With the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans will select the quarterback that will most help them win now.
No, it won’t be Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and the media circus that accompanies him. No, it won’t be UCF’s Blake Bortles and the risks surrounding his upside.
Instead, it will be Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater who will be receiving the call from the Texans front office.
And believe it or not, that’s the best possible route the franchise can go on draft day.
He Has the Resume
After a decent freshman campaign in 2011, the Miami, Fla. native really began to validate that choice. Over his final two seasons, he led Louisville to a 23-3 record, including bowl victories over then-No. 3 Florida in 2012 and the Hurricanes in 2013.
But aside from delivering win after win, Bridgewater also lit up the stat sheet.
If his sophomore season put him on the map—68.5 CMP%, 3,718 YDS, 27 TD, 8 INT, 160.5 RAT—Bridgewater’s junior season made him a household name. In 13 games, he threw for 3,970 yards, 31 touchdowns and just four interceptions on 71.0 percent passing for a passer rating of 171.1.
Even in the Cardinals’ lone loss of the 2013 season to UCF, 38-35, Bridgewater managed to throw for 341 yards and two touchdowns on 76.3 percent passing.
Still, even with all his successes, Bridgewater's work isn't finished yet.
“I just feel that I’m very close, but playing this game you always have room for improvement and areas that you have to improve in,” he said, via HoustonTexans.com's Deepi Sidhu. “Each day I’m out here, I’m just working to perfect my craft.”
He Stands Out Among the Competition
Who deserves to be the No. 1 choice will differ depending on whom you ask.
As the draft grows closer, expect the comparisons among Bridgewater, Manziel and Bortles to only grow in frequency. Each of them will be picked apart as the scouts around the league try to come to a consensus.
Going off their resumes, it would be foolish if that player was anyone other than Bridgewater.
With Bridgewater, an NFL team will be getting a quarterback that rarely makes mistakes and seems immune to pressure.
Over the last two seasons, Bridgewater has only thrown multiple interceptions in a game once. Furthermore, it’s been 22 games since that lone misstep.
In comparison, Manziel has done so six times—four this year alone—while Bortles clocks in at four.
All in all, Bridgewater just seems to have the qualities to make a flawless transition to the next level.
"What I like about Teddy is you see him make NFL-style throws," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said, via USA Today's Jim Corbett. "Their offense is under center. ... Coaches and scouts love that. It makes it easier to evaluate him."
Summing It All Up
The Texans need a quarterback it can trust under center.
Before the 2013 season, this was a team many believed had “Super Bowl contender” written all over it. Instead, poor play from quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Case Keenum proved to be the catalyst for a baffling 2-14 record.
With Bridgewater, Houston will not only get the most NFL-ready quarterback of the class, but also someone who can step in immediately and help the team contend.
What more could the Texans ask for then that?