The extensive focus by multiple teams on Jameis Winston during Florida State's Pro Day Tuesday prompted ESPN's Ben Goessling to revisit Teddy Bridgewater's experience at Louisville's Pro Day.
A performance that was less than expected is said to have caused Bridgewater's stock to drop to where the Vikings could trade back into the last pick of the first round and select the quarterback after an extensive evaluation process that reviewed multiple factors.
Bridgewater's efforts in 13 pro games (rookie franchise records of 12 starts, six wins, a completion percentage of 64.4 and a passer rating of 85.2) instilled the belief by Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer that he will be a quarterback that Minnesota can build around for a long time. Zimmer was asked about the importance of pro days last week by national media covering the NFL Annual Meeting in Arizona and said Bridgewater's "really didn't matter."
"And that's the thing about scouting — you think you've got the right guy and all this stuff, and you never really know," Zimmer told reporters. "We didn't really know about Teddy or anybody else in the draft. I shouldn't say that like that, but you know what I mean; there's so many hits and misses in different areas. I just like the player. He might miss three throws a practice. His accuracy — in games, but especially in practices — is like, 'Oh my goodness.' "
Weather and accuracy in cold weather is often a topic around the league and will be for one more season while the Vikings play home games outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium until moving to their iconic and enclosed stadium in 2016.
Goessling points out that Bridgewater, a Miami native, fared well in cold-weather games last fall:
Bridgewater connected on 68.3 percent of his passes after the Vikings' bye week, playing in five cold-weather games in that time and setting aside one of the big questions about him coming out of college. Bridgewater's 9 1/4-inch hands were scrutinized at length before the draft, but he appeared able to place the ball in cold weather. And after this season, when the Vikings move back indoors, Zimmer believes Bridgewater will be even deadlier.
"I'm excited to get him into the [new indoor stadium] — we'll have eight games [there] and [one in] Detroit [every year]," Zimmer said. "I was curious about him at the end of the year, playing in some of these cold-weather games. ... Luckily, I had (Offensive Coordinator) Norv (Turner) to help with some of this stuff, because he was on Teddy's bandwagon for quite a while."
Zimmer's excitement about Bridgewater playing indoors would appear to be well-founded. According to ESPN Stats and Information, quarterbacks have completed 64.1 percent of their passes indoors since 2007, averaging 7.37 yards per attempt and a 60.0 QBR. All three of those metrics are up from the numbers quarterbacks have posted outdoors (a 61.6 completion percentage, 7.18 yards-per-attempt average and 56.6 QBR).
Tuesday's Pro Days: Connecticut, Florida State, Notre Dame, Stephen F. Austin and Yale