2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Louisville Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

Credit: 6magazineonline.com

Credit: 6magazineonline.com

PERSONAL

  • Name: Teddy Bridgewater
  • Position: Quarterback
  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 218
  • Twitter: @teddyb_h2o
  • Hometown: Miami, FL
  • Birth date: November 10, 1992
  • School: Louisville Cardinals

STATISTICS

YEAR

CMP/ATT

CMP%

YARDS

TD

INT

CAR

YARDS

TD

SACKS

2012

287/419

68.5

3,718

27

8

74

26

1

28

2012

191/296

64.5

2,129

14

12

89

66

4

33

STRENGTHS

Pocket Presence

Watching Mr. Bridgewater maneuver around the pocket deserves its own article. His awareness of oncoming defenders and ability to evade them is one of his greatest strengths.

Credit: zimbio.com

Credit: zimbio.com

Bridgewater has live feet in the pocket, which allows him to get anywhere he wants to go within it. He is great at stepping up in the pocket against edge rushers and side stepping interior pass rushers.

The Louisville signal-caller has shown he can succeed from the pocket.

Mobility

Bridgewater is an athletic quarterback, but he uses this mobility to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He’s deceptively fast. It’s a smooth athletic. Silky. Silky seems about right watching his game, Smooth and effortless.

His rushing statistics show a very different picture of Bridgewater than the film does. Bridgewater finished with a grand total of 26 yards on 74 carries, but this number is skewed horribly by the NCAA counting sacks as rushing attempts. Bridgewater was sacked 28 times during the regular season.

Although Bridgewater is primarily a pocket passer, he can run the read option, bootlegs, QB sprints, or any other call that requires a mobile quarterback.

Credit: zimbio.com

Credit: zimbio.com

Throw on the Run

Credit: nj.com

Credit: nj.com

Mobility is not as effective if a quarterback can’t throw on the move. Bridgewater can do this. He’s even shown he can boot to his left and throw the ball is accuracy by squaring his shoulders to the target before releasing the ball, though he did throw a lot of these plays into the flats, it is a valuable skill to see on film.

Eyes

Bridgewater eyes will help him succeed in the NFL, and I am not talking about endorsement dollars or billboards. He uses his eyes in a few ways that will translate to the next level.

When Bridgewater does evade the rush, he always keeps his eyes downfield. He is by no means quick to pull it down and run. Instead, he extends plays merely to allow his receivers time to work open.

He doesn’t lead defenders to the football with his eyes like many collegiate quarterbacks before they go pro; rather, he manipulates them out of position and puts the ball where they should have been.

Also unlike many NCAA quarterbacks, he works through his progressions. It is really a wonder to watch a true sophomore come off of his primary receiver so often.

Arm Talent

Bridgewater can really make any throw an offense needs.

He possesses the arm strength to push the ball from hash to opposite sideline—even more impressive with college football’s wider hashes.

He threaded a ball on 3rd-and-14 through three defenders to Eli Rogers—Bridgewater’s high school teammate—against Florida in the Sugar Bowl. He proved he has enough velocity to get the ball through speedy NFL defenses.

He threw a beautiful pass against Cincinnati 55-yards down field, after evading the rush and without even stepping into his throw.

Bridgewater is also very accurate with the football. He gave his receivers great opportunities to pick up yards after the catch, and they rewarded his good ball placement with a quarterback’s favorite stat: YAC.

Ball Handling

Louisville ran a lot of play action in 2012, and Bridgewater got a chance to put his ball handling skills on full display.

It’s similar to a point guard dribbling a basketball: make a defender react to a ball that isn’t there. Bridgewater makes the defense think the ball is in the running backs belly and sells the run hard, which opened up some big plays down the field for Louisville.

Ball Security

He’s aware of the fact that he needs to protect the football. He dips his shoulder to shield the football from the swinging arms of pass rushers. He also only threw eight interceptions, some of which were tipped balls.

Anticipation

Receivers don’t have to be running wide open for Bridgewater to hit them. He throws with great anticipation, putting the ball in the right spot before receivers clear zones and before they make their breaks against man coverage.

Poise

Teddy Bridgewater is never rattled. This applies to both closing defenders and the clock.

He will stand in the pocket and deliver the football, even if he knows he is about to take a vicious shot. He isn’t shook by bodies crashing around him—always focused on getting the ball downfield and scoring points.

Bridgewater also shows up when the game is on the line. No situation is too big for him.

Toughness

He is one of the toughest quarterbacks in the country, and there is no questioning that. He played through a fractured wrist and sprained ankle to lead Louisville to a Big East title against Rutgers—a game that he could not take a snap from under center due to his wrist. Oh by the way, he didn’t even start the game.

He also took an absolutely vicious shot from Jon Bostic on his team’s first offensive snap of the game, only to get up, lead his team to a Sugar Bowl victory and garner MVP honors.

Credit: businessinsider.com

Credit: businessinsider.com

WEAKNESSES

Overthrows Balls

One of the negatives that instantly jumps off the tape is his tendency to overthrow receivers. Other times, the football just floats on him, and this was a continuous problem throughout the season.

There are multiple reasons that these balls get away from Bridgewater, but it can be boiled down to two things; Occasionally, he either doesn’t step into his throws or allows his lead shoulder drop before he releases the football, both of which will cause the ball to float on a quarterback.

He does get a pass for the Rutgers game. He played injured, not hurt, and he couldn’t step into any of his throws but this doesn’t excuse the season.

Missed Opportunities

He had a lot of chances to connect for chunk yardage plays, but these overthrows limited the big plays Louisville executed this season. In the NFL the deep ball doesn’t present itself often, and a quarterback has to take advantage of them every time. It is just too hard to drive ten plays against NFL defenses to miss opportunities at the rate he does in the Big East.

Durability

He has all the size to play quarterback, but he is a lean man. Scouts will wonder if his body can take punishment for 16 weeks—and hopefully a few extra—especially with the multiple injuries he suffered in 2012.

Credit: zimbio.com

Credit: zimbio.com

Although his offensive line was anything but great, Bridgewater could have avoided some of the shots he did take by adjusting the protection pre-snap.

Blitz Recognition

This leads us to our final weakness: blitz recognition. On more than a few of Bridgewater’s sacks in 2012 it was obvious that the defense was bringing pressure. He had extra defenders walking all the way up to the line of scrimmage. Bridgewater had to see them. Now, maybe he thought they were bluffing, but the extra defenders did come and punished the Louisville signal caller for his mistakes.

NFL defenses are ultra-creative. If Bridgewater continues to show this weakness in the fall, professional defensive coordinators will be licking their chops for a chance to play the rook. He has to sure this part of his game up because a man’s body—no matter how tough—can only take so much.

PRESEASON SCOUTING CONCLUSION

Bridgewater pretty much has it all. He is not as clean as Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III were, but he is more polished than Cam Newton coming out of Auburn.

He will, barring injury or a colossal and historic loss of talent, be the first quarterback—maybe first player—taken in next year’s draft. He has an entire season to prove that his sophomore campaign is just the surface of the player he can become.

If any exclusive college football fans are interested in good quarterback play, they need to keep their eyes on the Louisville Cardinals.  They will get a chance to see a good one spin the rock for one more season on Saturdays.

 

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON: Donovan McNabb

Bridgewater’s game definitely resembles McNabb’s. Bridgewater is the same size as McNabb was coming out of Syracuse. Both are smooth athletes that want to throw the ball from the pocket, though McNabb did run more than Bridgewater will early on.

Bridgewater and McNabb are accurate quarterbacks that can still spin it well on the move. Bridgewater can extend plays but keeps his eyes on receivers like McNabb. Both release the ball very quickly, which helps both themselves and their offensive lines. When McNabb was at his best, he protected the football, which is a skill that Bridgewater exceeds at.

Both were also tough players that played through injuries and carried some durability concerns.

If Bridgewater can enjoy a career similar to McNabb’s (albeit with a ring), any team that drafts him will have security at the game’s most important position for years to come.

 All film from youtube.com

 

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