Film is the No. 1 thing teams pay attention to when drafting a quarterback, but pro days offer a chance to get a closer look that isn't always possible in game situations.
Texans general manager Rick Smith and head coach Bill O'Brien went to Louisville's pro day today to get a look at Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a candidate for the top overall pick in May. What they saw was a bit of a surprise.
We had Ron Jaworski and Todd McShay on hand to analyze a performance that was a bit subpar.
“I think if you talked to the six NFL coaches that were here, they came here probably feeling the same way we did: Teddy Bridgewater was the guy most ready for the NFL," Jaworski said on ESPN. "But they wanted to see the ball come out of his hands. How did he spin the football? They've done all the tape study, just like we've done all the tape study. And really, when you watch Bridgewater today, he struggled with accuracy, he struggled with velocity on the deep throw and the sideline throws. And the one thing I thought was going to be his trademark was the accuracy -- and he struggled in areas. I think clearly, in this pro day workout, Teddy Bridgewater took a step backwards.”
A pro day is a fairly controlled environment, and one that typically aids a quarterback's success. It's part of why many of them don't throw at the combine, where they'll have to throw to unfamiliar receivers in an unfamiliar environment.
McShay had this to say on the matter: "This is a rare occurrence for a QB in his pro day, who is not nearly as efficient and effective when he is when studying his tape. The question has to be why? And I just wonder ... maybe it's in his head that he's working on footwork things that I'm not sure that he should be working on. The bottom line is that he needs to be working on weight transfer, and getting his hips more involved with his upper body to drive the ball down the field. Big picture: The bottom line is that the teams drafting at the top, and there were general managers, head coaches, scouts, offensive coordinators from all of those teams here, they wanted to be wowed and they leave Louisville having not been wowed about what they saw.”
Ultimately, it was a missed opportunity for Bridgewater to elevate his stock. And a day like this lends credence to the discussion that there's no Andrew Luck-like sure thing in this year's draft.