Teddy Bridgewater's Updated 2014 NFL Draft Stock After Win vs. Temple
In the Cardinals' 30-7 win over Temple on Saturday afternoon, the junior signal-caller reminded us yet again why he's a consensus top-three pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
Bridgewater threw for 348 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions on 25-of-35 passing and added three carries for two rushing yards in the Louisville's commanding victory over the hapless Owls. With the win, the No. 7 Cardinals are now 5-0 and undefeated in American Athletic Conference play.
ESPN's College Football Twitter account had this post with a few highlights of Bridgewater's day:
Ten different Louisville receivers had at least one reception on the afternoon, a stat that showcases Bridgewater's ability to spread the ball around and rack up big numbers in the process.
He was also his usual self in the pocket, avoiding pressure from the Temple defense for most of the afternoon. At one point in the second half, before he threw a string of incompletions in an already lopsided game, Bridgewater had completed over 85 percent of his passes.
ESPN's Adam Caplan had some commentary on Bridgewater's first half on Twitter:
Bridgewater's first half vs. Temple: 15-17-228-2 TD. Rarely under pressure. But moved easily away when he was.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) October 5, 2013
Although Temple is hardly the kind of opponent to best test Bridgewater's abilities, there's something to be said for the sparkling numbers he put together against the Owls. For the season, his totals are quite impressive.
There's little doubt Bridgewater is still a full-fledged Heisman candidate, but he'll likely need to throw for more touchdowns—and probably more yardage—in conference games the rest of the way to eclipse a talented field of contenders that currently includes Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Tajh Boyd of Clemson and reigning winner, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.
NBC Sports' Chris Huston needs to see more from the Louisville star before he's ready to move Bridgewater into the top spot on his ballot:
Nice game for Teddy Bridgewater vs. Temple. 25/35, 348 yds 2 TDs. But he needs great games, not nice ones, to have a shot at Heisman.— Chris Huston (@HeismanPundit) October 5, 2013
But Heisman voting hardly registers with NFL scouts, and you can go down the long list of Heisman winners (Tim Tebow, Troy Smith, Matt Leinart, among others) who have struggled at the next level to justify that assertion.
It's a long season ahead, and there will be more than ample opportunity for Bridgewater to blow his current draft standing. Just ask Geno Smith. The fall from the top of draft boards—and Heisman rankings—can be swift.
There's very little room for error when you are praised the way Bridgewater has been since the middle of the 2012 season and have aspirations to be the first pick in the draft.
In the wake of Louisville's win over Temple, Bridgewater still hasn't done anything to suggest he isn't worthy of the top-pick hype he's receiving. Scouts will want to see how he responds against tougher defenses, but the AAC schedule simply isn't constructed to where that's going to happen on a weekly basis.
One thing potentially working in Bridgewater's favor is his outstanding character. This video tweet from the NCAA account can explain:
Where will Bridgewater be taken in the 2014 NFL draft?
On and off the field, the three-year Louisville starter is working to prove to scouts and NFL teams that he's the best quarterback in a year in which the position is loaded with NFL-level talent.
Bridgewater will remain locked into the top spot on many mock draft boards. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected the Jacksonville Jaguars to take the quarterback in his latest mock, an end game Jags fans have to love after watching him carve up Temple's defense.
As it stands, visions of Bridgewater wearing No. 5 for the Jags next season certainly aren't far-fetched. We'll continue to track his progress as the season moves forward, but "real deal" is the phrase that most comes to mind when watching this young man play football.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter.
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