Both Cleveland and Jacksonville failed to address a need at quarterback in the draft this season, perhaps signaling that the two ballclubs will chase college football's top quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL draft.
Bridgewater is the best signal caller available and, after carving up the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl, he's attracted a lot of attention to himself for the 2013 season. Look for the Cardinal to continue to dominate inferior competition on his way to being a high pick in next year's draft.
Assuming Blaine Gabbert and Brandon Weeden don't turn things around in 2013, a reasonable assumption, the Jaguars and Browns would figure to both want Bridgewater. Cleveland would be a better destination.
The Browns have assembled an impressive roster around the quarterback position, with an elite left tackle in Joe Thomas, a solid receiving corps led by Josh Gordon, a developing running game behind Trent Richardson and an interesting project at tight end with Jordan Cameron.
Simply replace Brandon Weeden's 2012 season with that of a dead-average quarterback and, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the Browns would have ranked in the top half of the NFL last season. Bridgewater, the top quarterback prospect in a strong draft for the position, would be more than average and could push the envelope in Cleveland.
Doug Lesmerises @DougLesmerises
This is it Browns fans. One more year of building and losing, then take Johnny Football or Teddy Bridgewater a year from now and go.4/26/2013, 12:08:43 AM
The quarterback has operated successfully under center in college and would be able to do much of the same in Cleveland. With a power back in Richardson, the Browns could run an iso-type offense built around power and counter runs along with comeback and slant throws.
Establishing a threat up the middle with Richardson would allow Bridgewater to stretch the seam with Cameron, which is a scary thought.
While the quarterback would also win a good number of ballgames in Jacksonville, it'd be something of an awkward fit.
General manager David Caldwell loaded up on spread-type players this offseason, adding speedsters Denard Robinson and Ace Sanders along with Johnny Manziel's left tackle last season, Luke Joeckel, in what looks like an attempt to run a fun-ball offense for the next few years.
Bridgewater would be forced to run a bit of option and make his reads out of the shotgun, where he has less experience. That's not to say he wouldn't thrive, but it wouldn't be tailor-made.
A better option for the Jaguars would be Tajh Boyd, a Clemson Tiger who could win a national championship this season if his team gets a few breaks. Boyd has played alongside Andre Ellington and Sammy Watkins, which gives him unique spread experience and allows him to come in and immediately run the offense in the NFL.
Don't be surprised if both quarterbacks are among the first five players off the board in the 2014 selection process; just keep in mind where each fits best.