Is Bridgewater really *that* skinny? Comparing 39 NFL QBs' college BMIs

Andy Lyons

Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater is never going to have Cam Newton's physique, but he's far from the petite prospect you think he is.

Likely first-round Draft pick Teddy Bridgewater is not very big, for an NFL quarterback. But is he really as spindly and fragile as anonymous NFL scouts would have you believe?

NFL Mock Draft

Let's compare his college BMI (body mass index) of 26.7 (based on his Combine measurement of 6'2 and his pro day weight of 208 pounds, which appears to be his preferred playing size at the moment) to those of other current and soon-to-be NFL quarterbacks, as recorded at the Combine before their Draft days. While BMI is far from the perfect measurement here, as it fails to account for weaknesses in specific players' frames (and it grades most pro athletes as "overweight," though that's another issue), it at least equalizes things enough for a glance.

Quarterback Combine BMI
Tony Romo 29.5
Cam Newton 29.4
Christian Ponder 29.4
Matt Flynn 29.3
Ryan Fitzpatrick 29
Jimmy Garoppolo 29
Matthew Stafford 28.9
Drew Brees 28.9
Chad Henne 28.9
Johnny Manziel 28.9
Kellen Clemens 28.8
Nick Foles 28.8
Logan Thomas 28.7
Sam Bradford 28.7
Ben Roethlisberger 28.6
Robert Griffin III 28.6
Aaron Rodgers 28.6
Andrew Luck 28.5
Terrelle Pryor 28.5
Russell Wilson 28.4
Jay Cutler 28.2
Matt Schaub 28.1
EJ Manuel 28.1
Geno Smith 28
Tom Savage 27.8
Andy Dalton 27.6
Colin Kaepernick 27.6
Blake Bortles 27.5
Carson Palmer 27.5
AJ McCarron 27.5
Derek Carr 27.5
Aaron Murray 27.4
Case Keenum 27.4
Matt McGloin 27.3
Jason Campbell 27.3
Peyton Manning 27.3
Philip Rivers 27.2
David Fales 27.2
Josh McCown 27.1
Matt Cassel 27
Ryan Tannehill 26.9
Brandon Weeden 26.9
Joe Flacco 26.8
Teddy Bridgewater 26.7
Zach Mettenberger 26.6
Matt Ryan 26.6
Alex Smith 26.4
Eli Manning 26.2
Tom Brady 25.7
Mike Glennon 25.3
Average 27.842

So, yep, Bridgewater is a somewhat skinny NFL quarterback. He's spreading Russell Wilson-esque mass across an Aaron Rodgers frame.

The knock against that relatively narrow physique, in the minds of analysts, is that Bridgewater could be more susceptible to injury than sturdier quarterbacks would. That he battled through multiple injuries at Louisville and rarely missed playing time either helps or hurts his case -- no one knows.

But let's also note that quarterbacks gain and lose weight accordingly once reaching the NFL. Several of the skinniest quarterbacks on the above list have gained significant weight during their time as pros (while Josh McCown is vanishing before our eyes):

Years pro Combine BMI 2013 BMI BMI gained
Tom Brady 14 25.7 27.4 1.7
Joe Flacco 6 26.8 28.3 1.5
Matt Cassel 9 27 27.8 0.8
Tony Romo 9 29.5 30.3 0.8
Andrew Luck 2 28.5 29.2 0.7
EJ Manuel 1 28.1 28.8 0.7
Mike Glennon 1 25.3 26 0.7
Brandon Weeden 2 26.9 27.5 0.6
Andy Dalton 3 27.6 28.2 0.6
Carson Palmer 11 27.5 27.9 0.4
Colin Kaepernick 3 27.6 28 0.4
Geno Smith 1 28 28.4 0.4
Matt McGloin 1 27.3 27.7 0.4
Eli Manning 10 26.2 26.5 0.3
Russell Wilson 2 28.4 28.7 0.3
Aaron Rodgers 9 28.6 28.9 0.3
Matt Flynn 6 29.3 29.5 0.2
Matthew Stafford 5 28.9 29 0.1
Ryan Tannehill 2 26.9 27 0.1
Alex Smith 9 26.4 26.4 0
Ben Roethlisberger 9 28.6 28.6 0
Christian Ponder 3 29.4 29.4 0
Jason Campbell 8 27.3 27.3 0
Peyton Manning 16 27.3 27.3 0
Terrelle Pryor 2 28.5 28.4 -0.1
Chad Henne 6 28.9 28.7 -0.2
Philip Rivers 10 27.2 27 -0.2
Matt Ryan 6 26.6 26.4 -0.2
Matt Schaub 10 28.1 27.9 -0.2
Cam Newton 3 29.4 29 -0.4
Case Keenum 1 27.4 27 -0.4
Ryan Fitzpatrick 8 29 28.6 -0.4
Kellen Clemens 8 28.8 28.4 -0.4
Drew Brees 13 28.9 28.3 -0.6
Jay Cutler 8 28.2 27.5 -0.7
Nick Foles 2 28.8 28.1 -0.7
Robert Griffin III 2 28.6 27.9 -0.7
Josh McCown 11 27.1 25.9 -1.2
Sam Bradford 4 28.7 27.3 -1.4
Averages 27.87948718 27.96153846 0.08205128205

So let's say Bridgewater gains a little weight during his first couple years in the league, as is normal for skinny quarterbacks.

For the 19 quarterbacks here who added pounds, the average BMI increase is .58. On Bridgewater's 6'2 frame, that would mean gaining about four pounds, preferably of muscle. For him to gain comparable to the three biggest risers in his starting BMI class (Flacco, Eli Manning, and Weeden), he'd need to play around 214 pounds. Which he already hit at the Combine. If he were to gain a mere 10 pounds and reach 218, he'd have an above-average NFL BMI of 28.

A prospect's frame and mass are legitimate concerns for talent evaluators. And if his knees really are too frail to handle the NFL, then alright. But it's hard to say Bridgewater's overall size rules him out of being one of the NFL Draft's first picks, both since he's not that tiny and since he has room to grow.

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