Chargers Chat with QB Prospect at NFL Combine

The Chargers plan to give Philip Rivers a lucrative contract extension this offseason, but with the "face of the franchise" now on the wrong side of 30, GM Tom Telesco is keeping his eyes open for a possible heir apparent. The search continues at the NFL Combine, where we have learned San Diego scouts met with one of the more intriguing late-round QB prospects in attendance.

Quarterback Brandon Bridge might not have gotten a lot of love from major colleges and the media, but his arm is starting to garner the interest of analysts who weren’t always privy to the Canadian product.

With the time he spent at Alcorn State, he picked up a modified nickname that was originally put on Steve “Air” McNair. Alcorn State fans modified it to fit Bridge, calling him “Canadian Air,” a nickname he embraced.

But to date, no Canadian quarterback has been able to garner a regular starting job in the NFL, despite the efforts of Jesse Palmer and others before him. Is that a trend that will continue?

“That’s just a chip on your shoulder. You want to prove them wrong,” Bridge said. “The last one to do it was Jesse Palmer, I believe. … I definitely hope to play in the NFL and put Toronto on the map.”

The New York Jets already showed interest. He has also had informal interviews with the San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and has a formal meeting with Miami Dolphins on Friday.

Today’s throwing session will be especially important for him, as he tries to prove to scouts that he is more than just a big arm.

“My footwork. A lot of talk has been how I have lazy footwork and I kind of rely on too much of my arm strength so hopefully on Saturday I can show them I’ve been working on that and it’s polished up,” he said.

Bridge embraces the criticisms and hopes to eventually have a Tom Brady-type story. Bridges grew up a Patriots fan because he loved Brady’s journey, “how he was always overlooked and had that chip on his shoulder. I’m kind of doing that as well. I’m kind of under-looked in this draft and hopefully I can go out there and show them.”

Asked if he has the biggest arm in the draft, he smiled and said he would leave that up to others to decide.

“I take a whole lot of pride in it. It’s definitely a great trait of mine, but it can be a fault as well to think that you can fit every ball in that window and it kind of backfires sometimes,” he said. draft analyst Dave-Te’ Thomas agreed.

“Bridge tries to make something out of nothing, at times,” Thomas wrote. “He shows good poise under pressure, but must do a better job reading the receiver and the route’s progression. He also must develop a better feel for where his secondary targets are, as he looks a bit mechanical locking onto his primary one for so long. He does a nice job of getting rid of the ball and sensing backside pressure, but there are times he will gamble that he can still make the play, holding onto the ball too long, which results in the costly sack, or results in the interception (had 27 of 762 passes picked off).

“His relative inexperience as a starter will see him rely more on his arm strength to fire the ball into tight areas. He will also challenge the deep secondary often, rather than throw the ball away when his targets are covered.”

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said Bridge has a “whip” but looks like “he has no clue what he’s doing.”

“I’ll take the criticism and naturally try to turn it into a positive,” Bridge said. “I’ve been working on all my weaknesses that have been said about me throughout this whole process.”

He has worked with different quarterback coaches this offseason and is working out with Kansas State receiver Tyler Lockett and Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams during private training sessions.

“Accuracy will be the thing. If you have great feet, a great base, all the power in your throws is generated through your legs,” he said. “Throughout the season I was probably doing all arm and that’s why I haven’t really worked on my legs and used my transition, my whole body to throw an accurate football.”

Should the Chargrs target Bridge on draft day? Discuss inside the message boards.

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