The Cincinnati Bengals will pick 24th tentatively in Thursday 2014 NFL Draft. Who the Bengals will take with that pick is a mystery to everyone outside of Paul Brown Stadium. The most interesting possibility is the chances the Bengals select quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Cincinnati is at a crossroads when it comes to their quarterback. The team can either retain current quarterback Andy Dalton and extend his contract or they can go in a different direction and select Teddy Bridgewater in the first round on Thursday.
Bridgewater enters the 2014 NFL Draft off of back to back successful seasons as the starter for the Louisville Cardinals. Included in that are a Sugar Bowl victory following the 2012 season over the Florida Gators and a win in the Russell Athletic Bowl following the 2013 season. He was named MVP in both games.
While accolades are phenomenal the on the field numbers are what matters when it comes to the NFL Draft. Numbers and off the field demeanor are the two areas teams look to the most, and Bridgewater grades very highly in both cases.
Bridgewater entered the 2011 season as the back up quarterback in Louisville but by the fourth game of the season he became the starter and remained the starter through the 2013 season. In 2011 Bridgewater threw for 2,129 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a 64.5% completion percentage, he was named Big East Rookie of the Year that season.
In 2012 Bridgewater built off his successful rookie campaign with an 11-2 record and a win in the BCS Sugar Bowl over the #4 Florida Gators. Bridgewater passed for 3,718 yards, 27 touchdowns and 8 interceptions on the season, a vast improvement over his 2011 season. A quick breakdown shows he passed for more yards, threw the ball more and threw four less interceptions and nearly double the touchdowns.
2013 saw Bridgewater improve even more. This time leading his team to a win in the Russell Athletic Bowl over the Miami Hurricanes. Bridgewater passed for 3,970 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions, another improvement over the previous season. His season made him a very sought after draft prospect during the season.
Following the season Bridgewater announced he would forgo his senior season at Louisville and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. At the NFL Combine Bridgewater measured in at 6’2″, 214lbs with a 33″ reach. He also scored a 20 on the Wonderlic test.
Bridgewater struggled during his pro day. The biggest con with the quarterback is his perceived lack of arm strength, that has concerned scouts and teams. That is perhaps his only knock though, so his slide down the draft board is a little surprising and unfounded.
Now when it comes to pros with the quarterback there is an endless list. The most talked about attribute is Bridgewater’s accuracy, he is an extremely accurate quarterback. He is also a natural born leader, he may be soft spoken off the field but on the field he commands an offense and does it as well as anyone in the country. Not to mention off the field Bridgewater has had no issues, there are no questions about his character.
Cincinnati picks 24th on Thursday, if Bridgewater is there on the board Cincinnati may take a hard look at him. There is serious doubt the Bengals will move up to draft the quarterback but if he falls to them, watch out.