Five games into the 2013 regular season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have actively started to prepare for 2014 and beyond. By trading starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to the Ravens, David Caldwell made it abundantly clear that this team – for good reason – is going to look very different at the start of the 2014 season.
Thankfully, the highest profile change will come at the most important position in sports – quarterback. A lot of things can change between today and May 2014, but the Jaguars drafting a quarterback in the first round is a certainty. There will be several options for Caldwell and he’ll definitely exhaust his resources scouting all of them. Still, the choice should and will be the man playing in front of the national spotlight tonight against Rutgers.
Oct 5, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) adjusts the play during the fourth quarter against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. Louisville defeated Temple 30-7. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Anyone who doesn’t consider Teddy Bridgewater the best draft-eligible quarterback at this point is kidding themselves. In addition to more than adequate measurables (6’3”, 200 lbs), Teddy Bridgewater has outstanding pocket presence, awareness, and understanding of the game. He may not be Andrew Luck, but he is probably the closest to Luck in talent and production as one can get.
What’s the major knock on him? His level of competition. The American Athletic Conference (AAC) has not provided a formidable opponent for Bridgewater and his Louisville club. His dominant performance in last year’s BCS bowl against Florida aside, Bridgewater has not played many stout defenses in his collegiate career.
Evaluating a player is really about one thing – isolating that player and trying to decipher his potential amidst a sea of uncontrollable variables. Can Teddy Bridgewater maneuver through the pocket and avoid the rush? Hell yes; it doesn’t matter if he only had to do it twice in a game against Temple or 8 times against LSU or Georgia because he’s shown he can do it. Can Teddy make all the throws and squeeze the ball into tight windows. YES; he’s done it every game regardless of the competition.
For all the Jaguar fans who aren’t sold on Teddy yet – embrace it. He’s coming to Duval barring some unforeseen disaster in the next few months.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89