Draft stock plunges for ex-Northwestern High QB Teddy Bridgewater
An inconsistent pro day might have cost former Miami Northwestern High quarterback Teddy Bridgewater a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.
05/01/2014 7:02 PM
05/02/2014 10:09 AM
Nobody seems to like the two-week delay of this year’s NFL Draft.
But Teddy Bridgewater probably really hates it.
With each passing day, somebody seems to discover another wart in his game, and Bridgewater’s stock drops a little more.
Once the projected No. 1 overall pick, Bridgewater — the former Miami Northwestern High and Louisville quarterback — now might not even go in the first round. Mel Kiper, for one, doesn’t believe he will.
“I’ve done a lot of individual workouts in my past as a receiver coach, as a quarterback coach, even as a head coach,” ESPN analyst Jon Gruden explained this week. “If the player didn’t work that well for me, I didn’t move them down, I took them off our board.
“So if you’re not having good individual workouts, if you don’t have a good pro workout, that’s part of the evaluation process. You’re going to be moved down or potentially off some people’s boards. I’d be concerned if I were any person, and I didn’t have good private workouts or I had a [particularly] bad pro date.”
Bridgewater, inarguably, did. He completed 57 of 65 throws in the controlled workout in March — a brutal showing. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, for comparison’s sake, was 61 of 64 during his pro day — including two drops.
So what went wrong? Well for one, Bridgewater had a wardrobe malfunction. He decided to ditch his trademark glove on his throwing hand, which many believe impacted his accuracy.
Bridgewater sat down with Gruden for his QB Camp series that runs on ESPN, and explained why he went bare-handed.
He had worn the glove during his career in Louisville, because the climate there made it difficult to grip the ball.
“It was like a brick,” he said.
But Bridgewater returned to South Florida to train for the draft, and because the weather was nice, decided to prepare without them. When his pro day arrived, he wanted to trust that preparation, Bridgewater told Gruden, and not change things up.
“I learned a valuable lesson that day,” he said on the TV program. “I had a few balls get away from me. I was able to learn just do what got you there. [And] wherever you go, carry your gloves with you.”
Heck, maybe he will even bring them to New York for the first day of the draft on Thursday. He agreed to attend, even though there’s growing speculation that he will have to wait until Day 2 to take the stage.
If so, it would reprise of another South Florida quarterback, Geno Smith, who suffered through 38 picks before the Jets finally took him.
Like Smith, Bridgewater began his final collegiate season with great hype, but it didn’t necessarily translate into the accolades and dominance many expected.
Perhaps that should have been a sign that his top-5 draft positioning was more of a media creation than reality.
One NFL talent evaluator who likes a lot of what he sees in Bridgewater said that his overall arm strength is the reason for his fall. There’s no questioning Bridgewater’s accuracy or decision-making; he completed 71 percent of his passes in 2013, and threw 31 touchdowns to just four interceptions.
But that’s probably not enough to be a top draft pick. Bridgewater, in the eyes of scouts, doesn’t “wow” them with his physical arm strength or vertical arm ability.
The past four months of close evaluation have simply magnified those deficiencies.
That doesn’t mean he won’t be drafted, and relatively early. Just probably not in the first hour.
Which means more waiting for a guy who’s done plenty of it since the season ended.
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