When it was confirmed that the Houston Texans would receive the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft following the regular season, they appeared primed to select Teddy Bridgewater to fill a void at quarterback. Recent developments have put Bridgewater’s status as the top pick, and even as the top quarterback in doubt, leaving him with much to prove before the draft.
In addition to an unimpressive pro day, Bridgewater’s workouts with individual teams "have also gone very shakily,” according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Agent Kennard McGuire denied the reports of Bridgewater’s subpar workouts, saying that Bridgewater has been performing well.
Teddy has visited multiple teams with more workouts and visits coming in the near future. The assessment we received from the one workout was ‘simply amazing and sharp,' and we expect nothing short or less than stellar in the upcoming workouts in the very near future.
True or not, Bridgewater appears to be in a pre-draft free fall. Bridgewater will still have to prove to teams that he can be a franchise quarterback worthy of a top pick.
Bridgewater won’t have to answer many questions about his field vision or arm strength. Both were pluses during his time at Louisville, as best highlighted by this touchdown pass against Cincinnati that surely had NFL scouts interested.
Accuracy won’t be a big issue for Bridgewater either, as he completed 71 percent of his passes in 2014 with only four interceptions. Although they run vastly different offensive systems, Bridgewater’s stats stack up with Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles, the other top quarterback prospects.
A big concern teams will have with Bridgewater is his hand size, which was measured at just nine and one-quarter inches. That’s much smaller than Manziel, and is even a significant disparity from similarly sized quarterbacks, such as Aaron Rodgers.
Bridgewater will have to prove he can hang on to the ball in any weather conditions while taking hits from NFL players. He may have best showcased this ability in the 2012 Sugar Bowl against Florida, withstanding a number of vicious hits to lead Louisville to a win, although that game was indoors.
Another thing Bridgewater will have to prove is that he has enough athletic ability to be successful in the NFL. He has decent mobility, but his athleticism cannot match Manziel’s or that of others in the draft. His 6’3’’ frame is not the best either, although Bridgewater weighed in at 214 pounds at the combine, up from 196 at Louisville.
Where should Teddy Bridgewater be selected among quarterbacks?
In today’s NFL, teams may be looking for a Cam Newton or Robert Griffin III rather than a pocket passer like Bridgewater. If the Texans are looking at pure athletic potential without regard to position, they will have no choice but to take Jadeveon Clowney.
Bridgewater should still be selected in the top 10. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Minnesota Vikings have shown some interest. Two months ago, the Vikings might not have had a shot at Bridgewater with the eighth pick, but felt he was worth a long look with the current situation.
In any case, Bridgewater will likely be among the first three quarterbacks taken with Manziel and Bortles, ahead of Derek Carr. He has the passing skill set to be a successful pro quarterback but will still have to prove to the Texans that he is worthy of being the top overall pick.