In a move that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, Louisville quarterback will enter the 2014 NFL draft. ESPN's Brett McMurphy first reported the news. MMQB's Greg A. Bedard confirmed McMurphy's report. Long regarded of as the No. 1 passer in this year's class, it seemed only a matter of time before Bridgewater reached this decision.
The junior previously said he would wait until after the Russell Athletic Bowl to make his choice, and he was very careful with his words in the days leading up to the Cardinals' 36-9 rout of Miami. That victory capped Louisville's 12-1 campaign, in which the team's lone loss came to UCF on Oct. 18.
On Dec. 20, however, a cryptic tweet appeared to signal that Bridgewater had already made up his mind.
Bridgewater completed 71 percent of his passes this season, throwing for 3,970 yards and 31 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He ranked 10th among FBS quarterbacks with an average of 9.3 yards per attempt. At 6-foot-3, he has the height professional scouts desire, but at 196 pounds, he'll likely need to add a few pounds to his visibly slender frame. None of that should prevent him from being picked first among quarterbacks and likely first overall, to the Houston Texans.
Bill O'Brien, the new Texans coach and a man known for developing quarterbacks, is in a perfect spot to select the player he thinks will usher the franchise into the future. It's hard to believe he'd go with anyone other than Bridgewater, who has been at the top of just about every mock draft, including those from SI.com's Chris Burke.
Burke wrote on Dec. 30 regarding Bridgewater to the Texans:
Even those who are skeptical of Bridgewater’s abilities had to be impressed with how he played against Miami in Louisville’s bowl game. He threw for 447 yards and accounted for four touchdowns — a dazzling performance that showed off everything he brings to the table. Included in that list of abilities: mobility, touch downfield and the awareness to roll through progressions in decisive fashion.
That's what separates the Louisville star from most of the other quarterbacks who could be considered in the draft. Johnny Manziel is the most elusive, and Derek Carr can run through progressions. Blake Bortles has size and strength, Brett Smith has athleticism and Tajh Boyd is steady as them come. Still, none of them has been able to put everything together in one ideal package like Bridgewater. He can hit the short and intermediate routes, make throws to either side of the field and drop in deep balls with incredible accuracy. And he always looks patient and under control while doing it.