Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t possess the glitz and glamor of recent elite quarterback prospects. Although, Bridgewater can make an assortment of throws, Louisville deployed a meat and potatoes pwer run offense.
One of the glaring statistical criticisms of Bridgewater is that his opponent adjusted QBR was only 16th in the nation. Cam Newton and Andrew Luck finished in the top four during their final seasons in college against better superior competition.
Scouts also have legitimate concerns that he wears gloves because he has small hands. Yes, that's a real concern. NFL people haven't paid this much attention to a glove's since Orenthal James was flossing one in front of Judge Lance Ito's bench.
An ancillary quibble with Bridgewater is that he's too cerebral and not enough of an extrovert like Florida State's Jameis Winston. Scouts have soured on him some as the season progressed, but that's to be expected from a guy who has been under the microscope for 10 months.
I'm still under the impression that Bridgewater will be a franchise quarterback and eventually a top-10 or top-five passer in the league. No, he doesn't have the cannon arm strength of a Matt Stafford, Jay Cutler or Joe Flacco, but we've seen in numerous instances how inconsistent gunslingers can be. His command of the line of scrimmage is Peyton Manning-like and Bridgewater is so studious in film study that he memorizes opposing schools fan cheers.
So why doesn't he seem as convinced that he’ll be a star as I am?
Bridgewater will graduate Thursday with a degree in sports administration, however, that hasn't stopped the Louisville quarterback from considering a return for his senior season.
He’s come a long ways from the kid who dropped out of school to provide for his family after his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It makes his current vacillation that much more perplexing.
Unless he believes playing in the ACC and out-dueling Winston for the Heisman can quiet his doubters, there's no reason for him to return. Or maybe he believes he can keep Charlie Strong around one more season and away from any major FBS openings. The catalog of reasons he should leave is immense. However, here are just five.
1. Houston is a Super Bowl ready franchise. Chances are that this will be the franchise that drafts him first overall. Gary Kubiak’s offense would have fit Bridgewater like lycra fits Beyonce, because of its emphasis on play-action, rollout throws on the move and an innate feel from the pocket. Nevertheless, it’s a better franchise and fan base than the one in Jacksonville.
2. All he can do is drop in the draft. Jameis Winston will push back to at least the second-quarterback slot.
3. His most talented receiver Devante Parker may bolt as well. Just watch Tom Brady and understand that no quarterback can escape the horrors of throwing to receivers with mittens for hands.
4. Brian Brohm. Brohm holds most of Louisville's school passing records in Petrino’s quarterback-friendly system and one year of Kragthorpe’s. He won’t break those records, but that’s not why I bring him up. In Brohm’s senior year, he was nit-picked so relentlessly that he plummeted in the opinion of scouts. His stock was left to rot in the sun and get picked over by general managers in their respective war rooms until the draft’s second day. Most quarterbacks projected as top-five prospects who return for their senior seasons are irreparably damaged in one way or another. The two exceptions are Andrew Luck and Sam Bradford, who returned for his senior season, then played just one half after injuring his shoulder.
5.Houston > Louisville. Unless you're an introvert. Actually, that describes Bridgewater.
On the other hand, Bridgewater is a human being underneath those shoulder pads. As a youth he moved a dozen times and lacked stability. He’s only been at Louisville for three years. Getting drafted would mean he’d after to—you guessed it, move.
Besides, Eli Manning was a campus quarterback for five years, Peyton for four, Andrew Luck for four, Cam Newton for four and Sam Bradford for four. Quarterbacks rarely leave college after their third year in college. Physically, Bridgewater is very lean, at 220 pounds and could stand to fill out his frame but he’s extremely durable and rarely takes big hits because he does not run.
Fifty of those pounds were gained during his freshman season, so he clearly enjoyed the dining halls.
There’s also the distinct possibility that the Texans could hire Mike Shanahan, which would cause any rookie quarterback to pause.
This is all speculative, however. Ultimately, whatever general manager he does make a happy one in 2014 or 2015 will change the course of football history for a number of franchises. The possibility of a senior season for Bridgewater in 2014 is not as unprecedented or illogical as it appears.
Leave it to the most media-reticent quarterback prospect we've seen in years to create a little suspense before bowl season.