It was just about this time exactly one year ago when young Theodore Edmond Bridgewater II was preparing for what was, at that time, the biggest day of his football career. It was the day of the Louisville football "Pro Day," where all of the players from the Louisville Cardinals that were preparing for the 2014 NFL Draft would have an opportunity to showcase their skills in a controlled environment in front of National Football League scouts. As Bridgewater didn't throw at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, this was going to be his big chance to solidify himself as one of the top picks in the draft, and possibly as the top quarterback off the board.
However, in the span of roughly ninety minutes, Bridgewater made a bunch of folks that get paid to scout football players for a living forget completely about his outstanding junior season at Louisville. . .one that saw him throw for nearly 4,000 yards and complete over 70% of his passes while throwing for 31 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He made them forget about his big coming-out party, against the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl in January of 2013, where he thoroughly dissected one of the nation's top pass defenses en route to a huge upset.
No. . .after Teddy Bridgewater's Pro Day at Louisville, we got reviews such as this:
Count yours truly as one who doubts Bridgewater after Monday's display, though. There were significant problems with mechanics when Bridgewater tried to let it rip to the deeper parts of the field. Not only did he misfire often, but he also compensated for his lack of arm strength by getting out of sorts with his footwork. The ball often fluttered and wobbled—and this was indoors.
Teams that play in cold weather often should be wary of selecting Bridgewater high in the draft despite his excellent football IQ and collegiate production. It's hard to remember the last time there were this many underwhelming reviews about a pro day regarding a mortal-lock first-round draft pick.
But there was one guy in attendance that thought that Bridgewater's workout was actually pretty good. . .and it turned out to be a guy that knows a thing or two about quarterbacks.
Not as down on Bridgewater workout as some. Only saw 1 bad throw. Norv Turner told me he thought it was pretty good.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 17, 2014
Fortunately for the Vikings, they got an opportunity to bring Bridgewater in for a private workout prior to the draft, and. . .get this. . .they saw a totally different guy. Sure, part of it that might have been to the fact that he went back to his famous gloves (that he, for whatever reason, eschewed at his Pro Day workout), but part of it has to do with the fact that. . .you know. . .a guy that threw for nearly 10,000 yards and 72 touchdowns in three seasons as a starting college quarterback might actually be a pretty good football player. It's almost as if three seasons worth of game tape should carry more weight than some random ninety-minute workout.
When it came to quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft, Teddy Bridgewater wasn't the "sexy" pick. He didn't have the big, prototypical measurements of Blake Bortles or an NFL Blitz-esque string of jaw-dropping highlights like Johnny Manziel. And that's perfectly fine. . .not every quarterback has those things. If Teddy Bridgewater had either of those things, there's a good chance he wouldn't have fallen all the way down to the final pick of the first round for Rick Spielman and company to jump up and grab.
In their last mock draft before Bridgewater's Pro Day, our folks at Mocking the Draft had Teddy Bridgewater tabbed as the #1 overall pick by the Houston Texans. He wound up in Minnesota at pick #32, and the future at the quarterback position. . .and for the team as a whole. . .is as bright as it's been for a very long time.
And it all started one year ago today, at what might go down as the greatest Pro Day performance a member of the Minnesota Vikings has ever produced.