NFL Draft 2015

Sleeper Sunday: QB Brandon Bridge

Teddy Bridgewater started 12 games, going 6-6 for the Minnesota Vikings and proving he has the pocket presence, intelligence, vision and accuracy to be the franchise leader in Norv Turner’s offensive system.

The Vikings have also locked down the backup quarterback spot by signing veteran Shaun Hill after Matt Cassel was traded to the Buffalo Bills. Wasting little time, the Vikings signed Hill on the first day of free agency making it clear he is the right man to help develop Bridgewater.

Third on the quarterback depth chart is 5th year pro Pat Devlin. I like the former University of Delaware standout and think he has a good chance to make the final roster, however, I do believe the Vikings will draft a late round developmental quarterback.

I agree with Ben Goessling that it’s a smart move, primarily because this class of quarterbacks have some intriguing size and vertical arm talent in the back end of the draft. With the likes of Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, Washington State’s Connor Holliday, and Bo Wallace from Mississippi, the Vikings certainly have a selection of tall, strong-armed signal callers that could represent a good “developmental” fit in Turner’s vertical passing attack.

With that said, my Sleeper Sunday pick goes to South Alabama QB Brandon Bridge. At 6’4” 229 pounds, Bridge has the combination of size, athleticism and elite arm strength that have scouts enamored with his long term potential.

Bridge has a very quick release and can drive the ball down field with ease. He can drop deep throws in a bucket with accuracy, and last season he connected on passes of 42 yards or more in 8 of his 11 games. With the benefit of his accurate deep ball, Bridge finished 2nd behind Sean Mannion at the Manning Passing Academy Air-It-Out Challenge in 2014.

His arm strength is pure NFL, but his lack of short/functional accuracy, inconsistent footwork and mechanics are his biggest question marks. His fast ball, when on target, was too often too hot for his receiver to make the catch. With less than a dozen starts under his belt, Bridge is a raw talent that will need plenty of time to develop before he is ready for consistent game action in the NFL.

Bridge earned the opportunity to start as a senior and recorded 51.9 percent completions, 1,648 passing yards, 17 total touchdowns and 6 interceptions. His stats are far from eye-popping, but his release quickness, elite arm strength and outstanding mobility to keep plays alive when the pocket breaks down has scouts salivating over his upside.

Bridge shows maturity and confidence in the pocket by working through progressions and using his eyes to freeze the safety before taking vertical shots down field. Bridge has outstanding mobility and had runs of 65 and 55 yards. Athletic enough to make plays with his feet, he isn’t just a pull-and-go runner, Bridge will buy time and continue to scan the field for open targets.

Bridge is tall and lean with a rocket right arm that can toss ropes to all levels of the field while also making plays on the run much like San Francisco 49er’s QB Colin Kaepernick.

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Carl Knowles

Carl Knowles (Contributor) is a former member of the Professional Bowler Association and an avid lifelong Vikings fan. When he is not bowling you can find him on websites and forum pages sharing his creative insight and enthusiasm for the Minnesota Vikings any chance he gets. Carl was a Phoenix Institute of Technology and Purdue University standout who currently enjoys the challenge of being a graphic director in the printing business. You can follow him on twitter @carlknowles_vt.

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    1. i agree with cc, no QBs for now. if we’re gonna take a year off from drafting QBs, this would be a good one. 5th, 6th, and 7th rounders are real long shots, so i’d like to see us draft positions of need, like LBs and DBs that could contribute on special teams, and if we’re lucky, surprise us and have an impact at some point at their positions, or get OL to develop. if we HAVE to take a QB, use a 7th, it’ll probably be wasted, anyway

  1. This is 100% bust (if you can call a 7th rounder that). This guy will never play a snap in the NFL.

    If we really want a backup look at the Oregon state, Colorado State, East Carolina, or ASU quarterbacks.

  2. skol, you are on the money, big bust factor with Bridge for sure. But I think the Vikings are in position at quarterback to take a chance.

    As far as the other quarterbacks, you are also correct. Shane Carden, Garrett Grayson, and Sean Mannion are all guys that have a higher draft able grade on most boards and probably might be available in the 7th round, but with the exception of Mannion the other guys don’t have the vertical arm strength I think Turner will be looking for.

    Christian Ponder didn’t have great size or the big arm, so I think the Vikings will go in different direction. I think they will look for size and arm strength and be ok developing some “rawness” issues.

    Great comment, I’m certainly guilty of going boom or bust on this pick!
    Most quarters backs “bust” anyways, so why not take a chance on a kid with athletic upside?

    1. For a backup I guess I’d just prefer a safer pick like GB has done with Flynn or NE has with Mallett and Garapollo. Personally I wouldn’t mind taking Petty if he falls to the third. Great value, great backup and if we can pull a Belichek we could end up with a1st or 2nd in 2-3 years.
      If we didn’t have an established starter I might swing for the fences.

      1. Petty is my favorite mid round QB… just don’t think Vikings will go that high for him. But I like the idea of developing a QB who has future trade value! Thumbs up to that.

  3. Of any QBs drafted this year, you want someone to stow on the PS for a year or two. Devlin is prob QB3. Team has so many other needs, drafting a QB in 3rd would be worse than drafting a P in the 5th! Team has other holes and depth issues to fill before thinking about QB. OG Ali Marpet, RB Davis Johnson or WR Tre McBride in 3rd.

  4. All that said, Bridge is my favorite late-round prospect. He has pocket presence and can go through his progressions, and that’s a harder thing to teach. Footwork and accuracy, while not easy, are more easily teachable issues. Teddy would be a great mentor.

  5. I’ve seen a lot of Mannion, living in Oregon, and I don’t think he’ll ever start, but I’ve always thought he could be a solid NFL backup. Wouldn’t mind ending up with him.

    The other guys I’ve never watched play, so no opinion on that one.