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Why the Buccaneers passed on Teddy Bridgewater

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David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could have selected a quarterback in the 2014 NFL draft. Someone who they believed could have saved the franchise, or played a role in doing so at least. No, not Johnny Manziel. I'm talking about Teddy Bridgewater, the guy who most draftniks saw as the best passer in the draft but who most NFL teams didn't seem to like all that much.

And now we know that the Bucs didn't like him. Not that we needed much confirmation, given that they didn't draft him and all.

Well, that answers that. Though that's not unexpected: the Bucs would certainly have selected Bridgewater at the top of the first round had they loved him. They didn't, so they passed. Instead, the Vikings picked him up with the very last pick of the first round.

Bridgewater did well last year, for a rookie, completing an impressive 64.4% of his passes at 7.3 yards per attempt, with 14 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and 39 sacks -- and he notched a win against the Bucs. Those are some really impressive numbers for a rookie, although his limitations were also on display. Most notably, his mediocre arm strength which limited the Vikings' passing game at times. Still, he also made a few throws like this:

Needless to say, Bridgewater looks pretty good for the Vikings.

Everything looks like it'll work out for the Bucs in the end, though. Instead of Bridgewater, they now have star-in-the-making Mike Evans. And to solve their quarterback problem they now have the first overall pick to take Jameis Winston with. If that works out, no one will be talking about the quarterback the Bucs could have selected last year. But if it doesn't -- and from a purely historical perspective on number one quarterbacks, there's a 50% chance it doesn't -- Bridgewater could very well turn into the one that got away -- the quarterback the Bucs could have had. Just like Aaron Rodgers. But for now, there's only reason to be optimistic.