As we work our way through Spring and into the Summer, the name you’re most likely to hear amongst the top two or three candidates to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft is Teddy Bridgewater, the 20-year-old junior quarterback of the Louisville Cardinals.
FRG Scouting decided to take a “First Look” at Bridgewater and his baseline skill set. We viewed three games from his 2012 season, and the following are our initial impressions of this highly touted quarterback prospect.
It’s important to note that our First Look breakdown is NOT a scouting report or final evaluation of the player. It’s simply a starting point in the scouting process for next year’s crop of talent.
Player Breakdown: TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, QB, LOUISVILLE
Complete Games Scouted: Syracuse (2012), Cincinnati (2012), South Florida (2012)
Teddy Bridgewater (assuming he declares for the draft at the end of the season) is considered to be the front-runner for the No. 1 overall pick next April. He’ll have serious competition from the likes of JaDeveon Clowney (South Carolina), but all indications are that he’ll enter the season as the most watched quarterback prospect in the country.
Physically, Bridgewater stands 6’3″ tall and is a nicely built 220lbs. He presents with enough mass and thickness for the position and appears developed enough to be able to withstand the kind of punishment a quarterback will take in the NFL. He will meet all of the NFL’s minimum requirements for the position and will avoid any size concerns.
I expected to see more from Bridgewater athletically. That’s not to say that Bridgewater isn’t a good athlete. He is. But he’s a pocket passer first, runner second. And to me, that’s a good thing. Bridgewater has enough wiggle and movement skills to avoid pressure in the pocket and is plenty strong enough to break tackles of oncoming blitzers, but he doesn’t have a second gear in him. He’s absolutely capable of rolling out, tucking the ball, and picking up a chunk of yards on a scramble. But he won’t be confused for RGIII or Cam Newton anytime soon.
Bridgewater has started 22 games over the last two seasons. He’s not the most experienced starting quarterback, so another year of action will do him well. That said, he’s played in some big games during his limited time as a starter, most notably the Sugar Bowl in 2012 versus Florida in which he was named the game’s Most Valuable Player in Louisville’s surprising victory.
Bridgewater was a much more productive and efficient player in 2012 than he was in 2011. Last year, Bridgewater passed for over 3,700 yards and had a better than 3:1 TD to INT ratio (27 TD, 8 Int). He completed 68% of his passes, up 4% from the previous season.
While watching Bridgewater’s tape, I noted the following positives and negatives:
- Live, NFL caliber arm. Ball flies off his hand with ease. Plus velocity and arm strength.
- Able to make all the throws. Spins the deep out as well as any QB has in a while.
- Plus accuracy on short and intermediate routes.
- Plus pocket awareness. Instinctual, knows when to tuck and run.
- Uses eyes to look off the defender. Very savvy at such a young age.
- Tough. Consistently gets up after taking massive hit. Demeanor never changes.
- Tends to put too much on the deep ball. Overthrows open receivers.
- Struggles to consistently find passing lanes. Ball gets batted down at LOS too often.
- Inconsistent mechanics. Confidence in arm causes him to throw off back foot at times, especially when pressured.
- From Miami to LSU and from LSU to Louisville during recruiting process. Red flag?
After watching Teddy Bridgewater’s film, there’s no doubt that he has an elite arm. My notes are littered with “NFL throw.” The velocity behind Bridgewater’s passes is exactly what was missing from most, if not all, of the 2013 draft class’ quarterbacks.
So, what would I like to see from him in 2013?
1) Elevate game to unstoppable status.
Bridgewater has a skill set that can make him virtually indefensible. The talent in his right arm should allow for the Cardinals to win a lot of games in 2013, and he should make it look easy on Saturdays. If, for some reason, he doesn’t? Then it’s likely that he’s plateaued in his development or even regressed from 2012. If he’s a player on the rise, and worthy of the No. 1 overall pick, he’ll make it look easy next year.
2) Mechanics, mechanics, mechanics.
One of my biggest concerns with Bridgewater’s tape was his tendency to sacrifice his mechanics in order to get rid of the ball. While I know you can’t be mechanically sound all the time, I also know that if Bridgewater pays more attention to his footwork (especially on deep throws), he’ll have a near flawless set of tape.
Stay tuned for the full Teddy Bridgewater scouting report sometime in the late-fall.