It might not be this year or next year or even the year that, but when it’s all said and done, Teddy Bridgewater will go down as the top quarterback of the 2014 draft class.
Or so says NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
“I still think Teddy Bridgewater,” Jeremiah said on The Damon Amendolara Show. “That’s who I’ve kind of stuck with throughout this whole process. I think he’s going to be more polished coming into year one. But I think even when you get down to year three or year four, I just feel like I know what I’m getting a little bit more with Teddy Bridgewater in terms of the decision-making, the accuracy on the tape.”
Bridgewater’s stock has dropped bit by bit over the last 12 months. After stunning Florida 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl – a game in which Bridgewater showed poise, toughness, leadership and a boatload of talent – he entered 2013 as a Heisman Trophy favorite and the odds-on-favorite to be the first quarterback drafted in 2014.
That all changed after a so-so season in which Bridgewater posted pedestrian stats. It changed even further after Bridgewater’s Pro Day, which left much to be desired.
Still, Jeremiah has complete confidence in the 21-year-old Miami native.
“I know he had a horrible Pro Day – and that’s cost him and it’s going to drop him down in this draft,” Jeremiah allowed. “But when I (saw) him on tape, I thought he was the safest guy, and I think he’s a guy who’s going to come in and be able to digest an NFL playbook right away because he’s been in a pro-style offense. I think he’s going to hit the ground running, and I think when you look down the line three or four years from now, I still think he’ll be the top guy.”
It would help Bridgewater immensely if he doesn’t land in a situation where he has to start right away – or at least have to be “The Guy.” As we’ve seen with Seattle and San Francisco, there’s something to be said for building an entire roster and then simply inserting a talented, more affordable (read: cheap) quarterback.
Bridgewater is not expected to be a top-10 pick.
“The roster is so loaded (that) you can win right away,” Jeremiah explained. “Whereas if you draft a quarterback and you don’t have anything else on your roster and he’s just trying to carry your team, his contract’s going to come through and you’re going to have to pay him a ton of money.”
Thus, the mindset among many NFL franchises has changed. The logic used to be, find a quarterback and go from there. Now, however, it’s the exact opposite.
“You load up your roster and then you just try and drop in your quarterback after you’ve done so,” Jeremiah said.