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Teddy Bridgewater: Draft criticism adds to chip on my shoulder

When the NFL Network starts to plan programming that looks back at the 2014 NFL Draft, one storyline it will undoubtedly focus on is the rise and fall of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

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Throughout his final year at Louisville, there was talk that Bridgewater could be the first overall pick in the draft with the quarterback-needy Texans looking like a good fit. Then the evaluation process kicked into high gear in January, and he has been picked apart by scouts to the point where he's no longer a lock for the first round.

Some will point to his poor pro day as a major cause for the drop, but Bridgewater has taken shots about everything from his hand size to his ability to lead an NFL team and be the face of a franchise. On Wednesday, he told Yahoo Sports that there was "0.1 percent" of him that was a bit miffed at everything that has gone on.

"More anger," Bridgewater told reporter Eric Adelson when asked what that 0.1 percent felt like. "That 0.1 percent of my mind feeds on what's been said about me. That adds to the chip on my shoulder."

Bridgewater has been hearing doubters ever since he was in high school, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming a successful quarterback wherever he's been. He guided Louisville from an afterthought to a BCS win over Florida, and his final season with the Cardinals capped off a remarkable two-year run for the program.

After doing everything that has been asked of him (and sometimes more) on and off the field, the questions that have surfaced recently about his ability to be the face of an organization have been perhaps the most puzzling for him.

"I was the face of Louisville, as a freshman," he said. "That doesn't even concern me."

That's almost exactly the answer some general manager or coach is looking for. Which one, however, is a bit up in the air heading into Thursday's draft.

Bridgewater remains NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top quarterback prospect in 2014, but recent NFL.com mock drafts see Cleveland's second first-round pick, at No. 26, as the most likely landing spot on the first night.

It takes a lot for Bridgewater, normally reserved, to even make the statement that he is miffed by all the criticism directed his way, but we're sure it will all disappear once one team turns in a card with his name on it at Radio City Music Hall this week.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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