Think about recently failed quarterback prospects and, chances are, you’ll come across a guy who had a good pro day and struggled to stay accurate under pressure. Russell is just one classic example. Blaine Gabbert had a wonderful pro day.3 Jake Locker was40-for-42 versus air during his highly regarded performance. Samesies for Brandon Weeden andMark Sanchez. Even Alex Smith wowed coaches with his transition from a spread offense during his pro day, a performance that very well might have pushed him ahead of Aaron Rodgers on the 49ers’ draft board. In each case, these quarterbacks struggled to handle professional pass rushes, leading to inaccuracy, higher sack rates, larger risks of injuries, and (considering Smith’s draft status) disappointing professional careers.
Now, guess what Bridgewater’s best skill is? Football Outsiders’ Matt Waldman noted, to nobody’s surprise, that it’s his preternatural ability to remain composed in the pocket and make accurate throws against pressure! He’s not a freak athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but Bridgewater’s feel for the position allows him to efficiently use his feet to elude pressure long enough to create a throwing lane and make an accurate pass. Bortles hasn’t consistently exhibited that skill. He might be the sort of athlete who can get himself out of trouble. Bridgewater’s the kind of quarterback who can avoid getting himself into trouble."