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Potential Pick: QB Bridgewater Could Ignite Trade Scenarios
(Editor’s Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held May 8-10, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today’s featured player is Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater).
Name: Teddy Bridgewater
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 215
Honors: Bridgewater was a second-team All-American Athletic Conference performer in 2013 after he was Big East Offensive Player of the Year and won Sugar Bowl MVP in 2012.
Key stat: Bridgewater became Louisville’s single-season record holder with 31 touchdown passes last year. In 303 passing attempts during the 2013 season, Bridgewater tossed just four interceptions.
Where He’s Projected: Before his Pro Day, Bridgewater was projected as a Top 10 pick, if not higher. And who knows if he stays there. But Pro Days on college campuses, in a player’s comfortable setting is usually when they perform the best. And that’s why Bridgewater’s Pro Day performance earlier this week shocked many onlookers. A lot of wobbly passes came from Bridgewater’s right arm and several of them hit the ground. He was off on his throws and it’s likely the Louisville standout slides in the middle of the first round, if not lower.
How He Helps the Cowboys: More than likely, Bridgewater could help the Cowboys if he falls in the first round, but that doesn’t mean Dallas has to take him. We’ve seen other highly-ranked quarterbacks drop and it’s turned into value for the Cowboys, who made a draft-day trade with a team wanting to get the fallen quarterback. It happened in 2004 when Buffalo wanted J.P. Losman and then again in 2007 when Cleveland traded up with the Cowboys to get Brady Quinn. Both times the Cowboys ended up getting a first-round pick in the next season. It’s unlikely that scenario would happen again, but sometimes a deal is too good to pass up on him, and usually, those deals will occur when a team wants a quarterback. As for Bridgewater coming to Dallas, that probably doesn’t happen because the Cowboys won’t be looking to add a passer until the middle to later rounds, especially now with Brandon Weeden signed. They will never pass up on great value, but unless Bridgewater completely falls to the third round, his chances of ending up in Dallas seem slim.
Scout’s Take: Of the quarterbacks that are part of this 2014 NFL Draft projected as first round talent, Bridgewater is the one that I like the least.
It has nothing to do with him, as he has those character intangibles – it’s more the physical ones. I am struggling with his physical build and in my mind I do not see him putting on more weight to his frame. He appears very slight to me on film, and I feel like he will always be this type of player physically.
When studying him throwing the ball, I do not see a quarterback that plays with a great deal of power. His ability to really drive the ball is lacking. He can make touch throws all day and his accuracy is impressive but in this league with the way that defensive backs play, you had better be able to get the ball there before they have an opportunity to break on you.
There are snaps where his ball does hang on him and he gets away with it. His strength is going to be with his smarts and his ability to understand where he needs to go with the ball. I do see timing and anticipation along with good decision making. I will give him high marks for his pocket awareness and his ability to move and buy himself a second chance with the ball in his hands.
He’s an impressive ball handler when it comes to handling play fakes and selling them. He plays light on his feet and moves with a great deal of ease to avoid the rush. This is not the type of quarterback that is going to panic in the pocket and become jumpy -- of all the top quarterbacks, he is the one that handles those situations the best.
When he delivers the ball, you don’t see his receivers really have to work to adjust to the ball. He can be accurate and put the ball on them for run after the catch. Despite what he showed at his Pro Day on March 17th, he is a very accurate quarterback on tape. He sets up quickly and throws the ball with a compact motion.
Again, I like his ability to throw the touch passes and routes underneath. His deep ball max appears to be about 55 yards, and he really has to wind up to get the ball out there – he put his whole body into the throw.
One interesting note is that Bridgewater played his entire career at Louisville with gloves on his hands. Those hands measured 9 ¼ at the Combine, which was the smallest of the top quarterbacks in the draft, but the same size as Jimmy Garoppolo. He did not throw with the gloves on for his pro day, which was a switch, and there were some thoughts that this hurt his accuracy.
I believe Bridgewater is going to have to go to a team where the offensive system requires the quarterback to get the ball out quickly and into the playmakers’ hands and let them go to work. There are comparisons of Teddy Bridgewater to Russell Wilson, but I just don’t see it. Physically Russell Wilson plays like he can function in any type of conditions, I am not sure that Bridgewater has that same type.
I understand that Bridgewater played at Louisville and in some cold games but there just isn’t that physical-looking body that I see with Wilson and that bothers me. – Bryan Broaddus