40 time (projected): 4.75
Draft board overall prospect rank: #6
Draft board quarterback rank: #2
Overall rating: 92*
3/29/10: Bradford looked great in his Pro Day, showing the stronger arm that it was predicted he would have when he showed up 15-20 pounds heavier to The Combine. The Rams have not announced him as the #1 pick, saying they are going to wait until his private workout with them on the 19th, but I would be very surprised if he wasn’t the pick and they didn’t have a contract in place with him before draft day on the 22nd.
2/26/10: It is reported that Bradford’s shoulder examination went excellent. I am also hearing that a dozen or possibly more NFL GMs were asked about Clausen and Bradford and all of them liked Bradford more. I still like Clausen more, but that won’t matter, if the Rams like him more. I haven’t made this decision final, but I think I could have Bradford atop my mock next week. He also bulked up from 218 to 236, a very impressive feat and necessary for someone whose arm strength was a question mark.
1/16/10: Quite the opposite of Clausen, he’s a proven winner with very mature decision making, but he doesn’t have Clausen’s arm or experience in a pro style offense. There’s no denying the season he had in 2008, but the fact that when Bradford got hurt this year, his freshman backup was actually able to put up close to similar numbers may show that Bradford is just a system quarterback. Then of course there’s his injured shoulder which is a red flag. He has a better arm than about 90% of the quarterbacks in this draft class, and his decision making is great, but there are some red flags here.
Update (11/2/09): Shoulder injury is a concern, but I still think this is one hell of a football player and I doubt he drops out of the top ten. There are going to be a lot of teams with bad quarterbacks drafting in the top ten this year.
Injury Update (10/26/09): Bradford will have season ending surgery on his right shoulder, but has announced that he will declare in for the 2010 NFL draft, likely to avoid the possibility of a rookie salary cap in 2011. Scouts will have major questions about the durability of his shoulder and this could be a very good draft class for quarterbacks in the eyes of NFL scouts so he’s not a top 10 lock. During his workouts, he needs to show everyone who he is and why they fell in love with him in 2009, otherwise he could fall far.
Injury update (10/2/09): Bradford has been ruled out of this week’s game against Miami with the separated shoulder. He hasn’t played since the first game of the season. NFL scouts have a short memory so every game Bradford misses, the more he falls on scouts’ boards and the more he falls, the more likely he is to return for his senior year in 2010. I’m not taking him off my Big Board just yet because he could still declare and if he does, I still see him as en elite quarterback prospect, but NFL scouts might not. I would advise him to return.
5/18/09: Simply put, Sam Bradford produces. He led Oklahoma into the National Championship game, winning the Heisman trophy in the process, and only losing twice, to Texas and Florida, each of whom finished in the top 5 last season. I’m not a big fan of just looking at stats but his can’t be ignored. He produced a 180.86 quarterback rating and threw only 8 interceptions to an amazing 50 touchdowns last season, as a sophomore. And these weren’t padded numbers. He worked in a pro style offense, that also ran the football, quite a bit actually, rushing for 2779 yards and 45 touchdowns on the year. He led what looked like the greatest show on turf last season, both as a leader and a pure player. His 6-4 height allows him to get an amazing view of the field as he really didn’t make a lot of mistakes, throwing 8 picks all year in 483 attempts. He did work out of the shotgun a lot last season and had the privilege of playing with an amazing offensive line in front of him, so he rarely had to make plays on his feet, but he did rush for 5 touchdowns last season. His footwork is questionable. He doesn’t have the biggest or most accurate arm. It remains to be seen how he’ll deal with pressure. The only team to be able to put any sort of pressure on him last season was Florida, against whom he had his worst game by far, 26-41 2 picks. Though that was not an awful game, it certainly wasn’t amazing and he didn’t win. He’ll face tough pass rushes like Florida’s every week in the pros and he’ll likely go to a team whose offensive line isn’t in the best shape, as he’s likely a top 3 pick. He can answer the concern about his ability to handle pressure this year. Oklahoma lost a good chunk of their offensive line to the pros during the offseason. A loss against Florida has given him a bit of a reputation as a choker, but, again, he can prove everyone wrong this year by winning the National Title, which he certainly has a shot to do. In the end, I’m just nit picking a little bit. Bradford is a hell of a quarterback and while that has been said about a lot of guys who ended up being busts, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to say it. He should avoid the junior curse as, while he is only a junior, he redshirted in his freshman year so he’s been on the Oklahoma team for 4 years. The one thing that worries me is the fact that his footwork isn’t great. Matt Leinart was great except for his footwork coming out and now he’s holding Kurt Warner’s clipboard. That being said, I’d have no problem taking him #1 overall. I like him as a quarterback more than I liked Matt Stafford, more than I liked Matt Ryan, more than I liked Brady Quinn, and definitely more than I liked JaMarcus Russell.
NFL Comparison: Eli Manning
* for a breakdown of what this rating means, click here