The dual-threat QB was a three-year starter for Miami (Fla.) powerhouse Northwestern High School. Named Big East Freshman of the Year in 2011 after completing 191-of-296 passes for 2,195 yards (64.5 percent) with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 13 games (started final 10 games). Became the first true freshman to start at QB for Louisville since Stu Stram in 1976. Threw for 287-419-3,718-27-8 (68.5) while playing in all 13 games (12 starts) in '12 to earn conference's Offensive Player of the Year Award. Only non-start was due to a fractured left wrist and a sprained right ankle suffered against UConn in which he returned to the field in a triple-overtime loss and nearly rallied a victory, as he did vs. Rutgers the following week to claim a BCS bid. Produced another stellar campaign in '13, tossing 303-427-3,970-31-4 (71.0) in 13 starts. Earned his sports administration degree in three years and graduated in December. Scored six career rushing touchdowns and had a 27-8 record in 35 games as a starter in offensive coordinator Shawn Watson's college-tailored, pro-style, West Coast offense.
Terrific competitor. Extremely driven to succeed. Well-prepared and confident in his approach. Operated a progression-read offense where he is asked to scan the whole field and help steer protections. Footwork is very clean and in rhythm -- throws on balance with sound mechanics, a fluid delivery and smooth stroke. Very good timing, touch and anticipation throws receivers open. Is patient working through his reads and will step up in the pocket. Sells play-action hard and takes what the defense gives him. Poised in the face of the blitz and often anticipates it coming. Is very mentally and physically tough played through a broken left wrist with a sprained ankle in what was essentially the 2012 Big East championship game, coming off the bench to captain the Cardinals to a come-from-behind victory. Is a student of the game with a very good understanding of football concepts. Plays like a coach on the field, knows the responsibilities of everyone on the field and can get teammates lined up correctly. Makes few mental errors. Consistently moves the chains and comes through in the clutch. Is given a lot of autonomy to make pre-snap reads and adjustments at the line of scrimmage and understands how to exploit defenses. Meticulous in his preparation. Identifies with the game and really works at his craft. Smart, determined and focused. Showed gradual improvement every season. Is only 21 years old -- very mature for his age and can see the big picture. Football is extremely important to him. Highly respected, unselfish team leader. Rises to the occasion on big stages.
Has a very lean, narrow frame with limited bulk and small hands. Does not drive the ball with velocity down the field and can be affected by cold and windy conditions (see Cincinnati). Can improve placement and touch on the deep ball. Adequate athlete. Is not an overly elusive scrambler -- struggles escaping the rush and buying a second chance with his feet vs. pressure. Passing stats are padded from operating a passing game that relies heavily on short, lateral tosses. Long-term durability could become a concern without continued strength and weight gains.
A calculated, football-smart, precision-matchup rhythm passer, Bridgewater would be best suited entering a warm-weather or dome environment such as those most common in the South divisions. Would stand to benefit heavily from operating a short, dink-and-dunk rhythm passing game. Compensates for a lack of elite arm talent and prototype measureables with the intangibles and football intelligence that could elevate the other 52 players around him. Instinctive passer with the laser-beam determination to become a Pro Bowl-caliber passer in the right system.