We’re down to the final two. Coming in at #2 is Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
There may not be a better NFL prospect at the quarterback position than Teddy Bridgewater. He’s a high-IQ signal caller who can make all the throws, which combined with his physical attributes, is the reason so many scouts have him pegged as the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. In 2012, he threw for 3,718 yards and 27 touchdowns while maintaining a 68.5 completion percentage. As a result of his play, the Cardinals finished with an 11-2 record and dominated Florida (yes, that’s right, an SEC team) in the Sugar Bowl.
Although Teddy doesn’t often use his legs to make plays down the field, his passing skills and play-making ability are what truly set him apart from the rest. He is very mobile in the pocket and has the ability to avoid incoming pass rushers. This allows him to extend the play and find his guy down the field. He also has the intangibles that you look for in a quarterback and reminds me of Matt Ryan when he was at Boston College….always cool under pressure and can make something out of nothing.
As far as passing ability goes, Bridgewater has it all. His footwork and release are fine, but his throws are usually exceptional. Bridgewater simply puts the ball on the money, right where his receiver needs it in order to extend the play and gain additional yards after the catch. His deep ball is a thing of beauty and he throws it more accurately than almost anyone in the country. From a coverage standpoint, if you slip up even a little, Bridgewater will make you pay. Check out these highlights from the 2012 season and you’ll see what I mean.
Another thing that boosted Bridgewater in these rankings was his overall contribution to his Louisville team. I’ve already said that he is a great play-maker, but his importance to his team cannot be overstated. The Cardinals have plenty of good football players on their roster, but they lack elite talent at most positions. There was no 1,000-yard rusher or receiver on the 2012 Louisville offense and the defense gave up over 22 points per game. Simply put, Louisville would not have been anywhere near as good without incredible quarterback play from Bridgewater. Here’s more proof of that in the form of some highlights from the Cardinals’ victory over Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Even though his offensive line didn’t give him much time, Teddy was able to move around in the backfield and create positive plays for his team, including a couple of beautiful touchdown passes.
So why isn’t he the best quarterback in college football? Well it’s hard to argue with the hardware that my number one guy earned last season. It’s also tough to overlook his ridiculous numbers and outstanding play in big games. Still, Bridgewater has the chance to challenge for the top spot this season and will be mentioned in the Heisman conversation each and every week. As for his team, the Cardinals will go as far as Bridgewater can carry them. Louisville has a weaker schedule this season due to its one-year stint in the American Athletic Conference, but while this may hurt their BCS hopes, it won’t stop Teddy Bridgewater from becoming the best quarterback in the country.
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