Bridgewaters supposed slip defies logic
Teddy Bridgewater's stock appears to be dropping fast among in the upcoming National Football League draft, according to some NFL football analysts who are getting ahead of themselves, losing sight of some essentials.
They apparently don't put much stock in what he accomplished during three seasons at the University of Louisville, a career that included a Sugar Bowl win over Florida and a Russell Bowl win over Miami. He completed a school-record 68.3 percent of his passes for 9,817 yards, 72 touchdowns in 1,142 career attempts.
NFL scouts apparently were less than impressed with his Pro Day workout in Louisville, on a day when he decided for some reason not to use a glove on his throwing hand as he had in every game at UofL. They have doubts about his skinny frame, standing 6-foot-2, weighing 214 pounds. His hands are smaller than the average pro quarterback. On and on it goes.
Did former UofL football coach Charlie Strong underestimate Bridgewater's chances in the NFL or was Strong thinking too much about his next job at Texas when they talked after the 2013 season? Bridgewater would have been an even better fit under Bobby Petrino at UofL.
Mark Dominik, an ESPN analyst and a former NFL general manager at Tampa, expressed the sentiments of many, saying "I like the young man, I think he's a quality individual, he's got character and leadership and those things. But this is a quarterback, and you're judged by what quarterback you draft, and I think Teddy Bridgewater might not have all the pieces you're looking for."
Mel Kiper, who earns his living on ESPN predicting draft picks, has Bridgewater going to the Houston Texans in the second round.
One has to wonder where these people were when Teddy Bridgewater entered the final regular season game against Rutgers with a broken wrist and a sprained ankle in 2012 to lead Louisville to a 20-17 win - one of the most courageous performances this observer has ever seen.
Or whether they missed seeing Teddy almost have his head taken off by Florida defender Jonathan Bostic on the second play of 2013 Sugar Bowl, bounce right back to lead Louisville to a convincing 33-23 BCS victory?
Or Teddy directing a nine-play 88-yard drive with five passes to put UofL back on top of Central Florida in the closing minutes in a game in which UCF ultimately prevailed? Or his dominating performance in the Russell Athletic Bowl, competing 35 of 45 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-9 thrashing of Miami?
Were these guys not taking notes? One suspects that a herd mentality may have overtaken the decision makers and the speculators. Either that or some of them are deliberately downplaying Bridgewater's potential to gain an advantage when it comes to draft picks.
Bridgewater has always performed best at crunch time, and not surprisingly during pre-scripted workouts in laid back leisurely settings. Bridgewater is a football player who may not the fastest, strongest or biggest but he has a knack for the game, every aspect of the game, a quick thinker, makes the right decisions in real time, makes the great reads, finds the open receivers, lives and breathes football, and has an infectious winning attitude.
Whether Bridgewater turns out to a first round draft pick or is picked up in the second round or later, one NFL team is going to be extremely fortunate to get him. The team that defies the herd mentality is going to come out way ahead.