Originally Posted by dalemurphy
I'm not fully determined that Bridgewater is the guy, yet. Based on what I have seen and the arguments pro/con, I feel quite good about him, though.
Here's my perspective:
Instead of comparing Bridgewater to other elite draft prospects, shouldn't we be looking at current, great NFL QBs and determine what they have and then the likelihood that Teddy Bridgewater has, or can develop those things?
Usually, the elite prospects have an off-the-chart skill, or combination of skills that separate him from the rest. Either that, or incredible success/stats in his college career (Tim Couch, Vinny Testeverde, Peyton Manning)... Sometimes it is elite athleticism: RGIII, J.Russell, Cam Newton, Michael Vick, John Elway. Sometimes it is a remarkable arm: Jeff George, Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe.
Looking at those groups, sometimes the player has worked out very well, sometimes it doesn't. I'm not arguing that those players were drafted solely, or even primarily, because of that one elite ability. However, I am saying that it is usually one, definable trait that makes a QB a clear/universal number one choice.
However, that elite skill has never proven to be the difference-maker for greatness in the NFL. Not only that, but many of the all-time great QBs have lacked any elite skills. So, then, what is it that makes them great. The popular thinking is that guys like Tom Brady and Drew Brees are overflowing with intangibles that they make up for their lack of athleticism. Essentially, they compensate with their mind and with their "heart" to make up for the lack of special athletic ability. I disagree. Instead, I think the elite athleticism that is coveted in the draft are highly overrated. I think an elite arm is almost inconsequential in the NFL. As many advantages as there is, it also creates problems- from bad habits to lower catch % by WRs, etc...
I think there is a baseline, though. To succeed in the NFL, QBs must be able to deliver the ball into tight windows. Therefore, a great QB must be able to get the ball from his hand to the hand of his WR in relatively little time... This, though, is necessarily a combination of decision-making, footwork, release, and arm strength. Can a QB consistently get the ball into those windows inside of that time?
So, back to the question: what makes a QB great in the NFL?
1st- He must have the combination of footwork, release, and arm strength to succeed in the NFL- by that, he must be able to fit the ball into spaces when a game is on the line and the other team knows it will be a pass.
2nd- Accuracy! All great NFL quarterbacks are accurate passers in the modern era. The NFL is now a 60/40 pass to run league. So, great QBs must have consistent accuracy.
3rd- Quick mental processor on the field.
4th most of the following intangibles: great work ethic, love of the game, intelligent, good decision-maker, leadership skills, mental toughness.
This is how I think the Texans should evaluate Bridgewater and all the QBs in the draft:
1. Does he have the necessary passing skills to get the ball into NFL windows consistently (yes or no)
2. Is he highly accurate?/ or, is he accurate enough and can we develop him into a highly accurate QB (yes or no)
3. Does he make consistently good decisions during games and under pressure? (yes or no).
4. Does he have a strong list of intangibles that can be nurtured so he can lead a team into, and through, years of success and also bounce back from moments of failure, leading his team through that as well? ( yes or no )
** If Bridgewater is a confident "yes" to all 4 of those questions, then I think the Texans must draft him. If not, stay away from him, because your evaluation of him indicates that sustained greatness is not even possible.
Are there other Qbs in the draft that you can answer yes to all 4 questions? Or to 3 of the questions with a "maybe" for 1? Can we get him later in round one or in round two?
Most of the criticism against Bridgewater are irrelevant to the question, "will he become a great NFL Qb?", IMO.
1. His arm is good, not great... His release is quick. His footwork is good and can be further improved with coaching... He has proven to be a quick decision-maker... I'm confident he has what is needed to get place the ball into NFL windows.
2. He is very accurate, and I don't see any physical or mechanical issues in the way of his accuracy becoming even greater.
3. I have not seen enough of him to argue about his decision-making... From what I have seen and heard, it seems to be a strength of his.
4. Again, I don't know him well enough to answer questions about his intangibles. But, again, from what I have witnessed and heard/read about, he seems to have a pretty good list of them.