In what could be Teddy Bridewater’s final college game, Louisville takes on the Hurricanes in Orlando, Florida. Louisville comes off a slightly disappointing season but Charlie Strong usually gets the best from his players. The Hurricanes on the other hand have looked liked proto-typical underachievers at times this season. Jon Dove offers his predictions on the top next level players in this contest.
Teddy Bridgewater/QB/Louisville: Despite some varying opinions, Teddy Bridgewater remains the top quarterback in my rankings. He brings the best combination of upside and NFL-readiness in this class. His combination of a strong throwing arm, solid athleticism and poise give him a chance to succeed early in his NFL career. It’s important to realize that Bridgewater isn’t the same type of prospect as Andrew Luck, but he also shouldn’t be compared to someone like Robert Griffin III. Bridgewater does most of his damage from the pocket where he shows the ability to make quick and accurate decisions. Quarterback needy teams will need to decide at what point in the first round it makes sense to pull the trigger on Bridgewater. It’s a stretch to say he’s a slam dunk franchise quarterback, but he flashes enough talent to say he can reach those heights. Early 1st Round
Denzel Perryman/LB/Miami: Denzel Perryman is a four-down linebacker in that he can remain on the field on passing downs and also contribute on special teams. He’s one of the more reliable defensive players available in this draft. Perryman routinely trusts his reads and uses his athleticism to make plays sideline to sideline. He does a great job filling the hole by not only making solid tackles but also delivering big hits. His commitment to keeping his pads low and using his hands helps him take on blockers. Perryman’s closing burst comes in handy when he needs to laterally pursue the football towards the sideline. He projects as a long-term starter at the next level with the potential to reach a Pro-Bowl level. Early 2nd Round
Marcus Smith/DE-OLB/Louisville: It’s going to be interesting to see where Marcus Smith lands in the draft. This is an explosive athlete who has proven he can consistently generate pressure on the quarterback. The issue is that he’s undersized for the defensive end position. Luckily, Louisville has given Smith opportunities to drop in coverage and show evaluators that he has the athleticism to transition to outside linebacker. I’d have no problem pulling the trigger on a dynamic pass rusher like Smith in the second round. He has the potential to consistently reach the double-digit sack mark in the NFL. 2nd Round
Calvin Pryor/S/Louisville: Calvin Pryor has a tendency to jump off the screen when watching Louisville’s defense. He’s a tremendous athlete who uses his quick-twitch ability to close on the ball. His tendency is to attack the line of scrimmage and support the run. However, he has shown improved feel in coverage and ability to locate the ball. Pryor’s aggressiveness is typically an asset, but there are times when he’s too quick to attack the line which leads to receivers getting behind him. He also needs to change to way he tackles as he tends to launch at the ball carrier. This will lead to a lot of penalties and fines at the next level. Late 2nd to Early 3rd
DeVante Parker/WR/Louisville: DeVante Parker is a long and quick wide receiver prospect. He does a good job stretching the field and making plays in traffic. His ability to locate the ball and use his body helps him attack the football at its highest point. Parker led Louisville in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns this past season. However, his numbers aren’t what you would expect from a team playing middling competition and featuring an elite quarterback. Parker might actually benefit by returning for another season. Late 4th Round
Seantrel Henderson/T/Miami: Seantrel Henderson is oozing with natural talent, but just hasn’t been able to put it all together. His inconsistent play and problems following team rules has dropped him from a potential first round pick to a middle or late-round prospect. Henderson’s size and ability to generate a push in the running game are his greatest attributes. He shows that nasty streak evaluators look for when searching for a power player. His ability to protect the passer is where the major issues arise. While Henderson is a solid overall athlete, he struggles changing direction and isn’t committed to playing with balance. There’s plenty of upside here but Henderson hasn’t proved that he’s willing to work to fulfill that potential. Late 4th to Early 5th Round
Stephen Morris/QB/ Miami: Stephen Morris is a talented player but has never taken a major step forward in his development. He remains a see-it throw-it quarterback in that he routinely waits for his target to come out of his break. This won’t work at the next level because NFL defensive backs do a great job reading routes. Morris needs to improve his anticipate and ability to make quick decisions before he has a chance to see the field in the NFL. The concern is that he has received plenty of playing time that this might be something he never develops. Until he shows that he has more than just an average feel for the quarterback position he’ll remain on the lower part of my rankings. Late 5th to 6th Round