Louiville's Teddy Bridgewater was a three year starter for the Cardinals, taking over in Week 3 of the 2011 season against Kentucky, replacing Will Stein and leading his team to a 24-17 win over rival Kentucky.
Bridgewater finished his first season at Louisville completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,129 yards 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions as a true freshman. Each subsequent season, Bridgewater improved in every statistical category passing the ball, including yards, touchdowns, interceptions and completion percentage. Bridgewater finished his career at Louisville throwing for nearly 10,000 yards, 72 touchdowns and just 24 interceptions.
An area with Bridgewater that is often talked about with evaluators is his build. He's listed at 6'3" tall and 205 pounds on his Louisville bio page, however ESPN lists him at 6'3" and 196 pounds. BLESTO scouting service lists Bridgewater at 6'2" and 220 pounds. Often the criticism is Bridgewater is thin, which is true, but there is some debate on if he can keep weight on or not. I don't tend to think it's an issue because he's never had much of an issue with getting banged up and/or injuries.
Where Teddy Bridgewater Wins
In watching Bridgewater play, his biggest asset that immediately jumps out is his ability to operate in a muddled pocket. That ability alone can be a killer for a quarterback if they do not possess it. Bridgewater seems comfortable passing the ball with bodies around him and his legs, but he also does a good job of manipulating the moving, sliding and stepping up when necessary to give himself the room. Most importantly however, he doesn't seem to see the rush and keeps his eyes down the field when moving around.
The other area that I think Bridgewater wins is at the line of scrimmage. In the Louisville offense he's given the ability to call plays at the line of scrimmage based on the defensive alignment and look. This is a huge advantage in developing to the NFL compared to prospects who receive the calls from the line of scrimmage, because Bridgewater has experience recognizing what he's looking at and adjusting at the line.
The final area we'll touch on that Bridgewater wins is his accuracy in the intermediate area, which is critical at the NFL level. Louisville's offense incorporated quite a bit of play-action and routes over the middle of the field in the 10-20 yard range, which Bridgewater hit with efficiency and anticipation. He was able to hit the wide array of throws that NFL scouts would like to see, including the 15-20 yard outs on the far sideline. Bridgewater doesn't have a howitzer for an arm, but it's more than enough to get the job done at the next level.
Where Teddy Bridgewater Needs To Improve
The first area Bridgewater needs to improve is his overall bulk, which might sound silly but taking hits in college is a lot different than taking hits in the NFL. Bridgewater had minimal injuries at Louisville (ankle, wrist) and played through them, but he does need to add mass to his frame at the next level. This should be something attainable once he's in an NFL regimen, however.
On the field however, the biggest drawback to Bridgewater's game is his ball placement on deeper (20+ yards) routes down the field. He has a nice receiver in DeVante Parker who's a good 50/50 ball receiver, meaning he can make contested catches and "bail out" his quarterback. At the next level, Bridgewater is likely going to need at least one receiver he can rely on to make contested catches down the football field. I don't believe this is really an area he can improve per say, but it's something a coaching staff can scheme and "fix" with personnel.
Another area Bridgewater can improve is his footwork when throwing from the pocket, in regards to driving the ball down the field. This could help some of his accuracy and ball placement on deeper passes mentioned above, but it will also help his ability to drive the ball down the sidelines on the intermediate routes.
There is quite a bit to like about Bridgewater's overall game as it translates to the NFL level and I would expect him to be a Top 5 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, if not the first overall pick. He's a pocket passer who can manipulate safeties with his eyes, control the line of scrimmage with checks pre-snap and does an excellent job throwing on the run. Mechanically there isn't a lot a staff will need to focus on to fix. He's a ready-made player that should be able to start out of the gate for whatever team drafts him in May.
Grade: 7.5 - first round pick, high performer
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