Let’s clear something up right away—Teddy Bridgewater is going to be one of the first players taken in the 2014 NFL draft. There are too many teams with desperate needs at quarterback for him not to be.
In fact, there is certainly a chance he could be the very first player taken, although he missed a golden opportunity to improve those odds at the combine in Indianapolis.
The former Louisville quarterback elected not to participate in the running or throwing drills, despite the fact that his fellow competitors for the top spot in the draft did. Among those who ran were Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Blake Bortles of Central Florida.
Obviously, Bridgewater had every right to make the choice to forego the drills, but it doesn’t reflect well on his competitive spirit if you ask Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (via ESPN’s Josina Anderson):
Just caught up with Tajh Boyd and asked him what he thought about Bridgewater not throwing/ running. "I thought we were here to compete."— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) February 23, 2014
Even though he didn’t participate in the majority of the combine, Bridgewater isn’t lacking in confidence if his comments to reporters that were passed along by Jim Corbett of USA Today were any indication:
No doubt, I feel that I'm the best quarterback in this draft. I'm not going to just say that. 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.
It’s easy to read those comments and wonder why Bridgewater didn’t back up those words or prove he’s the best guy in Indianapolis though.
He measured 6’2” and 214 pounds, which was 18 more pounds than he weighed at Louisville.
Bridgewater has been criticized for lacking bulk in the past, so the extra weight shouldn’t automatically be interpreted as a negative thing. However, his athleticism and ability to elude pass-rushers in the pocket and tuck the ball and run are major parts of what make his game so appealing to scouts at the next level.
Proving that he still has his speed and quickness with the extra bulk was the biggest missed opportunity for Bridgewater at the combine in terms of the running drills.
Bridgewater has also been working with former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke at the IMG facility in Bradenton, Fla. since the college season ended. Reportedly, Weinke is improving the former Cardinal's mechanics and encouraging Bridgewater to use his legs more in his throws to increase his velocity.
Again, Bridgewater had a chance to demonstrate all the work he has put in with Weinke at the combine during the throwing drills but chose not to.
Had he performed impressively in the mechanics department in the workouts, scouts could have combined that with the already formidable tape that exists on Bridgewater. It would have made a fairly convincing case for the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Which quarterback will be drafted first?
Looking ahead, Bridgewater will have to impress scouts at the Louisville pro day on March 17.
It will be an opportunity for him to show off his new-found mechanics and velocity on his throws, while also proving that he still has the same speed and quickness with the additional weight.
If Bridgewater wants to keep his name atop the draft board alongside Manziel and Bortles, he will need to impress.
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