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Mayock: Bridgewater's ability to be face of franchise in question

One day, depending on how his career goes, there very well could be a movie made on how Teddy Bridgewater fell so far in the 2014 NFL Draft. After emerging from his final season at Louisville as the top quarterback in the country, Bridgewater has taken hit after hit after hit, to the point where some say he might not go in the first round.

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock is one of many who have moved Bridgewater down in his positional rankings, dropping him from No. 1 before the NFL Scouting Combine to No. 5 two weeks before the draft. While a lot of the fall can be attributed to Bridgewater's subpar pro day, Mayock has talked with NFL personnel and continues to hear that other issues are popping up for teams.

"First and foremost, you want to say the tape is most important," Mayock said on "Path to the Draft." "We talk about that all the time, but at the quarterback position, you have to see the guy throw live. We all know that that pro day was below average for a top-level quarterback. I talked to a lot of teams, and I'm hearing a heck of a lot more second-round grades than first-round grades.

"What I'm hearing is two things. Number one, when we saw him throw live we didn't see arm strength and didn't see accuracy. Number two, when you draft a quarterback in the first round you expect him to be the face of your franchise, you expect him to embrace the moment. I think people had some concerns about whether or not this young man is ready to step up and be the face of a franchise."

Bridgewater has been one of the most debated prospects in the draft, but most of the talk has centered around his ability to throw the football. While debate has intensified regarding his ability to be an NFL quarterback, this is one of the first time we've heard teams question him being the face of a franchise.

For anybody who followed his career in college, that would probably be a point of contention with NFL teams who think that. Though Bridgewater comes off a bit reserved in interviews, his calm demeanor shouldn't overshadow his ability to lead a program. He was one of the most prominent high school quarterbacks in the country, thanks to a three-year stint as a starter at Miami's famed Northwestern High School. He was selected to the Army All-American Bowl as a senior and was one of the most heavily recruited players in the state of Florida before eventually committing to Charlie Strong and Louisville late in the process.

Bridgewater then burst onto the scene as a freshman and helped lead Louisville's resurgence onto the national scene that was highlighted by a BCS bowl win over SEC power Florida during his sophomore season. Though he fell off the radar some in his final year, he was still one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country and considered a near lock to be a first-round pick.

Recent NFL.com mock drafts do have Bridgewater falling to the Cleveland Browns with the 26th overall selection, but talk has heated up before the draft that he will most likely land in the second round. Despite the adversity, Bridgewater is staying positive throughout the process and will be one of 30 prospects in New York City for the draft.

"I want to bang the table for the kid's tape," Mayock said. "However, you have to see him throw live."

With the exception of Johnny Manziel, there has not been a more interesting prospect to follow during the draft this year than Bridgewater and his up-and-down journey.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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