Last year, Geno Smith was considered to be the consensus number one QB in the draft despite some concerns about his accuracy and how good he actually was after playing with two top WR prospect at West Virginia in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Although there were concerns about Smith most expected him to still be picked first and many tipped the Jets with their #13 pick to be the most likely landing spot. Yet when the draft rolled around in the middle of May everyone was surprised to see EJ Manuel picked at #16 by the Bills after the traded back from #8 in a deal with the Rams(The Rams picked Tavon Austin at #8). The Jets passed on Smith and picked rookie sensation Sheldon Richardson and Dee Milliner instead in the first round and then got a steal in the second round getting who the wanted all along and an elite DE in Sheldon Richardson. Yet as the draft went on you couldn’t help but feel sorry for him as he sat there watching as team after team passed on him and he was forced to watch it all there in the green room. Eventually when the first day was over and the first round in the books and with journalists hounding him for answers a deflated Smith admitted he wouldn’t be showing up the next day which raised some serious concerns over his maturity. Despite ultimately showing up the next day it shows how hard it can be for draft prospects who have been constantly told how great they’re by agents and scouts and have their hopes risen to astronomical levels only for the fall to be set up as team after team passes on them. Before Geno Smith there was All-American Brady Quinn who we saw forced to wait backstage in the green room as team after team passed on him and having watched the second biggest bust of all time in JaMarcus Russell go number one overall(Ryan Leaf was the biggest bust of all time in my opinion). The law of averages says that will be a faller each year and the rumours going around the league at the moment is that it could be Teddy Bridgewater.
Images like this of an emotional Geno Smith last year made the draft hard watching at times.
Coming into the year he was the consensus #1 QB prospect in the country after finishing in the top 10 in completion percentage, yards per attempt and passing efficiency and throwing 25TD on the way to BCS berth and beating a Florida team as major underdogs. Bridgewater was named Sugar bowl MVP after he shredded Florida defence through the air after they had led the league in passing efficiency with 266 and 2TDs. On the back of his performance there were even rumours around Louisville of a possible National championship. However since Louisville lost their first game of the year and with it their BCS hopes to UCF and Blake Bortles his stock has been on the decline. As scouts became enamoured with Bortles’ size, Manziel’s playmaking ability and Carr as a natural thrower it has been like musical chairs with Bridgewater standing as the music stops. It certainly didn’t help that he didn’t throw at the combine and when did at his Proday he wasn’t as accurate and didn’t throw with as much zip as he did during the regular season which raised some questions. There are also concerns about the level of completion he played against in the AAC but if such questions are raised for him then the same must be done for Blake Bortles who also played in the AAC and played against 8 of the same opponents. Although, with Bridgewater it is not really about showing that he can throw the ball 70+ yards down the pitch, it’s just not his game. Bridgewater made his name at Louisville by running a pro-style offence which calls for him to make a lot of adjustments at the line of scrimmage and to make good decisions.
Bridgewater changes the play call at the line scrimmage during last year’s sugar win over Florida
Things have gotten so bad for Bridgewater this week that some on NFL Network had heard from some teams that they expected him to be still there in the second round. It was hardly a good sign either that he had a workout with the Patriots recently who aren’t selecting until #30 in the draft. The Patriots view him as one of a couple possible replacements for Tom Brady who doesn’t have too many years left although he does have two years left on three deal he signed last season. Current backup Ryan Mallet is reported to want to go elsewhere to compete for a starting this year which means New England may look at Bridgewater as plan B if Mallet leaves as expected. While New England may be an ideal landing spot for Bridgewater it seems unlikely that he would available at #30 as both the Cardinals at #20 and the Browns #26. The Cardinals are in similar position to Pats with their eyes on a long term replacement for Carson Palmer and reported to be willing to take a QB in the first round. If he did end up in the desert it wouldn’t be a bad thing, learning from QB guru Bruce Arians who has worked with Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck. Meanwhile the Browns got the #26 pick in exchange for Trent Richardson and reported want take a non QB (most likely Sammy Watkins) at #4 and a QB at #26 or #36 instead. If Bridgewater were brought in it would be to compete for the starting job in his rookie year or possibly sit behind Brian Hoyer for a year before taking over. Regardless of how good he was during his time in Louisville I believe that Teddy Bridgewater could join the ranks of Geno Smith and Brady Quinn and become the faller of this years draft.