Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville was the consensus top rated quarterback until his Pro day. He is still my top rated QB in this draft. He has three major indicators of success. First, he has started early in his freshman year. Second, in each of his three years he improved the completion and interception percentages, yards per attempt, and sacks given up. Third in most of the games he played he did not have the best 11 players on the field around him. He makes the receivers better by throwing them open. He puts the ball in a spot away from the defender.
STRENGTHS: His biggest strength is that he takes care of the ball. He has thrown the ball 345 times with 25 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He has above average accuracy completing 71 percent of his throws and well above average arm strength. Although he is a very good athlete, he looks to throw first and reads the field effectively. Even when he starts to run to avoid pressure, he keeps his eyes down field looking to make a throw. He has the strength and athleticism to escape sack attempts.
He is mechanically correct throwing on the move. Even on the run he will take the time to square his shoulders to insure an accurate throw. He has the guts to stand in against a big hit and throw accurately. He has excellent touch with the ability to drop the ball over a defender and into the hands of his receiver. He has the touch to make short and medium passes catchable.
Bridgewater is calm in the pocket keeping his eyes down field despite the pressure. He can run very effectively when nothing is open but usually finds a safe throw. He is an effective ball handler which makes his play action passes more effective. He carries out his fakes effectively.
The Cardinals use a pro style offense. Bridgewater has experience with three and five step drops. He has above average footwork in those drops.
WEAKNESSES: Bridgewater has a lower delivery point than most pro scouts prefer. He tends to throw at his ear level rather than at a full arm extension. Despite that he gets few passes batted down in part due to his height. While he has taken a number of hits, he has not generally missed games due to injury at Louisville. Although he has played some major powers, the majority of his games have been against American (aka Big East) teams.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Bridgewater has had a lot of experience behind a less than stellar offensive line. He will need that experience because he will be a first round pick in the 2014 draft. Chances are his new offensive line will offer the same competitive challenges that his line at Louisville did. Although drafting a quarterback in the first round is a risk, Bridgewater gives scouts every indication that he will be successful.
That is what I think. Tell us what you think.
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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on .
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