Chris Berman is doing bloviation calisthenics and clearing his considerable throat.
Mel Kiper Jr. has a fistful white crosses, so he won’t sleep until all 184 rounds are completed. And he’s got a hep-lock in place with a Brylcream drip, to make sure his coif doesn’t fade like the draft status of local fave Teddy Bridgewater.
Which raises this query. Can the best player in the history of U of L Cardinal football — Yes, better than Doug
Buffone, Otis Wilson and that other guy, the fellow with a statue, Johnny U — overcome the perils of over-analysis?
During his career, Teddy B’s projected draft status skyrocketed as he eviscerated one foe after another on the gridiron, while playing hurt, often with an offensive line that couldn’t keep him out of constant peril. The aforementioned draft “guru” Kiper Jr. had him atop his board for the longest time. Pick #1.
Then Bridgewater’s career ended, and what became more important than those pinpoint TD passes to DeVante Parker was whether clipped his fingernails, right-hand or left-hand first?
Much has been made of the QBs mediocre performance on Pro Day. Pro scouts have contacted mediums to conjure up the ghost of Sigmund Freud himself, to psychoanalyze why Teddy threw that day without a glove, when he wore one his entire U of L career?
I, frankly, never pay more than a nanosecond of attention to the NFL Draft, football fan that I am, because, well, I dunno, I just don’t.
Until this year, because . . . because Teddy Bridgewater seems like such a decent kid that I really hope the best for him.
So, it is with some sense of satisfaction, I can report the tide may be turning. Operative word: may.
Bridgewater graces the cover of the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine. The article inside is basically a dismissal of the vexing over analysis that prevails in the draft process these days. How scouts used to put more store in how the players actually played on the field. But now, consider more whether the draftees score the requisite lettering on the personality index, and can perform within artificial parameters in front of skeptical eyes of guys holding radar guns?
Last night, I happened upon that Jon Gruden TV show, where he sits in a film room with QBs and analyzes tape. The guest du jour was our man, Teddy Bridgewater, who was as charming, respectful and knowledgeable as always.
When they got down to talking football, it was in a language with which I have no understanding.
Gruden, running a play on the screen, “I call this Commando Go, Z Red, Texas Drag 46. What do you call it?” (A paraphrase.)
Bridgewater: “We called it Bash Rev, 80 Stop Slipstream.”
Then, after Bridgewater has explained, using the chalkboard, his 4 checkoffs, and why he goes from outside in, Gruden smiling, gives the former Cardinal a fist bump and a huge compliment, “You do know your stuff. This is going to be a fun day.”
So, the new question becomes, is Teddy really trending upward? Will he be picked in the first round, where very few of the “experts” now have him going? Will Kiper Jr. be so aghast when Bridgewater’s name is called, that he needs to take a break to reset his perfect hair?
I hope so.
Bridgewater has proven himself legit, a winner and a gamer.
So what that he can throw a rope only 43 yards instead of 45. He makes plays.1 Ask the Florida Gators if Teddy B can git ‘er done? Or, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Of course, I haven’t a clue whether Bridgewater is going to be a successful pro or not?
What I do know is he’s worthy of high consideration, based on his leadership and how he’s performed.
Whether he gets it or not on Draft Day is going to be fascinating to watch.
Whichever team picks him is going to get a very talented QB, who is going to give them all they could hope for. And more.
— Seedy K