Vikings: On Teddy Bridgewater's pro day
March, 17, 2014
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Once its immediacy fades, the effect of Teddy Bridgewater's underwhelming performance at his pro day will likely just be one metric of the Louisville quarterback's pre-draft evaluation, not the single factor that will send his draft stock careening all over the board.
Bridgewater has a splendid college resume, was seen as one of the more NFL-ready quarterbacks in this draft class and will still possess plenty of interest for teams who need a quarterback, none of which are about to blackball Bridgewater because he displayed accuracy issues while throwing without a glove and raised questions about his arm strength.
While we're going to guess the Minnesota Vikings would still consider Bridgewater seriously if he falls to them at No. 8 (NFL.com's Gil Brandt said Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner thought Bridgewater looked fine), the subpar performance does re-introduce a question Vikings GM Rick Spielman was asking at the NFL scouting combine: Why wouldn't quarterbacks give themselves another chance to throw in front of scouts?
Bridgewater decided not to throw at the combine, effectively putting more weight on his pro day than there would have been if he'd thrown in Indianapolis in February. Many quarterbacks decide to go that route because it gives them more control over the variables -- they're throwing to a receiver they've worked with for months, going over a program of throws they've drilled dozens, if not hundreds, of times. But looking back on it now, it's tough to imagine Bridgewater wouldn't want another chance to throw in front of scouts to diversify his portfolio, so to speak.
"It's an opportunity to put yourself to start jockeying for position," Spielman said at the combine. "To me, it's always -- whether agents agree or disagree -- it's a chance to compete and I don’t put as much stock into the accuracy thing because I understand they haven't worked with these receivers and the timing. It’s more just looking at the throwing motion, the mechanics, things like that. The arm strength. I think if you have a chance to compete, you should get out there and compete. An example has been Ben Roethlisberger. I remember everyone on him -- he didn't look very good (at the combine) and he ended up being a pretty damn good quarterback and still taken in the first round. So I think agents and players sometimes overthink this. Just go out there and give me a ball a let me throw it. Who cares?"
As ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay, who was at Bridgewater's pro day, points out, quarterbacks usually look great in that setting because they're not facing a defense and everything has been planned for months. As silly as it is for that type of manicured workout to be the determining factor in a quarterback's draft stock, it might be equally silly to pass up another chance to make an impression, especially when things go off course like they did for Bridgewater on Monday.