Teddy Bridgewater's 2014 NFL Draft Stock After Win in Russell Athletic Bowl

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2013

Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) sets to throw during the first quarter of the Russell Athletic Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Teddy Bridgewater did nothing short of reinforce the widely held notion he is the top quarterback prospect entering the 2014 NFL draft with a strong showing as he led the No. 18 Louisville Cardinals over the Miami Hurricanes in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

While also a dominant showing for the Cardinals in a 36-9 win, it was all about Bridgewater in what may have been his final collegiate game. The junior threw for a career-high 447 yards and three scores on a 35-of-45 day, with another touchdown on the ground for good measure.

Bridgewater entered the game with 3,523 yards, 28 touchdowns and four interceptions to his name and ranked as the No. 1 2014 quarterback prospect over at CBS Sports. But remember, Bridgewater is not a lock to enter the draft as John Middlekauff of CSN Bay Area reported:

But after the impressive performance, Bridgewater made it sound like his collegiate career was at an end, per Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle:

The star quarterback further elaborated after the game, per Adam Himmelsbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal:

Bridgewater's stock could not get any higher at this point, especially after an impressive swan song against the Hurricanes. He has his degree. He has two bowl wins. Despite the rumblings of some, he is likely the first quarterback, and perhaps player, off the board in 2014, which is not a guarantee should he return for another season.

Daryl Ruiter of CBS Radio put it best after the big win:

Listed at 6'3" and 205 pounds, Bridgewater still has to answer questions about his height as NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano points out:

Alas, some in the draft community, such as CBS Sports' Dane Brugler, say there is no consensus top quarterback—yet:

At some point, that title will go to Bridgewater—if it has not by the next morning after his impressive showing against Miami.

NFL teams can forgive his imperfect physical traits (especially after being taught a lesson by Russell Wilson) and instead focus on his pinpoint accuracy (70.2 completion percentage in regular season) and other impressive pro intangibles.

The surgical precision and relentless dismantling of the Hurricanes was simply the icing on the cake for Bridgewater's stock. His on-field product is pristine, and all he has to do now is interview and work out well for pro teams—if he declares, that is.


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