INDIANAPOLIS —- It has been 11 months since Teddy Bridgewater’s infamous pro day and about eight since the Vikings disregarded the poor performance that they had seen that day and traded up to select Bridgewater late in the first round of the draft.
Once he got on the field in 2014, Bridgewater, of course, looked more like the quarterback the Vikings saw on tape after a decorated college career at Louisville than the guy without gloves who was spraying errant passes all over the practice field in that workout. Bridgewater went 6-6 as a starter and was one of the most accurate rookie passers in NFL history.
Just a little bit ago, at his official combine press conference, General Manager Rick Spielman was given an opportunity by a non-Minnesota reporter to take a victory lap of sorts. He was asked to describe what impressed him about Bridgewater, and Spielman, a few days before this year’s crop of draft-eligible quarterbacks will chuck passes here, made sure he brought up that pro day.
“I’m thankful the media did him a disservice, in my opinion, last year by judging him in on his pro day,” he said.
After his jab at the reporters on hand, Spielman went on to explain the process of anchoring players on his board based on their on-field performance and how the Vikings try to resist the urge to move players up or down based on how they fare at the combine or at their pro days.
“One thing that we try to do, our process, is that we had our draft meetings before we came down and we put all the player on a board and graded him purely off what seen off tape or what we seen live as football players,” he said. “All this other stuff that will accumulate here and over the next couple months will start to add into it, but it’s not going to be a situation where a guy having a sixth-round [grade] goes all the way up to the first round because he comes out here and he runs fast in his shorts. Or it’s not going to be a situation where a guy has a bad pro day where all the sudden we’re going to forget the 47 games that he was productive on the tape if you’ve watched him play the last three or four or years.
“You’ve just got to be careful. It’s part of the process. All the information to gather that you use to make your decisions, but it has to come back to what he is, not only as a character but what he is as football player.”