Even in all the excitement of the NBA Playoffs, something worrisome caught my attention thanks to TV personality, Bomani Jones:
What the hell happened to Teddy Bridgewater: possible top overall pick?
It was all good just a year ago. Bridgewater was considered the best college quarterback at the start of last season.
Unlike Matt Leinart before him, another quarterback with high expectations, Bridgewater did everything right in his final season. His team went 12-1. He threw for 4,000 yards, with 31 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He ran a pro-style offense, making the adjustments before the play and progressions during that scouts say projects well to the NFL.
So seriously, what gives?
Well, Bridgewater had a bad Pro Day, the scripted workout for pro scouts top picks host on their practice field. He also has drawn skepticism because of his “slight” frame. According to reports, his slight build, specifically skinny knees (seriously), make him an injury risk.
Tackling these in order, Bridgewater’s Pro Day was undeniably bad. In a workout against no competition, you expect even decent players to look great. Bridgewater looked average. Period.
But which would you rather have, an average in-game performer who thrives against no competition? Or a player with three years of above average play and several big wins under his belt, who had a bad afternoon?
Secondly, Bridgewater is the EXACT same dimensions as Derek Carr (a projected first-round pick). They are both 6’2, 214 pounds, with arm length and hand size within a whisker of each other. AND Bridgewater has never missed a game to injury. He even subbed into a game with his team down 11, leading them to victory despite a SPRAINED ANKLE AND BROKEN WRIST. He went to the post game press conference in a sling and walking boot, then led his team over #4 Florida in the Orange Bowl in his team’s next game.
Again, what gives?
The answer is complicated.
The NFL’s decision to push its draft back a few weeks gives scouts even more time to overthink everything.
The process is basically the same as using that screen above the roulette table to try and pick numbers. Think as long as you want, but sometimes you get David Carr, sometimes you get Peyton Manning. Scouting talent is not a skill. Every GM has great and terrible picks on his resume. Bill Polian was hailed as a great GM after picking Manning over Ryan Leaf. Years later he was fired.
So now GM’s get a few more weeks to study that board. Six 19’s in a row? PUT ALL MY MONEY ON 19!!
And we all know how that works out.
The second reason is harder to pin down, but I touched on it a few months ago.
I wrote about RGIII as the first quarterback of my generation who played his way past the typical stereotypes of a Black quarterback.
Bridgewater plays a game similar to White Quarterback X. It’s harder to put him in the same “runs fast, inaccurate and poor work ethic” box, so we get things like “has skinny knees, adequate athlete” in his scouting report. I’m hoping for the day when a great Black quarterback can just be great…but today ain’t that day.
What do you think about the draft process? Is it set up against some players? Why do you think Bridgewater has become a second round pick despite his resume?
Hit the comments and let me know!