ORLANDO – In what may have been his final game as a Louisville Cardinal, Teddy Bridgewater put on a passing clinic worthy of a top overall pick.
Bridgewater, considered by many draft-day pundits as the top overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, completes 35-of-45 passes for a career high 446 yards, threw three touchdowns and rushed for another in a 36-9 rout of his hometown Miami Hurricanes in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
While some point to his breakout performance in a 33-23 Sugar Bowl win against Florida, this writer feels that Bridgewater cemented his position as the top overall prospect in the draft by displaying a uncanny mix of accuracy, mobility, high football IQ, ability to extend plays and most importantly—an ability to make big plays downfield.
With an official announcement from Bridgewater is still forthcoming, some can make the argument for him to stay another year, bulk up his already slender 6’3, 196-pound frame and prep for the NFL by playing against quality competition in the ACC against the likes of Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Miami and Clemson.
One of 23 Miami-area players on the Louisville roster, Bridgewater staying would also help Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong’s recruiting efforts in South Florida.
Originally a commit from Miami-area powerhouse, Northwestern, Bridgewater’s dominating performance against “The U” will be sure to help convince future Miami-area kids to head north to the Bluegrass State.
Whether he stays or goes, Bridgewater’s mark on the Louisville football program has already paid dividends for the Cardinals in bringing the once-proud Howard Schnellenberger-led program back to national relevance.
In terms of being the top overall pick in May and considering another year in college, Bridgewater has already completed his degree in sports management and has all the tools at this moment to be a quality signal-caller at the next level, while playing against quality competition in the ACC sounds enticing, it would be wise for Bridgewater to declare while his NFL draft stock at it’s highest, instead of risking injury in coming back.