Depending on who you ask, Teddy Bridgewater is either the second coming of Warren Moon or the next Russell Wilson. Either the way, the now NFL-bound, former Louisville star appears destined for distinguished company.
Bridgewater announced earlier this month he plans to forgo his senior season and make himself available for the 2014 NFL draft — he instantly rates as a man among boys.
“I would lump Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel as 1A and 1B, depending on what offense you have,” raves NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks. “Then after that, you have a clump of names that kind of go together. You have Blake Bortles, you have Derek Carr, you have Zach Mettenberger, you could even throw in AJ McCarron in that clump.”
Indeed, Manziel, McCarron, Carr, Bortles and Mettenberger all have long proven themselves to be capable enough. But in the end, there is only one Teddy Bridgewater. Even Brooks concedes, Bridgewater’s ability to adapt to the kind of pro-style offense he starred in at Louisville make him an upgrade over even the Heisman Trophy winning Manziel.
With as many as six teams drafting in the top 10 who may be in the market for a long-term starting quarterback (Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Tapa Bay and Minnesota), the 21-year-old Bridgewater is pegged as an almost automatic top 10 pick and may even ascend to the overall top-pick depending on pro day workouts.
ESPN draft guru Todd McShay currently has him rated as the No. 8 overall prospect and the top-rated quarterback. But as someone who earned his sports administration degree in just three years at Louisville, Bridgewater seems hardly the type to rest on his laurels, even when they are as lofty as they now seem.
“I can make an impact on my environment, where I grew up in Miami, showing there’s no restrictions to what you can reach,” Bridgewater recently told ESPN of the factors that went into his decision to now join the ranks of the NFL. “And, it would change my mom’s life financially.”
Given his comfort-level in Louisville’s pro-styled system, Bridgewater is also thought to have a leg up on most of the other quarterbacks available in this year’s draft. In his three seasons at Louisville, he passed for nearly 10,000 yards and an equally impressive 72 touchdowns.
While not as big and strong as say an Andrew Luck, nor as quick and nimble as a say a Robert Griffin III, Bridgewater’s combination of arm strength, poise, touch and vision appear to make him every bit the natural the two aforementioned young guns have proven themselves to be at the NFL level.
And Bridgewater also packs all the intangibles. Scouts rave about his accuracy and focus, the way he’s able to keep his eyes downfield even as defenders are bearing down on him. Ditto, for his demeanor and toughness. In fact, so poised does Bridgewater appear, some now even view his weaknesses as not being so much of a big deal.
A CBS.com NFL draft report, lambasts him as not being “a dual-threat quarterback” one minute, only to later exalt his virtues as being varied enough “to extend and move the pocket with the quickness to pick up yards with his legs if needed.”
In short, Teddy Bridgewater appears to be a gamer in a world where they way you play the game ultimately makes all the difference.