Mississauga, Ontario native Brandon Bridge was nearly a UB Bull after being heavily recruited by former head coach Turner Gill five years ago. Once Gill left to coach at Kansas, Bridge accepted an offer at Alcorn State and started immediately. After his freshman year, much of the Alcorn State staff left and Bridge eventually followed suit, transferring to South Alabama after his sophomore year.
Bridge only started in his senior year at South Alabama, and while his completion percentage of 51.9% is unsettling, there is a consensus that Bridge has many of the natural, unteachable traits NFL teams look for. With a powerful arm and special athleticism to match, talent evaluators dream of "what could be" with the 6-foot-5 signal caller.
"He's got a live arm," said NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock who also labeled the quarterback as "raw." "I'm not sure he knows what he's doing yet," Mayock added.
Bridge struggles most with footwork and accuracy. He has limited collegiate starting experience and never put up numbers that suggest NFL success. While at South Alabama, he primarily worked from a spread formation which has been a cause of concern due to his lack of experience with pro-style drops.
Since the conclusion of his senior year, Bridge has been working to develop and redefine himself with the help of QB gurus Steve Calhoun in California and Dave Morris in Alabama. Bridge explained where his primary focus has been throughout training.
"Footwork, and trying to have a balanced base whenever I throw the ball. Throughout the season I've been falling back, and throwing off my back foot and relying on my arm. I have to stop doing that because obviously that gets me in trouble."
The NFL hopeful told reporters after his pro day that his improved footwork did not go unnoticed.
With the NFL draft less than a month away, Bridge is excited to potentially prove his doubters wrong by becoming the first born and raised Canadian quarterback drafted since 2001.
"I mean, that's just a chip on the shoulder. You want to prove them wrong. The last one to do it was Jesse Palmer, I believe, and I definitely want to be in the same category with him -- hopefully play in the NFL, and put Toronto on the map, showing that we have the talent."
Bridge has been projected by most analysts as a sixth to seventh round selection. He is undoubtedly a project, but his raw ability will make teams excited to have him. Bridge is equally excited. For motivation, he looks up to another former late draft selection who has carved out a hall of fame career, Tom Brady.
"I was a Patriots fan, just due to the fact that Tom Brady overcame," said Bridge. "I love the 'Brady 6' story, how he was always overlooked and always had that chip on his shoulder. I feel like I'm kind of doing that as well. I'm kind of under-looked in this draft, and hopefully I can just go out there and play this game."