Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took a significant risk on Sunday, opting to sit out some of the competitive drills at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.
CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman was among the first to report that Bridgewater would skip the 40-yard dash and watch from the sidelines this weekend:
#Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, who packed on 9 lbs since the season ended to get to 214 won't throw OR run here in Indy.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) February 23, 2014
Prior to Sunday's workouts, Bridgewater confirmed that he, like many other top quarterback prospects, would sit out of the passing drills and wait to showcase his arm at his upcoming pro day, per the Orlando Sentinel's Paul Tenorio:
Bridgewater said yesterday he isn't throwing because he's a perfectionist. Wanted more control over WRs. Also not running today.— Paul Tenorio (@osknights) February 23, 2014
Having zero familiarity with the receivers and throwing without any defensive coverage, it's hard to say whether Bridgewater could have proved much by opting to participate. However, sitting out some of the drills is a much more risky choice considering he would have had a shot to top some of his contemporaries in key workouts.
|40-Yard Dash||Bench Press||Vertical Jump||Broad Jump||3-Cone Drill||20-Yard Shuttle||60-Yard Shuttle|
Prior to bowing out of Sunday's workouts, Bridgewater, who measured in at 6'2", 214 pounds, expressed immense confidence in his abilities when talking to the media, per USA Today's Jim Corbett.
"No doubt, I feel that I'm the best quarterback in this draft. I'm not going to just say that," Bridgewater said. "I actually feel I can back up these words. I'm just confident in myself and my capability of doing all the things at this position and to go out there and prove that I'm the best guy."
While much will be made about Bridgewater's remarks because he didn't take full advantage of the opportunity to back them up in Indianapolis, it's clear that he still remains one of the top prospects available. He has certainly cemented himself in the conversion when it comes to the elite quarterbacks in the 2014 draft class.
Bridgewater completed 71 percent of his passes in 2013 (second best in FBS), throwing for 3,970 yards, 31 touchdowns and just four interceptions all year. Although he only carried the ball 63 times for 78 yards, his pocket presence and mobility were on display throughout the season as he avoided pass-rushers and extended plays with his legs.
In addition to his accuracy, Bridgewater's durability and composure make him an attractive prospect ahead of May's draft.
But no one was talking about Bridgewater's abilities on Sunday, instead focusing on his decision not to participate in the 40-yard dash.
SUPER surprised bridgewater didn't run— shaun king (@realshaunking) February 23, 2014
So what exactly is Bridgewater going to do at the combine? Show he can call plays in a huddle? Ridiculous.— Zack Shields (@Zack_Shields) February 23, 2014
While the majority of NFL analysts and fans were surprised and disappointed, some commended Bridgewater's decision.
Teddy Bridgewater skipped the 40-yard dash at the Combine. Probably wise. He's a passer first anyway.— Steve Andress (@steveandress) February 23, 2014
Bridgewater's 30-inch vertical jump was underwhelming, but he's a quarterback, not a power forward. Plus, he made up for his performance with one of the best broad jumps of any signal-caller at the combine, covering almost 9'5".
Although Bridgewater's combine numbers, good or bad, weren't going to change what he's shown on tape over the past three seasons at Louisville, teams in need of a quarterback may put significant stock in his decision to sit out.
Bridgewater won't run or throw but will do broad jump at the combine? He's not the first or last but that is crap. I wouldn't invite him— Brandon Phillips (@BPhillips83) February 23, 2014
We won't know until May whether Bridgewater's risky decision will cost him. But for now, he can expect a heavy dose of criticism from writers, analysts and fans who had high expectations for him this February.