Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) gives instructions during the first quarter of the Russell Athletic Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Teddy Bridgewater Solidifies 2014 NFL Draft Stock

For a moment in time it looked like Teddy Bridgewater might not be able to retain his spot atop the quarterbacks on 2014 NFL draft boards.  That moment has passed.

Derek Carr threat gone and Bridgewater takes advantage

There have been a few contenders to the crown.  First it was uber-talented sophmore Marcus Mariota who commanded a dynamic offense at Oregon and showcased his rare ability as both a passer and a runner.  Then it was the red hot senior Derek Carr, who almost single-handedly carried FresnoState on his back and led the nation in both passing yards and touchdown passes.  However, after a tough showing against USC, the door was open for Bridgewater to remind everybody around college football why he was the favorite for going first in the 2014 NFL draft.  He didn’t hesitate to take advantage.  After getting sack early for a safety that gave Miami the early edge, the junior began to execute his offense to near perfection.  Devoid of any help from the running game, Bridgewater rolled off 36-straight points which included three touchdowns passes and a touchdown run for good measure.  His efficiency was evident throughout the game.  Ten different receivers caught a pass in the game and four of them caught four or more.  He looked like a professional playing with college kids.

Sugar and Citrus Bowl wins show his ability in big games

If posting 361 yards and scoring four touchdowns weren’t enough to validate his stock among the draft teams, then they need only look at the deeper meaning behind the win.  This game marks the second-straight runaway victory Teddy Bridgewater has produced for Louisville.  Combining his Sugar Bowl against Florida and the Citrus Bowl against Miami, he has posted 713 passing yards, six total touchdowns and no turnovers.  That kind of performance in big games is what head coaches covet in any player, but especially a quarterback because it’s simply impossible to teach somebody to be clutch.  Bridgewater has not only shown in 2013 that he can do everything from the arm strength to the accuracy and reading of defenses, he also can play under pressure.  That is the greatest compliment a quarterback can be paid, and is often the difference between going first overall and just being another first round pick.

Teddy Bridgewater may still have some doubters about how far he can go in the pros.  Fair enough.  When it comes to the 2014 NFL draft though, it’s hard seeing anybody stopping him from being first off the board when Commission Goodell steps to the podium.

Tags: 2014 Nfl Draft Citrus Bowl Derek Carr Teddy Bridgewater

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