of the NFL. An injury early on to him would definitely delay his progress and development in the pros quite a bit.
One other negative on Bridgewater’s game is his, somewhat, inconsistent deep ball accuracy. There are times, like the game against Miami this past weekend, where he found it difficult to hit his receivers in stride as, several times, he forced his targets to come back and jump up to get the ball. There will be plenty of time during this offseason and in the NFL for Bridgewater to perfect his craft.
Teams have been buzzing for quite some time about the Louisville quarterback going first overall, and if they already haven’t, they will certainly start to evaluate Teddy Bridgewater in the coming months with work outs and the Combine still to go. So, don’t be surprised should you end up watching the Draft and hear his name called within the first couple of minutes.
Teddy Bridgewater’s 2013 highlights: