Teddy Bridgewater's Best Fits in Thursday's First Round of NFL Draft

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMay 7, 2014

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws a pass warming up for the  Russell Athletic Bowl NCAA college football game against Miami in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The road to the NFL draft is long and arduous for every prospect. This year, former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater appeared to have the most difficult journey of them all.

Early in the offseason, Bridgewater was widely heralded by many draft experts as the most NFL-ready quarterback in the class and a potential first-overall selection.

Since then, things have really gone downhill.

A lackluster pro day began a downward spiral for Bridgewater, as teams began to question his accuracy and NFL readiness.

During an NFL media conference call, draft expert Mike Mayock voiced his concerns about the quarterback:

To be honest with you, it's from a different prism. I am questioning arm strength, I am questioning accuracy. I watched him take three sacks consecutively against I think it was the University of South Florida. His stats were outstanding in that game. He threw the ball well, but he took three sacks I couldn't stand.

Some analysts agree with Mayock and see Bridgewater as a low first-round pick or even early second-round selection. Others, however, still think he has what it takes to make an instant impact in the NFL and should be an early first-round selection.

Regardless, Bridgewater will end up as the quarterback of the future for one NFL franchise. His success could depend on which team selects him, as each franchise will bring an entirely different situation for the rookie signal-caller.

Let's take a look at a few solid fits for Bridgewater as the draft approaches.


Cleveland Browns

Cleveland is actually looking like a solid landing spot for any of this year's quarterback prospects.

With a solid offensive line, great weapons in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, along with the additions of Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins, there's no shortage of talent here.

The diverse amount of talent on the Browns offense will help Bridgewater flourish immediately. The sure-handed Gordon, lightning-fast Hawkins and field-stretching Burleson gives him plenty of options in the passing game. Cameron will also serve as a nice security blanket for the young signal-caller.

This could be a match that comes to fruition, according to a report from Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com on Wednesday.

Cabot writes, "The sources said Farmer has had a fascination with Bridgewater since last fall, and would like to land him at No. 26.  The Browns have even looked into trading up from No. 26 to get Bridgewater, one source said."


St. Louis Rams

The Rams have already expressed their interest in possibly acquiring a quarterback in this year's draft. Peter King of MMQB noted the team was intrigued by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel:

One other piece of knowledge I got confirmed Sunday: Rams GM Les Snead recently went to Texas Tech and met at length with coach Kliff Kingsbury—Manziel’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at A&M in 2012—and came away thinking Manziel could adjust to life well as an NFL passer. Does that mean the Rams will take Manziel if he’s there at 13? I am still dubious. But I can tell you the Rams like him a lot.

Whether the Rams are actually interested in Manziel or not remains to be seen; however, this report does tell us one thing: The team is doing its homework on quarterback prospects.

Sam Bradford played well in limited time on the field last season; although, with ongoing injury concerns, the team is looking for a potential insurance policy—and rightfully so.

St. Louis features a young, budding offense with a solid line up front, a great weapon in Tavon Austin and a nice running game featuring Zac Stacy. If the Rams acquire one more receiver in this year's draft to complement Austin, this offense could soar to new heights.

With plenty of options in the fold, and a favorable offensive scheme, Bridgewater would have a great opportunity to flourish early in St. Louis.


Houston Texans

Despite owning the first-overall selection in this year's draft, the Texans are only one-year removed from playoff contention. Quarterback play doomed this team last season, but it still has a solid core of talent.

Houston's offensive line has plenty of talent, and with Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins on the outside, the options at wide receiver are plentiful. This team is stout defensively and will give a young quarterback early opportunities to win football games.

The Texans remain an interesting option for Bridgewater. It appears as though they won't select the quarterback with the first-overall pick; however, the team remains willing to trade back in the draft, according to general manager Rick Smith's comments during an interview with Deepi Sidhu of HoustonTexans.com:

Now where the game is played is if there's an opportunity to move and, in this case, obviously to move back if somebody else wants to come up to that first pick. Then you weigh what the opportunities are versus who the individual is that you want to take and what that value is relative to the value that somebody might be offering you. But as you move through the draft, obviously you don’t know who's going to be picked when.

If Houston does, indeed, trade back in the first round, Bridgewater becomes an enticing option for the team. The Texans are most definitely in the quarterback market this year, and at the right value, Bridgewater could be their guy.