Say what you will about the Teddy Bridgewater and his “skinny knees.” There still are plenty of sane analysts who believe he’s the best player available (shout out to you Sports Illustrated). Half the battle for a top quarterback is where he’s drafted. Being in the right situation could be the difference between being Russell Wilson and Jamarcus Russell.
Luckily for Teddy, the offensive system at Louisville allowed him to have some great NFL ready traits. As Jon Gruden put it “he’s running the West Coast offense like Bill Walsh taught it to him.” Bridgewater will be able to integrate himself well into most NFL teams, but which situations are best?
I took into account the teams who are considering taking a signal caller. Obviously teams like the Seahawks and Broncos, aren’t good choices. So here are the ten best situations Bridgewater could land in come draft night.
10. New York Giants
Yes, this is my childhood team. But before you discount it let me explain. Eli Manning had one of the worst seasons a quarterback can have last year. Even more alarming for the Giants is that this will be his 11th season in the league and he’s 33. Yes that leaves plenty of time for him, however it’s only a few younger than when Brett Favre left Green Bay.
If any team was to put Bridgwater in an Aaron Rodgers type situation, the Giants are likely to be it. Bridgewater could stand to learn a lot from Eli Manning. They have similar body frames, and while Manning likely has a better deep ball than Teddy they both are known for their pocket presence. It’s a longshot. But I’m just saying if Teddy really was falling, the Giants wouldn’t surprise me.
9. Oakland Raiders
Oakland is where quarterbacks go to die. The Raiders have zero weapons and awful ownership. The only benefit is if (and it’s a huge if) Matt Schaub can perform decently, Oakland might finally work to get him some weapons. But there just isn’t enough surrounding him that convinces me Bridgewater can bring this franchise from the dead.
8. Tennessee Titans
More bad offense, and the Titans are only getting worse. As long as Nate Washington is their best receiver, it doesn’t bode well for whoever is behind center for the Titans. The benefit to Bridgewater landing in Nashville, is that Ken Whisenhunt is an offensive guru and will help give him the plays he needs to confuse defenses.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Another historically bad franchise, the major worry about Jacksonville is the supporting cast. They had the second worst offense last year and their offensive line is atrocious. If (yet another huge if) Justin Blackmon gets reinstated by the league and stays on the field, Teddy could have a nice weapon to work with. But otherwise, the Jags are another sorry spot for Teddy.
6. Cleveland Browns
While Cleveland is also notorious for their problems behind center, the Browns actually have a decent situation. With two first round picks, the Browns have a bit of flexibility. Word is that they want to add Sammy Watkins to play alongside up and comer Josh Gordon. If the Browns could nab Watkins and Bridgewater it would be a dream come true. The pieces are here, and Bridgewater isn’t a bad situation in the slightest.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Carson Palmer hasn’t been a solid quarterback since 2006, and he isn’t the answer for winning a division with Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. While the Cardinals front office hasn’t seemed open to drafting a quarterback, they truly should consider it.
Arizona is a decent spot for Teddy Bridgewater. Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and Ted Ginn are a solid receiving corps. The issue is that Bridgewater doesn’t have the downfield strength that coach Bruce Arians likes having. It’s certainly not a fit, but it isn’t a very good one.
4. St. Louis Rams
The Rams also have some serious pieces. Tavon Austin may have struggled slightly in his rookie year, but he showed flashes of serious talent. Jared Cook has potential to be a top 5 tight end in the league, and Zac Stacy had a solid run once getting the starting job until he was injured.
However the biggest benefit for Teddy to join St. Louis is the leadership of Jeff Fisher. He would be a great coach for Bridgewater and help him stay focused in his first season in the NFL. Sam Bradford is supposedly still the guy in St. Louis but the Rams are seriously mulling over nabbing a quarterback.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota is a signal caller away from a quality team. It’s hard to believe that Adrian Peterson might be the 2nd best offensive weapon on the team. Cordarrelle Patterson has the potential to be one of the best offensive weapons in the NFL, and Greg Jennings could still have some miles left. Teddy would have plenty to work with in the north.
2. Houston Texas
Houston isn’t a bad team. Let’s not forget that nine of the Texans’ 14 straight losses were by 7 points or less. Houston has weapons to work with. The Texans have two quality receivers in Andre Johnson and Denard Hopkins. They get back a (hopefully) healthy Arian Foster, and Garrett Grahams showed flashes of a monster tight end. The Texans desperately need a quarterback, don’t let the analysts tell you otherwise.
Further sweetening the pot is the opportunity to work with Bill O’Brien who helped mold Tom Brady in New England. Being both the first round pick and having such a great team to work with would be fantastic for Teddy. But it isn’t the best situation he could have.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Think about how perfect it would be. Andy Dalton isn’t the elite quarterback Cincinnati needs to make the leap. He again proved last season that he isn’t good under the big game spotlight. If the Bengals took Bridgewater there would be instant recognition (remember Teddy owned the Bearcats), he would have a tremendous cast of receivers, and it would solve the impending salary cap issue that Dalton poses.
Yes the system would have to be altered a tad, because Bridgewater doesn’t have the deep ball. But Bridgewater was so strong with DeVante Parker, imagining Green in that role isn’t that hard to do. It has long been suspected that the Bengals were a quality quarterback away from being a true Super Bowl contender. Teddy Bridgewater could absolutely be that guy for the long suffering Bengals fans.