With just under a month left before the 2010 NFL Draft things are starting to solidify at the top. The St. Louis Rams own the No. 1 overall pick and are in desperate need of a young quarterback. The Rams loved Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford last year, but the reigning Heisman Trophy winner (at the time) decided to pass on NFL riches and return to school.
Now, a year later and recovering from a major shoulder injury, Bradford and the Rams appear to be in the same place. The Rams still love Bradford and if all goes well at his personal Pro Day, he’ll likely become the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 draft.
The Rams opted to pass on Matt Ryan to take Chris Long in 2008. Then they grabbed Jason Smith instead of Mark Sanchez last year. But this year the Rams’ brass is willing to give No. 1 overall money to a guy who attempted just 69 passes during his final college season. St. Louis either knows something we don’t or they’re crazy.
Bradford’s accuracy and measurables have never been questioned. He’s (roughly) 6’4, 236 pounds, and posted ridiculous numbers during his redshirt freshman and sophomore years. Under “Intangibles” Scouts Inc. has this to say: “Hard worker. Extremely competitive. Team player. Strong overall intangibles. Great football intelligence. Excellent student, as well.” So he’s essentially the perfect quarterback from a mental perspective.
The problems with Bradford come from his “adequate-to-good but not elite” arm strength, the system he played in at Oklahoma and, most importantly, his durability. Bradford can make all of the NFL throws, but because of Oklahoma’s spread passing attack, he was often throwing into huge windows. How he will handle tighter coverage and faster corners is yet to be seen.
Bradford has also been taking his snaps almost exclusively from the shotgun for the past four years. Some have argued that not worrying about the pass rush as much (due to the shotgun) led to his two shoulder injuries. He wasn’t used to getting hit and hadn’t been taught how to land properly when he went down. Both times he injured his shoulder (against BYU and Texas) he landed awkwardly directly on his throwing arm. It showed a lack of anticipation and proper development. Hopefully, for his sake, he’s learned his lesson.
From all the reports we’re hearing, the Rams have obviously had all their questions on Bradford answered up to this point. And if the 22-year-old aces his personal Pro Day, he will be the top pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.