Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
College quarterbacks with the highest September expectations often end up slipping down draft boards come April.
In 2011, Washington's Jake Locker fell to pick number eight. In 2007, Brady Quinn plunged to the Cleveland Browns at pick 22. In 2005, Matt Leinart dropped to No. 10. And, of course, famously, Aaron Rodgers waited in the green room all the way to the 24th pick in 2005.
Former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater could very well find himself in that uncomfortable position on May 8th.
Concerns about Bridgewater's size (6-foot-2, 214 pounds) have seemingly sounded alarm bells among draft analysts. And his now infamous pro-day performance wasn't merely a disappointment. "It was a disaster," said Drew Deener, Louisville football's play-by-play announcer and radio host for ESPN 680.
One pro day can't devastate a players stock, can it? Sources close to Deener think it actually might, with one saying that he "played himself into the second round."
The former Cardinal quarterback decided against wearing throwing gloves during his pro day for the first time in his career. According to Denner and other observers, Bridgewater paid the price for it. Deep balls were off target and he looked uncomfortable.
The pro-day debacle was the biggest surprise of Bridgewater's career, according to Deener. There wasn't a game in the quarterback's three seasons at Louisville that Deener would rate poorly. Bridgewater's 31 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2013 speak volumes. In 39 career games, he only had two contests with multiple interceptions. The Miami native showed it all: polished pocket passing, the ability to get up from big hits, a model citizen off the field and a born leader on it.
"There wasn't a game in his career where he missed a bunch of passes or something like that," Deener said. "To hear all the knocking of him now is basically a shock to us who saw him play every game."
As the lengthy path to the draft continues, Bridgewater's status will remain in flux. Are teams using Bridgewater's pro day as a smokescreen to deflate his value? Any type of diversion is plausible during the spring.
If judging on game tape alone, Deener reiterates he would take Bridgewater number one overall. Even with a source telling him the second round is possible, the voice of Louisville football said he realistically doesn't see Bridgewater slipping past the 12th pick, where he predicts a team such the Cleveland Browns (who own the fourth and 26th picks) could be after a trade. "If front offices watch his body of work for his three years, there's no doubt to me he's the best quarterback in the draft," Deener said.