It’s time for the big one: the quarterback.
Whether or not you are a Teddy Bridgewater believer, he’s now entrenched as the Vikings quarterback of the future. And now that he’s here, I tried to provide my own amateur scouting insights into his game and what he needs to improve to lead the Vikings into the future.
Now, let’s get to it.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB – Louisville
Taken in 1st Round, 32nd overall by Vikings
Age: 21; Height: 6-2; Weight: 214
40 Yard Dash: 4.79
201 Stats (13 games, 10 starts) – 191 completions, 296 attempts (64.5%); 2,129 passing yards (7.19 Y/A); 14 touchdowns; 12 interceptions
2012 Stats (13 games, 12 starts) – 287 completions, 419 attempts (68.5%); 3,718 passing yards (8.87 Y/A); 27 touchdowns; 8 interceptions
2013 Stats (13 games, 13 starts) – 303 completions, 427 attempts (71%); 3,970 passing yards (9.30 Y/A); 31 touchdowns; 4 interceptions
It seems difficult to provide scouting information on Teddy Bridgewater that hasn’t already been passed around a million times before draft season, but I will do my best to summarize existing reports while providing my own observations and analysis.
For a really detailed look at Teddy Bridgewater and what he brings to the table as a quarterback, I encourage you to check out Darren Page’s detailed breakdown of Bridgewater’s game here. It’s a great piece that breaks down Bridgwater’s game in ways I’m simply not capable of.
Throughout the draft season, Teddy Bridgewater was touted as a sure-fire No. 1 overall pick and a quarterback who doesn’t belong in the first rounds. Like many things in life, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
Bridgewater is a pro-ready quarterback who is able to make reads and decisions in the pocket, but also has plenty of upside as a young passer. When you look at Bridgewater’s statistics up above, one thing clearly stands out: he got better every year.
And while Teddy Bridgwater performed poorly at his pro day, and believe it or not, there is value in a pro day for a quarterback and seeing him throw live, his college tape is still outstanding.
So with a prove coach like Norv Turner, there’s no reason to believe that Bridgewater is done growing as a quarterback, even if he has the “pro-ready” label attached to him. Bridgewater seems to have a grip on almost all the mental aspects of playing the quarterback position, he just needs some physical attributes to catch up.
The thing Bridgewater needs to work on the most is his throwing mechanics, specifically his lower body. A lot was made out of Bridgewater’s bad pro day and his supbar deep ball accuracy in college, but I think both of those were mistakenly attributed by many to his arm.
What I saw on tape was a guy who had enough arm talent to make all the throws in an NFL playbook, despite many people knocking Bridgewater’s arm strength. In fact, in college, Bridgewater seemed to rely on his arm too much.
There were several times in college where Bridgewater simply rocked back and forth on his heels when throwing deep, instead of actually stepping into the throw. I’m no quarterbacks coach, but when throwing any type of ball it usually helps in you involve more of your lower body.
Former NFL MVP and current NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner said during the draft process that throwing starts from the bottom-up. If he wants to continue to improve as a passer, Bridgewater will need to get his feet involved more, especially when throwing deep.
But that happened mainly on his deep throws. Within 15 yards, he was called hands down the best quarterback in this draft class by NFL analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah.
Within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, Bridgewater’s timing, touch and anticipation really stand out, as he is able to rack up completions against a number of different looks and pressures from defenses.
Bridgewater’s ability to anticipate throws before receivers are open is a trait that should really stand out to Vikings fans who wonder what he will look like in a Norv Turner system. In a piece published by Andrew Krammer of 1500 ESPN, Krammer pointed out how important anticipation throws are to Turner’s system.
A few lines later, Norv Turner was praising Bridgewater for those exact qualities.
Bridgewater also stands out under pressure and against the blitz, where he was far and away the best in this draft class. Bridgewater seems to possess a sixth sense when pressure is coming, and his ability to escape pressure and find a way to come up with a positive play is simply dazzling at times.
Bridgewater needs to get his footwork ironed out if he ever wants to be a productive starting quarterback, and his arm is still not elite by any means. That’s why his footwork is so critical, because he won’t have an arm that will be able to compensate if his feet don’t match up.
But Bridgewater is so good at the nuances of the quarterback position that it’s hard to believe that he won’t figure his mechanical issues out. Coverage recognition, ability to move in the pocket, ability to beat the blitz and escape pressure, it’s all there.
His mind is ready. The Vikings will try to get his body to follow suit.
Spot on the Depth Chart:
Not to state the obvious here, but he’s number two as of now. Where he will be by the end of training camp will entirely be up to him.
Odds of Making Roster: Lock
Rookie Season Predictions:
It’s hard to make predictions on Bridgewater’s rookie season because it’s hard to know how much playing time he will get his rookie season.
I could easily see Bridgewater be a 16 game starter for the Vikings his rookie year if they hand him the reigns after training camp. I can also see him only starting the last few games of 2014 if the team is no longer competing for the playoffs.
If Bridgewater does get the nod from day one, it will because the coaching staff feels he is ready and he’s already a better option than Matt Cassel. That doesn’t sound like an exciting phrase, but for a rookie coming into a complicated offensive system it’s a tough task.
If Bridgewater does manage to accomplish that feat, he has the talent to be a rookie of the year candidate. Whether he can be on the short list for that award will be entirely dependent on how much he sees the field his first year.
If you can’t tell already by this long winded post, I’m a Bridgewater believer. I think he has a knack for quarterbacking that cannot be taught and I think he could be the Vikings starting quarterback for a long time to come.
There are things he needs to work on however, and I agree with the assessment that he should not have been the No. 1 overall pick. But last time I checked, not being the top overall selection hasn’t stopped plenty of quarterbacks from being successful.