The NFL draft combine has significance in determining a player’s value, but the most important portions of the combine happen away from the cameras. The 40-yard dash, bench press, and drills aren’t completely irrelevant, but they aren’t going to really sway general managers and coaches. Nowadays, it’s more shocking if a quarterback decides to throw than if he opts out and waits for his pro-day. We already knew Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr were going to wait until their pro-day to throw, but Teddy Bridgewater waited until Sunday to announce he wasn’t even going to run the 40, let alone throw in the drills.
Should this matter? Absolutely not. It would have been nice to see Bridgewater throw just to satisfy my own curiosity, but he really has nothing to gain. Not running the 40 is kind of a curious decision, but Bridgewater isn’t really viewed as a burner anyway so I doubt the result would have mattered too much.
The much more important part of the combine are the meetings, and it seems like Bridgewater had a good showing with the Jaguars brass.
One of the questions about Bridgewater is his “it” factor and whether or not he can be an effective leader in the NFL. These meetings are crucial for head coach Gus Bradley. These meetings are how he determines whether or not he can work with a guy and if he thinks he will fit into the idea he has for a team leader. Bridgewater is a confident, well-spoken guy, and I think he probably came out of all his meetings looking good. He certainly had a good showing with the media.
Bridgewater still has his pro day and private workouts, but this week was his first step in impressing the teams drafting in the top 5. I’ve been pretty clear about my admiration for Bridgewater, and I hope Caldwell and Bradley see enough in their meetings to take him with the 3rd overall pick.
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