Oct 5, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) along the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. Louisville defeated Temple 30-7. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Draft: Statistical Proof That Teddy Bridgewater Is Better Than People Say


 

There is only a week left to go. Only a week for teams to make up their mind who they want to take. Only a week left for people to argue about who their team should take before the picks start rolling in.

In this final week before the draft, no single player will be more discussed, argued about, speculated upon, praised and hammered than Teddy Bridgewater.

Teddy was almost the consensus #1 QB going into the pre-draft process, but since those innocent early days, we’ve seen the questions pile up until now it seems he’ll be lucky to go in the first round.

Most of the impetus for this adjustment in people’s perception of Teddy’s stock seems to have been his pro day workout, which in many people’s eyes was a sub-par or even terrible workout.

Since that day of struggle for Bridgewater, experts say they’ve gone back to the tape and found lots of stuff to be concerned about. Now there are questions about Teddy’s arm strength. There are questions about his frame. There are even questions about the thickness of his knees.

Some of these concerns look legit, others just look silly. But there’s so much stuff out there now, some possibly being disseminated on purpose by teams who want Bridgewater to slide, that it’s hard to even know what to think.

Perhaps now would be a good time to go back to basics on Bridgewater and just take a look at the stats. The value of stats of course is always debatable, especially college stats. But there are nevertheless some intriguing numbers on Bridgewater, numbers that maybe help dispel some of the fog and restore that clear picture people once had of Bridgewater as a solid top 10 quarterback.

Kevin Seifert of ESPN was kind enough to put these out there Thursday morning. In his piece, Seifert recaps the “narrative” on Bridgewater as a devalued prospect, then uses the stats to challenge the narrative.

The stats say this about Bridgewater: He is an accurate passer who is better at pushing the ball down the field than his detractors seem to think. He is also great against the blitz and fantastic in the red zone and on third down.

Bridgewater had a completion percentage of 71%, best among all QBs who were studied by ESPN Stats & Info. His average pass traveled 9.5 yards, a number that suggests he’s more than just an underneath passer.

His 71% completion percentage stayed exactly there, at 71%, against the blitz. He threw 15 TDs and one INT against the blitz, evidence that he’s great at pre-snap reads. His 53.5% completion percentage under pressure was second best among the QBs in the study. His TD-to-INT ratio in the red zone was 17-to-0. He converted 52.3% of his third down passes for first downs, the second highest percentage in the QB group.

As Seifert points out, these numbers stand as a pretty strong challenge to the narrative that has been generated by the media in recent months, the narrative that says Bridgewater is a bust waiting to happen.

Of course, we’re only citing positive stats here. You can always cherry pick stats to make your case. You can’t make your evaluation entirely on stats. The tape matters too.

There are things in the tape that concern some evaluators, and there are things Bridgewater showed in person that also bothered some people.

We do know that Norv Turner was among the few people who said positive things about Bridgewater after his pro day (though that could have just been Norv playing it close to the vest). We also know that the Vikings were intrigued enough by Bridgewater to have him in to Winter Park for several days, putting him through extra workouts in the process.

What did the Vikings look at in their workouts with Bridgewater? What mechanical things did Norv see? We don’t know. We have no idea what impression the Vikings came away with.

We do have compelling statistical evidence that Bridgewater is better than recent reports have painted him to be. These stats go fairly deep, and they show that Bridgewater at least stacks up well against the other QBs in the draft.

Based on these stats and everything else I’ve read, I don’t know how you can make a case for Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles being markedly better than Bridgewater. You can make a case for none of the quarterbacks being worthy of a top 10 selection, and that’s legit, given all the talent available at the top of this draft.

But if you’re ranking Bortles and Manziel as top 10 QBs and not Bridgewater? I’m not sure I buy it. I’m even less sold on people like Mike Mayock who now, I think for the purpose of making headlines more than anything else, rank Bridgewater even below Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo.

What we have here is a case of runaway narrative. In these situations, counter-narrative is vitally important. The Bridgewater counter-narrative is that he was hyped up too much during the season and now everyone has over-adjusted.

In short, don’t be surprised if Bridgewater goes higher than people now are saying. Don’t be shocked if he comes off the board at 8 to Minnesota.

They’ll call it a reach if the Vikings take him at 8, but look at the stats and maybe it doesn’t look like a reach at all. Maybe it looks just right.

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Tags: Minnesota Vikings Teddy Bridgewater

  • Daniel Laxen

    I’ve had him as the top QB prospect since Nov. If he’s there at #8 the Vikings should take him? Chances are that he would be starting after about 6 weeks. That’s about how long it will take for the Vikings to be 1-5 and out of playoff contention…As a Viking fan I hate that’s the way I see it!…

    • Chris Schroeder

      Hey old man, u are ignorant!! Bridgewater is trash!! I’ve said this since the start of the 2013 season. He’s a josh freeman clone at best. He played trash teams this year and played sub-par teams last year. U are not a vikings fan. Go be a bears or packers fan. Thinking we will go 1-5 by week 7 is absurd. New coaching staff plus Cassel at the helm we will be 10-6 worst case and 13-3 best case

      • Michael Donahue

        I say 10-6 at best and 7-9 at worst.

      • Daniel Laxen

        Chris Schroeder~ You have literally ZERO critical thinking skills, especially if you see this Viking squad being a <.500 team. The situations at CB and LB alone are enough to keep this team from nearing a winning season. Couple that with the fact that any rookie that fills those positions will have a learning curve. So you don't like Teddy Bridgewater. I understand if you have reservations. Though chances are he would be better than either guy the Vikings have right now. I don't say they will be 1-5 by week SEVEN. I say that the WILL be 1-5 by week 6! What's absurd is that ANY Viking fan out there believes this team will be 10-6 at worst and 13-3 at best…I'm an old man of 50 and have seen and forgotten more football than you have ever watched…Unproven young players litter this roster and until this team learns how to win at home and on the road they will struggle even with the best RB in the business. Now go wash behind your ears and kiss your grandma goodnight!

        • johnnybanky

          No one thought the Vikings could go from 3-13 to 10-6. We had an embarrassing defense last year and still lost 5 games in the final 50 secs. We have a new head coach who’s defenses have only given up 13, 300 yard passers in his last 100 games. The NFL is so competitive teams come out of nowhere (KC and Carolina) A Fan is person who is enthusiastically devoted to something AKA supporter. Our offense was ranked 13th last year in scoring and that was with the horrible QB situation we had. I think we’ll have a good year and can’t wait! SKOL. Dan feel free to sit this year out.

          • Daniel Laxen

            Look I respect your opinion, but I don’t see where the overall chances for success go up. That same wretched defense will still be on the field, albeit a few additions and subtractions. The QB situation is the same and by simply changing coaches the Vikings fix all their problems? Just don’t see it happening is all. The lone thing this team had when they made the playoffs a couple years ago was AP running like there was no tomorrow, because there was literally NO TOMORROW. They won 4 straight to get there and were embarrassed in the playoffs. Remember that coaching staff just didn’t forget how to coach in one off season. You mention the Panthers and KC. Those teams still had plenty of talent, especially KC. They sent like 6 guys to the Pro Bowl the year they were awful. The Panthers will regress this season as they now need WR help and a LT. Cam Newton although not my favorite player is a talented athlete and there is the difference between those two teams as opposed to the Vikings. Both have a decent signal caller under center…With a new year it does bring hope, but in all honesty, had AP not went for 2K yards Spielman would also have beeen fired along with Frazier and Musgrave. By the way I was not a fan of the way the coaches handled the team last year. They cow towed to Spielman and it ultimately got them fired…Keep cleaning those purple colored glasses. After all we both want the same thing a Super Bowl, right?

          • johnnybanky

            LF admitted that he made coaching errors at the end of games. So I honestly feel with our current team and with Mike Zimmer as HC we would win 3 of those 5 games we lost last year at the end of games.

            I get what your saying though but I don’t have that mindset. I’m an optimist and every year I think the Vikings can be a playoff team. Am wrong a lot? Yes, especially lately.. but i’ll go to battle against anyone with stats and numbers to back my team. I played a lot of sports as well (oh good for me) so you never go into a season with the mindset that your not going to be good.

          • Daniel Laxen

            I’m disappointed that the 3 year rebuild is now going to take at least 5. I was no real fan of Frazier, but that coaching staff got enough out of the limited playbook to get them a playoff spot a couple years ago and then the Vikings had the best 2nd half of the season of ANY team in the NFC North. The last statement tells me that Frazier NEVER lost the team, but hamstrung with Spielman’s meddling at the QB position left him reeling. There’s NO WAY that Spielman has a job had the Vikings finished that playoff year like many of us thought they might. That 4 game tear that AP went on was the reason Rick has a job today!…THE ONLY REASON!

      • Kleyn Kutt

        You’re an idiot. Bridgewater is trash??? He accomplished a lot under Charlie Strong’s lackluster offense! I watched him for THREE years being as I am a Louisville fan/native. What other option do the Vikings have at QB? PONDER??? LOL. Go Vikings! Draft Teddy and make sure he has an O line and weapons in the receiving corp. He won’t disappoint. Some of you people need to stop regurgitating what the “experts” say.

        • Daniel Laxen

          He was just brilliant vs. the BLITZ and that is what will set him apart. A poor or average Pro Day is not the best barometer. The game film of all the things he does and brings to the team is what I still see…Should the Vikings draft him I would say he starts after week 6…

          • johnnybanky

            Good call Daniel. I’m pumped about the pick

          • Daniel Laxen

            I don’t think the Vikings had any aspirations of drafting Manziel. Teddy was their guy All ALONG…They said they were after Manziel to keep the other dogs off the scent. Teddy Bridgewater even said as much. he spent all that time with the Vikings and other teams needed QBs. Actions speak louder than words guys. Zimmer said that Manziel’s pro day was a circus. Cut from the Parcells and Belichick cloth that wasn’t going to happen…That’s my opinion…By the way I like Barr too!

  • wally

    Will no longer be a vikings fan if they take Bridgewater at 8

  • Gordon Guffey

    Well I have been saying the Vikings wouldn’t take Teddy in the first or second ~ Shows what I know ~ LOL ~ Well now he is a Vikings and I will pull for him to play outstandingly ~