Teddy Bridgewater skipping out on participating in several drills at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine was a lot of things, but it wasn't harmful to his draft stock.
Was it surprising? Yes.
Could it be considered disrespectful to the combine process? Maybe.
But if Bridgewater didn't feel comfortable with running or throwing in Indianapolis, it was the right decision for the former Louisville quarterback.
A lot of quarterbacks, like A.J. McCarron, Blake Bortles and some lesser-known prospects, needed to do as much as possible for the NFL scouts and coaches in attendance to prove their skills and, in some cases, improve their stock.
But with Bridgewater being known all season as one of the top—if not the top prospect—in the draft at the quarterback position, he simply wanted to control the environment and knew he had another chance to prove himself at his pro day.
That was one of the main reasons why Bridgewater decided not to throw at the combine, according to Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel:
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
With Bridgewater having the chance to control his own process and throw to receivers he's grown comfortable with at Lousville during his pro day, it's simply a workout that some quarterbacks would rather do back at home.
It's not uncommon for quarterbacks not to throw at the combine. Matt Ryan chose to throw at his pro day rather than the combine, and we all know how that decision worked out, as Ryan was the first quarterback taken at No. 3 in the 2008 draft.
Not throwing was one thing, but not running the 40-yard dash was blasphemous, right?
No, not really. Once again, saying that he would run then not participating was a bit absurd and a little disrespectful to the combine process, but it was understandable.
Bridgewater came into the combine just a little heavier than his playing weight at Louisville, which might have played into his decision, as Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports notes:
#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
Not to insinuate that Bridgewater is out of shape, but it just adds to the fact that he might be working on his body before the draft and didn't feel a comfort level at the combine. In fact, as Aaron Nagler of Bleacher Report points out, Bridgewater is continuing to pack on the pounds:
Teddy Bridgewater says it was a "huge focus" to bulk up. Has put on 9 pounds since the end of the college season.— Aaron Nagler (@Aaron_Nagler) February 22, 2014
This is yet another workout that he will save for his pro day, but he didn't waste everyone's time, as he did go through other workouts. His results are in the top five of the 20-yard shuttle and broad jump, while finishing just outside of the top performers in the vertical jump, according to NFL.com.
While he didn't do as much as scouts or coaches maybe wanted him to, Bridgewater didn't go out to the combine and come away with nothing. The 6'2", 214-pounder spoke about his thoughts on his stock versus the rest of the class, according to Jim Corbett of USA Today:
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.
[...] I'm just a competitor. I'll line up with any team and just compete.
Well, several scouts may be questioning the last half of that statement after he didn't participate in many of the drills on Sunday, but the confidence has to be reassuring. Not that confidence can help complete an out-route during a two-minute drill on Sundays with precision, but it certainly helps at his position.
The decision could be one that pays off for Bridgewater, but it does add pressure on his results during pro day. But the film doesn't lie, and Bridgewater is still one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, regardless of what people think about him sitting out of workouts.
Though some might have questioned his decision on Sunday, Bridgewater still has several months to work on his craft and prove himself at his pro day. When the draft does officially start, Bridgewater will still be one of the best players coming off the board early.
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