By: James Johnson
After pretty good reception of my last scouting report, I decided to take a swing at another and pick up at the position I last talked about: the QB position. And so I figured, why not talk about someone who is said to not only potentially be the number one QB in the 2014 draft class, but who could also be the number one overall pick of 2014, Teddy Bridgewater? His name is one you might have grown familiar with in the world of college football, but if you’ve been living under a rock for the past year I’m here to help you learn a thing or two about him and his skill set. Just as I did with Tajh Boyd, I chose two games of Bridgewater’s to evaluate below, although I’ve seen a good portion of his games and took them into consideration as well. Hopefully by the end of this report you’ll see exactly what it is about this kid that excites scouts and better understand the hype around him. Enjoy!
Prospect: Teddy Bridgewater
Measurables: 6-3, 218 lbs.
Tapes of Choice to evaluate: Again, I’ve seen about 90% of Bridgewater’s games and took his overall film into consideration with this scouting report. However, to study him and see some of the things I see in him I want you all to look at his cuts against Rugters (2012), and Ohio University (2013).
Strengths and he does well.
- Most mechanically sound QB prospect in the 2014 draft class.
- He has a “pass first, scramble last” mentality. I can honestly tell that scrambling is REALLY the last option in his mind. As a matter of fact, I think one of his problems in 2012 was he often made the decision to scramble too late at times. He’s gotten a little better in 2013 with this problem.
- He reads defenses well for the most part.
- Very accurate (currently has a 72% completion ratio in 2013), particularly with his short to intermediate throws. He’s also not one to turn the ball over a lot.
- Scans the field well while dropping back. Doesn’t lock onto one WR.
- He knows when to take what the defense gives him.
- Comfort and pocket poise is unparalleled. He keeps his eyes down field while sensing the pass rush around him. (Just look at the GIF below, made by yours truly)
- He has good athleticism when he does leave the pocket.
- He comes from a NFL ready, West Coast Offense.
- Tough as nails. You guys have seen the Jon Bostic hit he took and kept trucking!
- He’s a film junky.
- His coaches rave about him, and his leadership on the field shows.
Weaknesses and what he could work on.
- Despite him being a tough player, NFL personnel will question his durability in the league. Can he take the same pounding he did in college? A lot of people mention his ankle and wrist injuries as a concern.
- He could afford to add about 10 more pounds to his 6-3 frame.
- He hasn’t exactly had the best competition while playing in the Big East and the American Athletic Conference.
- He could afford have better ball placement. If you look at the GIF I cut of him below, that was one of the only issues with that play as he threw the ball behind the receiver. I’ve seen Teddy do that on multiple occasions though he has improved some in 2013.
- His mechanics were a bit inconstant in 2012. Most tend to believe it was due to his wrist and ankle injuries. I would agree, most of his bad throws were due to not being able to plant properly and bend his wrist properly.
- At times, to me at least, his mid-field anticipation could use some work.
- His deep ball accuracy could use some work as well.
A deeper look at the film and who he compares to.
Below is just a little something extra I wanted to throw in this report. It’s a GIF I cut of Bridgewater from his bowl game against Florida last season, and it’s my personal favorite play of his. The reason it is my favorite is because it showcases two of his biggest attributes–his mechanics and ability to read defenses. I just had to break it down for the sake of this report.
If you look at it, the first thing you’ll notice is how calmly and fluidly he climbs the pocket despite getting a bit of pressure from the right side. As he’s doing so, also notice that he keeps his eyes down field on his receivers the whole time (instead of dropping his head to take off running) while advancing in the pocket. He then shuffles right to buy some time for his target to get open. By shuffling to the right, the MLB comes up out of respect for Bridgewater’s running abilities which leaves the middle of field open. Teddy, understanding this throws a strike in the heart of the defense and the Cardinals come away with a first down.
Bridgewater’s movement skills in the pocket and ability to read defenses well is just one of the many reasons I see a bit of Andrew Luck in him personally. To help you all understand where I’m coming from, here is a similar GIF I took from Sunday’s game between the Colts and Broncos of Luck climbing the pocket and picking apart Denver’s defense in the process. It’s a bit scary how similar these two play like each other in my opinion as these two cuts look almost like duplicates of each other.
Outlook: I’ve pretty much discussed where he could be picked above. Baring something drastic happening, I don’t see anyone dethroning Bridgewater as the number one QB in next year’s class, though you never know.
As for his outlook in the NFL, playing in a West Coast style offense definitely puts him ahead of the curve and makes me believe that he could very well translate his skills to the NFL level. Though his level of competition is a concern for some, Bridgewater does possess the “It” factor it takes to adjust to even the highest level of play. I think some organization will see that, and could (keyword: “could”) be awarded big time with a great QB.
His landing spot however, will likely depend on the team who lands the number one pick. If it’s a team in the top of the draft order like the Jacksonville (who will be #1 in the draft order if they lose Sunday), Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Minnesota, and maybe even Oakland, you would have to think they would all likely have a QB like Bridgewater somewhere on the top of their draft boards. Jadeveon Clowney is another guy who could battle Bridgewater to become the number one overall pick and could very much be of use to the teams I just mentioned as well. It just depends on what each organization thinks is a bigger need for them. As for now, I suggest you all keep an eye out on Bridgewater and especially pay attention to his bowl game this year because it could be a big opportunity to see a potential NFL star in the making play in his last game in college. I’m not by any means guaranteeing he’ll be take number one overall, but I will say, like most, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised to hear Rodger Goodell say, “With the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the (insert team here) selects, Teddy Bridgewater of the Louisville Cardinals. ”
As usual I appreciate the read and as always you guys can feel free to follow me on Twitter and give me your thoughts.