Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater met with the Raiders on Friday night. He said the session went extremely well. Owner Mark Davis, general manager Reggie McKenzie, head coach Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Olson were in attendance, trying to determine if Bridgewater is the franchise quarterback the Raiders have been looking for.
"It was a great meeting. There was a lot of energy, a lot of smiles, laughs,” Bridgewater said Saturday during a press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I was just able to be myself. That’s been my biggest thing, just proving to coaches who I am as a person. They’ve watched the film. They’ve studied who I am as a player. But it’s all about getting in those rooms and establishing a relationship as a person, and I feel that I’ve been doing well doing that.”
Bridgewater is trying to prove himself better than Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel, the other top passing prospects to teams looking for quarterbacks in this draft. The Raiders are certainly in that group.
Head coach Dennis Allen told CSNBayArea.com earlier this week that, if evaluations for remaining draftees are equal, the Raiders would look to draft a quarterback No. 5 overall.
Many consider Teddy Bridgewater the most NFL-ready quarterback available, and mock drafts have him going early. Some have the Raiders selecting Bridgewater No. 5 overall.
Bridgewater is accurate, savvy and smart. Frailty is the biggest knock against him, though he weighed in Saturday nine pounds heavier at 215. He said he hopes to reach a playing weight between 220-225, which could help alleviate injury concerns.
If Bridgewater quells question marks and sells himself as well with other teams as he did with the Raiders, he may not be available when they select at No. 5 overall.
Bridgewater made an excellent impression during his press conference, deflecting concerns about his size with ease. He touted his accuracy -- he had a 71-percent completion rate in 2013, with 31 touchdowns and just four interceptions -- and his ability to run a pro-style offense. Bridgewater even tugged at some heartstrings, crediting his mother for inspiration during tough times.
“When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was at the age of 14 and I was ready to give up sports just to take care of her because I felt that that was my purpose in life,” Bridgewater said. “God had called on me to stop doing what I’m doing to take care of her, but she told me that, ‘God has blessed you with your talents. Use them to the best of your ability.’ That’s why, each day I step on that field, nothing bothers me. I know that what she went through, nothing compares to that.”
Bridgewater seems to exemplify the quarterback the Raiders are looking for. Whether he’s available at No. 5 or ranks high on Oakland's draft board will be determined in time.
Bridgewater considers himself worthy of such esteem.
“I feel that I’m the best quarterback in this draft,” Bridgewater said. “I’m not just going to sit up here and say it. There are obviously actions that have to back up these words, and I’m just confident in myself and my capability to be able to play this position. I’m just going to go out there and prove that I’m the best guy.”