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2014 NFL Draft: A Tumbling Teddy and the NFL's Groupthink

The Titans can't fall victim to a scout's love of measurables.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is repeatedly called a copycat league. Whatever works will be the most popular. As a result there can end up being a lot of groupthink.

This mentality is often seen with the NFL Draft's prospects. Certain players are loved and others are despised because they just don't fit what is desired.

The latest and greatest example of this is Teddy Bridgewater. Nobody can seem to pinpoint where he's expected to go - possibly anywhere from first overall to out of the first round. Now its important to note that that most teams have likely kept him at a similar place in their draft board since the season ended and that the media is slowly catching up. There is plenty of groupthink with them as well.

The best example? Bridgewater's hand size. Read any scouting report of the quarterback lately and you will see "small hands" cited in the negative column.

Dig a little deeper though and you'll see that this criticism is just a lazy phrase mentioned repeatedly. Bridgewater's hands are 9 1/4 inches. Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith have a hand size of 9 3/8 inches. That's right, Bridgewater's hands are one-eighth of an inch smaller than a Super Bowl-winning QB.


For those of us who are fans of the metric system, that's 0.3175 centimetres.

Smith and Rodgers will forever be linked from their draft year and they are easy examples here. Clearly hand size didn't hamper Smith's draft prospects as he went first overall and is rebuilding his career in Kansas City. Rodgers seems to have done pretty well for himself too, as he's been busy being one of the best quarterbacks in the league the past few seasons.

The poster boy for the NFL's love of measurables in this draft is Blake Bortles. Hand size: Nine and 3/8th inches.

How can such an extremely small number difference weigh so heavily on NFL decisionmakers?


Nobody was questioning Bridgewater's hand size last year when there were already talks of him being the first overall pick, a year in advance. Similarly it wasn't even mentioned too much this year until the NFL's silly season started taking over. These things snowball to become what seems like a large issue when really, it likely won't impact how his career plays out. There are things to dislike about Bridgewater. Actual, valid criticisms. Hand size isn't one of them.

This is why its so important for the Titans to avoid falling into these traps. They need to evaluate what they've seen on his game tape and from his workouts. Place emphasis on the important things. If teams are going to downgrade prospects because of preconceived requirements for success then the Titans should aim to benefit from it. Bridgewater may be available at the 11th spot and the Titans will obviously know what they want by that time. This can be extrapolated to other situations too though. There is a chance a different player falls to 11, or perhaps a late-first prospect falls out of the round and is there at 42.

The Titans can't be afraid to think differently.