Some scouts are concerned Bridgewater will never become a starter


With the bizarre disconnect between the media’s pre-Combine love of Teddy Bridgewater to the pre-draft belief by some of the most plugged in draft experts that Bridgewater will slide out of round one entirely, we’ve decided to try to figure out what teams think of the guy.

And while the reality is that every team could have a vastly different view of a player, with some loving the player and others hating him (or 31 hating him and one loving him enough to make him a first-round pick), some scouts are concerned that Bridgewater may never become a starting quarterback in the NFL.

(I generally avoid sharing opinions from anonymous scouts before the draft because of the potential for bias and agenda affecting the scout’s opinion.  The rule of thumb remains that scouts who love a guy will be inclined to knock him in the hopes of having the player fall to their team, and that scouts who hate a guy will be inclined to say good things about him, so that another team will waste a pick on the player.  I’m making an exception in this case because:  (1) the conflicting views on Bridgewater have become frustrating to the point of maddening; (2) I’m convinced that the scout who shared this information isn’t trying to grease the skids for Bridgewater to slide to his team; (3) the scout is sufficiently experienced and knowledgeable and proven in his work to make his views reliable; and (4) the biggest problem I have with the use of opinions from anonymous scouts is that reporters who share the information typically don’t provide this kind of background or disclaimer, making it impossible for the audience to even begin to assess the reliability of the information.)

With all that said (and if you’re still reading this, you get a free one-year subscription to PFT), the thinking is that Bridgewater has the will to become a great quarterback.  He’ll work hard, and he’ll do everything that is asked of him.  He’ll never create a single problem for the franchise, being a good teammate and a model citizen.

Physically, however, the thinking by some is that Bridgewater simply lacks the attributes necessary to make him one of the rare men who can be starting quarterbacks in the NFL.  Bridgewater isn’t particularly big, he’s not particularly fast, his hands aren’t particularly large, and he doesn’t have a particularly strong arm in comparison to other starting quarterbacks.

He’s also viewed by some as a player who won’t take control of an offense.  The young quarterbacks who have thrived right away have that trait; they take over immediately, and it’s undeniable that they deserve the job.

While there’s a perception that young quarterbacks who become starters immediately are in some way anointed by their teams, the blessing often comes not from the coaching staff or the front office but from the players, who won’t follow or respond to a quarterback in whom they don’t believe.  With Bridgewater, there’s a concern that Bridgewater won’t take over in the way that he needs to take over.

So why did the teams and the draft experts have such a different view of Bridgewater?  One reason could be that teams spend more time scouting seniors than underclassmen during the season, since it’s typically not known which of the underclassmen will be available in the draft.  Every player has a ceiling at some point between college football and the Pro Football Hall of Fame; it seems that the draft experts’ assessment of Bridgewater’s ceiling has been much more favorable than the assessment that has occurred by the folks whose jobs depend on their ability to divine the potential of future NFL players.

Obviously, Bridgewater’s one and only open workout specifically for NFL scouts didn’t do much to convince teams that he’s ready to rise to the occasion and bust through the ceiling that would allow him to be an effective NFL starter.  With so many future NFL quarterbacks — franchise players, busts, and all in between — consistently having stellar Pro Day workouts, Bridgewater’s was glaring, and it reinforced the opinions that some already had.

With two extra weeks to go until the draft and some owners showing a willingness to take advantage of that extra time to display more interest in the process, current questions like, “Explain to me why you’re interested in this guy again?” eventually could become, “Explain to my why you draft this guy again?”

Which eventually could become a decision by the owner to have someone else do the drafting.  Which has resulted in the most plugged-in draft experts coming to the conclusion that Bridgewater has become destined to slide out of round one.

71 responses to “Some scouts are concerned Bridgewater will never become a starter

  1. I like Bridgewater, but I feel like he’s going to be like Shaun King at the NFL level. All the want to, but not enough of the physical attributes to make it pay. Hope I’m wrong, though.

  2. the problem with bridgewater is that he gets nervous in new situations. Look at his first game he looked bad but then settled down after that and looked good. All these important people staring at you.. it probably made him nervous and he was off a bit but if he got used to having prodays every day he’d probably do really good..

    I think bridgewater is going to be a great quarterback and some team is going to get a nice surprise.

  3. i have zero faith in him becoming a solid NFL QB and my insiders agree with me.. his frame is too small, very thin body.. then there’s the mental aspect – he’s not very bright.. this is a 4th rounder at best.. my QB rankings for the 2014 NFLDRAFT

    1. Tommy Rees
    2. Johnny Beerball
    3. Derek Carr
    4. Blake Bortles
    5. Everett Golson
    6. Janneane Garafolo
    7. Brady Quinn
    8. Jimmy Clausen
    9. Joe Montana
    10. Blair Kiel

    so there you have it.. my unbiased look at the QB’ coming out this year

  4. I saw most of his college games and see him as a starter in the NFL ,I saw film of his pro day and yes he looked bad but i would rather go by game day performance and he looked very impressive

  5. So these same scouts that were claiming he was number 1 QB prospect the last 2 years suddenly think he’s a scrub based on one bad day? lol.

  6. “The thinking by some is that Bridgewater simply lacks the attributes necessary to make him one of the rare men who can be starting quarterbacks in the NFL”

    Yeah, he’s no Ken Dorsey.

  7. It does seem strange that all of these knocks on Bridgewater are coming out now. A few months ago, he was viewed as a top 5 or top 10 pick. The good news is that getting picked a little later doesn’t cost you as much money as it used to. It also might push him to work harder to prove people wrong…and lets be honest, getting picked in the top 5 or 10 is not a precursor for success.

  8. Does anyone else think that the “prototype” quarterback physical stats are overrated? Does every team really need a 6’5″ quarterback with large hands? I’d take Russell Wilson or Drew Brees over Eli Manning and Tom Brady as my franchise QB.

    I think reading defenses is the most important category for a QB by far and it’s not close.

  9. Bridgewater will almost definitely slide out of Round 1, making his risk/reward more enticing in Round 2. I see more established teams trading up to grab him in Round 2. The late, great Bill Walsh always advocated drafting several QBs each draft. The hope being, you find a Montana (or Tom Brady).

  10. He just isn’t that good. Watched him a lot last year. Played a very very weak schedule. I was being laughed at a few months ago when I said he wasn’t a first round pick. I don’t even think he’s better then geno smith.

  11. Sorry, but no player can go from potential first overall pick, to never becoming a starter in the NFL without playing a game during that time, or not being seriously red flagged.

    I still believe in Teddy Bridgewater, and as much as Blake Bortles is claiming he likes the Minnesota Vikings and would feel most comfortable there, I would jump for joy if the Vikings selected Bridgewater at #8.

  12. This comment says it all – Bridgewater isn’t particularly big, he’s not particularly fast, his hands aren’t particularly large, and he doesn’t have a particularly strong arm in comparison to other starting quarterbacks.

    Just because the folks at BSPN chose to annoint Bridgewater as the consensus #1 pick during the college football season doesnt mean squat. Listen to the comments that Mark Dominik made about Bridgewater. They down graded him A YEAR AGO because of his size and physical attributes. With all this mock draft nonsense I just to get it overwith!

  13. Round 1 (#5)
    Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville
    Vikings trade #8 and #96 (from Seattle) to Raiders for #5 and select the best QB in this class. Bridgewater will start the season as Matt Cassel’s backup, but may impress enough to force the team to consider starting him during the season should results falter.

    Round 2 (#40)
    Bradley Roby CB Ohio St
    Although the team addressed the CB position in free agency, Roby projects as the ideal guy opposite Xavier Rhodes on the outside, allowing Captain Munnerlyn to move inside to the slot the majority of the time.

    Round 3 (#72)
    Troy Niklas TE Notre Dame
    Rick Spielman released John Carson this off season as he never lived up to the contract he signed as a free agent. The team brings in another Golden Domer in Troy Niklas as his replacement, expecting him to fit Norv Turner’s offensive scheme much better, and also compliment Kyle Rudolph in Twin TE formations.

    Round 3 (#96)
    Traded to Raiders (see above for details of trade).

    Round 4 (#108)
    Chris Watt G Notre Dame
    Although the Vikings brought back Charlie Johnson and already have Jeff Baca returning on the OL, they need more depth, and a potential future starter at LG. Watt is very talented despite less than ideal physical tools, and is known for his footballing intelligence and discipline.

    Round 5 (#148)
    Brock Vereen S Minnesota
    Expert assessment seems all over the place when it comes to Vereen, but he is a good athlete with fluid movement skills, leaping ability and good range. He competes hard, and is a very smart, motivated, team player with a passion for the game. He has outstanding work ethic and is a natural leader who can line up the defense. Will start by contributing as a gunner on special teams. It wasn’t a coincidence when the Vikings coaching staff all attended and led the workouts at Minnesota University’s pro day.

    Round 6 (#184)
    Devon Kennard OLB USC
    Mike Zimmer was defensive backs coach for the 1995 SuperBowl winning Dallas Cowboys team, where Devon’s father – Derek Kennard – was the starting C. Devon is very raw, but has a great skill set and could excel on special teams whilst learning the position.

    Round 7 (#223)
    Damian Copeland WR Louisville
    A project at WR, but one of Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite targets at Louisville, where he led the team in receptions twice. Projects more as a slot receiver as has the bravery to go over the middle, and catching ability to eventually be a capable number 3.

    Priority Free Agents
    Jeff Mathews QB Cornel
    Ben Malena RB Texas A&M
    Austin Franklin WR New Mexico St
    Mike Pennel DT Colorado State-Pueblo

  14. Depends on the team. He’s already better than any QB the Jags have had on the field the last decade or so.

  15. “He’s also viewed as a player who won’t take control of an offense.”. Are we talking about Bridgewater? Command of the offense is far perhaps his greatest strength. I draft this kid this because he is accurate, intelligent, has heart, is a film room junkie with a desire to be great, is a good person, a selfless distributor of the football, and because he more than any QB in this draft has displayed these qualities consistently.

  16. Unlike past years, there doesn’t seem to be any uniform, across the board consensus about any of the QB prospects. I for one, was never on the Bridgewater bandwagon, even last fall when he was having an impressive college season.

  17. All this Bridgewater non-sense has me really hoping this kid becomes great. There are only 2 QB prospects I have ever seen torn down like this before the draft, Tebow & Bridgewater. Although with Tebow I thought most of it was accurate.

    That said, I was never on his bandwagon to begin with. If he were to fall to the Titans with the 11th pick in the 2nd round I’d be ok with taking him (even though we have bigger needs) but I really hope we don’t.

  18. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Plenty of media “draft experts” from Mike Mayock to Mel Kiper, talking to dozens of NFL personnel men from scouts to GMs, loudly proclaimed Bridgewater the most pro-ready QB in the draft as recently as a month ago.

    Now, “one anonymous scout” is saying that “some” think his ceiling is a backup.

    And this belief coincidentally only began to be reported after he had a Pro Day where a lot of his passes were “wobbly.”

    These extra 2 weeks before the draft have led to frankly crazy hype, with some guys “rising” and other guys “falling” months after they last played in a football game and weeks after they last worked out at the combine or their Pro Days. It’s all just echo-chamber stuff, where one guy says one thing, the media repeats it, and then other guys begin saying it because they don’t want to seem like they’re not up to date on current thinking.

  19. Can you believe anything a team says about a player right now? They hide or bash the players they are interested in, feign interest in players they would never draft, trying to fool others. I think the more we hear about his slide the more likely people are trying to get his stock to go down so he will be around then their turn comes to pick. Otherwise why even talk about him?

  20. Scouts were real high on JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf and Akili Smith. Teams took 5 QBs ahead of Dan Marino. Joe Montana went in the third round and Tom Brady went in the fifth. Obviously scouting football players is not an exact science. For every Jonathon Ogden there is a Robert Gallery. For every John Elway there is a Art Sclichter.

  21. Jerry: Little Jerry Seinfeld ran from my door to Neumans in under 30 seconds!

    George: Is that good?

    Jerry: I don’t know.

    Happy Friday everyone!

  22. I kind of thought there was more to this than a bad pro day. Then again… The reason he has been sliding out of the first round might be because he will the first overall pick. I don’t believe anything draft related until after the draft is over.

  23. Been saying this all along. Lovable kid, but no way in hell he becomes a meaningful NFL player, let alone a starter. The issues he has are absolute deal-breakers in the NFL.

    Players can overcome lack of height (Brees and Wilson are a couple of examples); players can overcome no mobility (Peyton and Brady aren’t known for moving); and players can overcome small hands, lack of food speed, a run-first mentality out of colleges, etc.

    But the lack of accuracy, the lack of poise under pressure, the inability to decode complex and ever-changing schemes — are fatal flaws at the next level.

    Because he’s so likable, this fits squarely in the hope “sure as heck hope to be wrong about this, but doubt that I am” category.

  24. I would be willing to bet the genius Spieladope isn’t one of them. This has all the signs of another bust choice for the queens.

  25. “But the the inability to decode complex and ever-changing schemes — are fatal flaws at the next level.”

    Bridgewater had more pre-snap read responsibilities as part of his college offense than either Bortles or Manziel did, and it’s not even close.

  26. As a followup, it would be interesting, but probably useless, 5 years from now to see if there were less draft busts this year in the 1st 2 rounds, because of the extra 2 weeks available.

    OTOH, this year is widely recognized as the deepest draft in years.

  27. Doesn’t have the X factor of Manziel. Isn’t big and strong like Bortles. Carr has a better arm. McCarron has championships. Other guys run better.

    Accuracy and smarts are nice but it helps to have something else on your side.

    Then again accuracy and smarts is the combination that P Manning has used so far is his career. He doesn’t run around, doesn’t rifle passes, doesn’t take big hits.

    71% passing and 31/4 TD/INT this last season. Could do a lot worse. If they can trade down from pick 1 I’m tipping he ends up at Houston.

  28. Negative OSRS. Negative OSRS. Negative OSRS. Can’t say it enough!

    No QB has been drafted in the first round coming off a college season with NEGATIVE OSRS. It’s never happened. Why break the trend? This kid played one of the weakest schedules in memory. One good game against Florida does not diminish that glaring problem.

  29. Bridgewater appears to lack the gravitas with some scouts.

    That’s the sort of knock that should Bridgewater become a future all-star, will be unbelievable part of his story…

    … like Aaron Rodgers was “too cerebral” so he dropped to the end of the first round

    … and Warren Moon was, too black so he wasn’t even drafted.

    The list goes on.

  30. The funny thing for me is with Bridgewater being a possible QB for the Vikings, and all the conflicting views of him, I spent some time researching this guy. I didn’t really like him to begin with.

    But the more I saw of him on tape, the more I liked him. Bridgewater’s strengths- poise in the pocket/good pocket presence, being able to deliver under pressure (he has the highest completion % under duress of any QB in the draft), reading defenses, making adjustments at the line, looking off safeties, good footwork/delivery, being able to throw on the run to either his left or right, extending plays, standing in the pocket to make a throw knowing he’s gonna take a hit- these are all things Bridgewater does very well- not to mention his short and intermediate accuracy and ball placement is very good.

    This is how Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady and Peyton Manning get it done. If any of them had rocket arm strength when they entered the league, it’s long gone now- and yet they still perform at a high level.

    It could be that the big negatives on Bridgewater are because he could be elite- yet he’s not solidified #1 like Andrew Luck was, so the spin-masters are working overtime – fuelled by the bad pro-day – to get him to fall to them.

  31. Falling out of the top 10 will cost him millions.. I dont like the guy personally but I do think scouts are also a bit Bipolar. They loved him before the Pro Days started and now he might be an able backup? Like I said I dont like him but at the same time I hope he lands with the right club and rips defenses up for a few years.

  32. groupthink run amok. You can just sense the momentum of this Bridgewater negativity orgy. What’s next – he couldn’t play in the CFL or maybe he really couldn’t play college ball after that workout?

    NFL organizations are not very good a picking QBs. Otherwise guys like Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith and David Carr wouldn’t be top picks and guys like Brady, Wilson, and Montana wouldn’t be later rounders.

    Just like the line in Moneyball – Beane to the scouts – “You think you know, but you don’t know”

    It amazes me that guys like Mayock look at film – say the guy is great, then look at one workout and say he’s no good. That’s nuts. And it just strikes me as a guy who is influenced by others and has no faith in his own evaluation skills. Great talent evaluators are like great stock pickers – they don’t get influenced by the herd – they know what they believe and stick with it.

  33. I still vividly remember Gino Smith throwing 42 TDs and only 6 INTs his senior year at West Virginia. He looked awesome playing a tougher schedule than Bridgewater did at Lousville where he threw 31 TDs with just 4 INTs. Should we expect a whole lot better for Bridgewater than what we saw out of Smith last year? Maybe both of them develop with time, but I just don’t see Bridgewater being able to immediately start.

  34. Any scouts that think he can be anything in the NFL should just resign. There’s not one starting qb I can think of in the NFL that remotely reminds me of him.

  35. I love these dudes that watch so much Mayok & Kiper on their TV that they grow to be just as annoying on message boards. This guy will be fine, the average NFL scout and draft expert suck’s at picking a a QB this much I know just look at some of the famous NFL bust’s. I like this dude but could care less what a scout or draft expert thinks because I’ve seen these dudes fall in love with J Russel, Gabbert & a ton of other first round bust’s. The biggest variable in his success will be where he lands and it looks like he will land some where nice if he slides

  36. If McNabb can be a starter in the NFL, so can Teddy Bridgewater. McNabb had up and down games all the time. Accuracy problems and got down on himself. Worked for him!

  37. The draft is mostly a crap shoot, scouts won’t admit this because then they’d be out of jobs. The real question is how can teams make value selections, and try to get folks in the later rounds who can contribute. If you look at teams that are generally considered to draft well (Ravens, Patriots, Giants, pre-Tomlin Steelers), it’s not about hitting home runs with each pick so much as getting something of roughly fair value for the round. Bridgewater isn’t a top 10 pick, but late 1st could make sense for a team that can let him develop for a few years. As for the others, there are probably 20 teams in the league that have QBs that aren’t up to snuff. Why not take a chance.

  38. It seems like teams are wising up on some of these “1st rounder’s/Can’t miss Prospects” AKA Tim Couch’s, Cade McNown’s, Akili Smith’s, Chad Pennignton’s, David Carr’s, Patrick Ramsey’s, J. P. Losman’s, Byron Leftwich, Rex Grossman’s, Alex Smith’s, Vince Young’s, JaMarcus Russell’s, Brady Quinn’s, Mark Dirty Sanchez’s, Josh Freeman’s, Sam Bradford’s, Tim Tebow’s, Jake Locker’s, Blaine Gabbert’s, Christian Ponder’s and Brandon Weeden’s of the world.

    ALL 1st round busts. When you have to hang your hat on Matthew Stafford, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer being the one’s that “flourished” than you know there is a problem with how highly overrated these QB’s coming out of college are every single year.

    I would rather use a mid round pick draft pick on a QB every year and hope to hit one of those every 5 to 10 years….aka Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, etc.

  39. We have viking fans wanting to trade up for 2 glove teddy. This draft process has gotten so long Stockholm Syndrome has taken over and I’m now a packer fan.

  40. There is another issue that doesn’t seem to talked about often: Wonderlic score. It seems like NFL scouts get nervous if prospects score below at 27. Bridgewater (20), Carr (22). While it may not be a broad predictor of success if a QB has a high score, it certainly creates some red flags when it’s low.

    The most vivid example of this may be Tim Tebow (scored 22), who in addition to some physical limitations was generally considered to be a blockhead when it came to running an NFL offense. Vince Young (scored 6)? Same thing.

    Bottom line: Everybody wants a cerebral athlete at QB, and the low Wonderlic score leaves a bad taste in scouts’ mouths. Throw in the accuracy and size questions, and there’s no doubt that his stock is dropping.

  41. Man there are a lot of teams out doing their damnedest to get Teddy to fall to them.

    No way he makes it out of the first round.

    Zero chance. Zero.

    My guess the Vikings take him at 8.

  42. The Tom Brady’s and Drew Brees’ and Joe Montana’s and Aaron Rodgers and Warren Moon’s that were all fell in the draft (Rodgers in the 1st round), Moon wasn’t even drafted, was because they didn’t have the stuff scouts like to see at a pro-day- big arm, prototypical size.

    They figure they can coach pocket presence, poise, reading defenses, completing progressions, looking off safeties, etc., etc.,

    And you can’t coach having a rocket arm or being 6′ 5″, 225.

    But the truth is, you can’t coach any of those things all that much – and the former are more important than the latter.

    That is why there are so many QB busts.

  43. With the 33rd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Louisville

  44. “Bottom line: Everybody wants a cerebral athlete at QB, and the low Wonderlic score leaves a bad taste in scouts’ mouths.”

    Nobody was more cerebral than Christian Ponder and look how that worked out. Minn is still trying to get his bad taste out of their mouth.

    To take his game/team to the top a QB doesn’t have to be the strongest, or fastest or smartest, he just has to have an intangible that is hard to scout.

    He has to be a “winner” when the chips are down. It can’t be taught or learned or transferred from someone else. They either have it or they don’t.

    Joe Montana and Tom Brady are examples of winners, Ponder could play till he’s 100 and still not be one.

  45. Who was saying he was the top overall prospect? Teams don’t rank players in November or December. They rank them in March and April when they get all of the information they need.

    The media keeps updating projections for NFL prospects. The media always overstated Bridgewater’s status with NFL personnel men.

  46. Bridgewater will go in the top 10 and the team that gets him will be much improved. He will be a starting quarterback.. it is tough to say if he will be a top tier starting quarterback, but with all the teams out there with horrible quarterbacks he will be a step up. I’d take him over Russel Wilson.

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