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  1. #1
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    Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    Via USA Today:

    NORMAN, Okla. Former University of Oklahoma star quarterback Sam Bradford sat inside the Washington Redskins training room-turned-waiting room.

    The presumptive No. 1 pick of the NFL draft was killing time inside the club's Ashburn, Va., headquarters before an interview last week with coach Mike Shanahan and his assistants.

    The 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, who missed most of his junior season because of shoulder surgery, was dressed in slacks and a shirt but might as well have been invisible.

    "One of the Redskins players walks in the trainer's room, looks at me and goes, 'What are you selling today?' " Bradford says with a smile over lunch at Louie's, a Sooners hangout.

    "He thought I was a medical supplies sales rep. He looks at the trainers and says, 'What's he trying to sell us?' "

    It turns out Bradford, 6-4, 236 pounds, is selling the potential for hope to the St. Louis Rams, winners of six games since 2007.

    The owners of the first overall pick in the three-day draft that begins next Thursday night are in desperate need of a productive, pinpoint passer (88 touchdowns, 16 interceptions at Oklahoma) to spark their 28th-ranked passing offense and energize their fans.

    Bradford might be Mr. Irrelevant at Redskins Park now that quarterback Donovan McNabb has arrived in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. The deal probably means Washington, which picks fourth, isn't interested in Bradford.

    CBS analyst and former NFL quarterback Phil Simms views Bradford as a franchise-caliber quarterback in the vein of three signal-callers who led their teams to the playoffs as rookies: Matt Ryan, the 2008 third pick by the Atlanta Falcons; Joe Flacco (2008, 18th) of the Baltimore Ravens; and Mark Sanchez (2009, fifth) of the New York Jets.

    "Bradford has everything it takes to be successful in the NFL," Simms says. "He makes it look easy. He's about as safe a pick as you can have. He is absolutely worthy of the first pick."

    Injury spoiled return to Oklahoma

    Coming off his 50-touchdown, Heisman Trophy-winning season and a Bowl Championship Series title-game loss to Florida, Bradford declined the chance to be the No. 1 pick in last April's draft for one last shot at winning that championship.

    After getting hurt in the opener, abandoning his teammates nagged at Bradford as much as his separated shoulder. So he risked an estimated $42 million-$45 million money guaranteed a No. 1 pick as a signing bonus to return.

    "I've had NFL teams ask, 'Why did you come back?' " Bradford says. "I dreamed of playing for Oklahoma my whole life, and I wasn't going to let an injury take that away. I couldn't have lived with myself if I did."

    His season ended Oct. 17 when he was slammed to the Cotton Bowl turf by a blitzing Texas cornerback. Bradford aggravated his separated throwing shoulder six weeks after incurring a Grade 3 sprained AC joint in Oklahoma's opener against Brigham Young. The aggravation required AC joint reconstructive surgery performed by James Andrews that month.

    "To have my career at Oklahoma end like that was the hardest thing I've ever had to go through," Bradford says.

    Andrews vouched for Bradford's repaired throwing shoulder to Rams doctors, convincing general manager Billy Devaney that a third-party medical opinion was no longer necessary.

    Andrews compares Bradford's work ethic and focus to that of Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees, whose shoulder he repaired in 2006.

    Nothing is certain when drafting a first-round quarterback. But evaluators insist how quarterbacks get up when slammed down is as important as how many wins they have.

    "Sam was down at the Andrews Institute in Pensacola, Fla., rehabbing his shoulder 12 hours a day since Christmas," Andrews says. "His devotion to rehab reminded me a lot of Brees. He's a man of few words but great focus. He's developed a young athlete's upper body into a man's."

    Bradford was nicknamed "Humble Pie" for his diligent work ethic in adding 18 pounds of muscle to his upper body at Athletes Performance Institute in Pensacola. "Drew Brees said, 'You have to work your ass off in rehab,' " Bradford says. "I said, 'That's cool. I don't have anything else to do.' Hearing it from Drew was reassuring. My arm is stronger, especially on deep balls."

    Sooners sports information director Ken Mossman barely recognized the buffed Bradford before his lights-out personal pro day March 29. Gil Brandt, the former Dallas Cowboys personnel guru and current NFL.com senior analyst, called Bradford's 62-for-63 passing clinic the most impressive since Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman's workout 21 years ago.

    "There were a lot of questions," Bradford says. "When it comes down to just one time, one day throwing, there's more pressure.

    "It was such a relief."

    Afterward, Sooners defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Bradford's friend since their Oklahoma City Little League days, hugged the buddy he calls "King Sam."

    "I'd definitely be happy for Sam if he's the first overall pick, especially after all he's been through this past year," says McCoy, also in the mix for top pick. "A great leader, great teammate."

    By releasing Marc Bulger, the starting quarterback since 2002, one week after Bradford's pro day, Devaney and Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo indicated they are leaning toward selecting Bradford, who answered the biggest question about his surgically repaired shoulder.

    "He threw the hell out of the football," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock says. "As long as he passes all the medicals, I don't think there's any doubt who the first pick is."

    But Mayock also offers a couple points of caution.

    "There are two things he'll have to get a lot better at. One is pocket awareness, typical of any kid coming out of a college spread offense," Mayock says. "And second, he's just going to have to deal a little bit better with getting beat up especially if he starts with a team that was 1-15 last year."

    In Norman, staying normal

    Bradford proved himself a sharp decision-maker before the 22-year-old headed for an April 8 GQ magazine shoot at the Norman house he owns and shares with two OU buddies.

    "The GQ people were setting up the lighting earlier and they saw we have a hot tub in our backyard," Bradford says. "The photographer said, 'Hey, man, we can get some girls over here and we can shoot that.' "

    Bradford, recalling the incident in which Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart caught heat for being photographed with four bikini-clad women in a hot tub, responded, "Yeah, don't think that's going to happen."

    Bradford's father, Kent, a Sooners guard during the 1970s, laughed about his son's GQ response. It's hardly surprising for an honor student with a 3.89 grade-point average who completed a four-year finance program in 3 years.

    "He's a very unassuming kid," Kent says. "Sam became a big name. But he stayed normal."

    But don't let that fool you. People at Oklahoma say Bradford is a fierce competitor.

    "He has an intense fire that burns within," Sooners quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel says. "You see that in his eyes after we score or hit a big play."

    Bradford wrote Heupel a thank-you letter after last season.

    "My freshman year, I was about ready to just pack it in," Bradford says. "I thanked Josh, because he had confidence in me and worked with me every day after practice. Him taking the time to do that really gave me the confidence I needed."

    Bradford will throw for the Rams on Friday in Norman. He says the club has begun potential contract talks with his representatives, Tom Condon and Ben Dogra, as well as with McCoy and Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh.

    "Yeah, I'd be happy to be a Ram," Bradford says. "I'll be excited whoever takes me."

    Heupel thinks that no matter where Bradford ends up, he'll be able to handle the situation.

    "In terms of pressure and media scrutiny, Oklahoma is the NFL team of this market," Heupel says. "Sam's shown he can handle being the face of a franchise.

    "He's the most competitive kid I've ever been around the real deal."


  2. #2
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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    Nice article. Saying the Rams are hopeless is silly and due to a lack of knowledge. Calling the Ram's fans hopeless is very accurate based on what i've seen around here. The Ram's players are the only ones who seem not to realize how bad their record was. I think that's a testament to Spags, and how guys just love to play for the man.

    Sam will no doubt give this rebuilding effort a face, it will be up to him and the guys surrounding him if he will become succesful.

  3. #3
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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    "Bradford has everything it takes to be successful in the NFL," Simms says. "He makes it look easy. He's about as safe a pick as you can have. He is absolutely worthy of the first pick."
    I have no idea how anyone can seriously say a spread offense QB with durability concerns is "as safe a pick as you can have." Bradford has the potential to be very good, but there is some definite risk about him as well.

  4. #4
    NJ Ramsfan1 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    There isn't a QB out there with a good upside who doesn't also have a question mark or two. People talk about this stuff as if it's an exact science and there's some surefire way to judge whether a guy will or will not be successful. Yes, teams must perform their due diligence with each potential draftee: pocket presence, arm strength, toughness, mental make up, scheme recognition, wonderlich, the list goes on. But there's also luck involved too. You can't forsee the future; you can only hope what you've seen in a prospect is indicative of what he'll give you during the season for years to come.

    From all I've read and heard, Bradford is as sure a bet as anyone. He appears to have the necessary skill set as well as the intangibles to be successful. And if Dr. Andrews- one of the most renowned orthopedic guys on Earth- says he checks out medically, you take him at face value.

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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I have no idea how anyone can seriously say a spread offense QB with durability concerns is "as safe a pick as you can have." Bradford has the potential to be very good, but there is some definite risk about him as well.
    I agree completely. That alot of money on the table to risk it on a QB with a checkered history stay healthy. Rams must weigh all their options, Suh should still be apart of the Rams main thought process, leading to next weeks draft. Remember how highly touted Alex Smith was before the fortyniners selected him as their #1 pick. If the Rams do go with Bradford, I can only pray he's the answer, because
    no pun intended, "Heaven can't wait!"
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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    People talk about this stuff as if it's an exact science and there's some surefire way to judge whether a guy will or will not be successful.
    You're right; there absolutely isn't a surefire way to judge whether a guy will or won't be successful. That's why it's important to assess risk when evaluating these prospects.

    And when I look at Bradford, while I see a lot of potential and outstanding qualities for the next level, I also see a guy who spent two years in a spread offense, was injured to some degree in each of those two seasons, and then, in his third season, played in only three games because he was hurt on two occasions before eventually having season-ending surgery.

    Now, I can't guarantee he's going to be successful and neither can Simms. I'm also not claiming a guy has to be a safe prospect to become a successful NFL player. I just don't know how anyone can look at the whole picture here and say Bradford is "about as safe a pick as you can have." There is definitely some risk there, but hopefully for all our sakes, Bradford overcomes it and achieves his potential.

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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    Bottom line: Bradford is no doubt the most probable #1 selection by the Rams next week ... but by the same token, it is not ipso facto.

    As of today there are still a few so called "surprising" events that can happen before the 2010 NFL D-Day. Sort of being in the last 3:40 min. of the 4th quarter of a playoff game (of course, by Monday we'll be at the '2 min. warning').

    I'll certainly support our 1st pick though, that's for Suh! ...I mean, that's for sure!
    Last edited by RealRam; -04-16-2010 at 01:54 AM. Reason: Smiley

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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    Bottom line: Bradford is no doubt the most probable #1 selection by the Rams next week ... but by the same token, it is not ipso facto.

    As of today there are still a few so called "surprising" events that can happen before the 2010 NFL D-Day. Sort of being in the last 3:40 min. of the 4th quarter of a playoff game (of course, by Monday we'll be at the '2 min. warning').

    I'll certainly support our 1st pick though, that's for Suh! ...I mean, that's for sure!
    I hope its Suh. A Bradford pick would assure us of another 3 years of losses. Flacco and Ryan stepped into better situations than Bradford would be stepping in. Sanchez was "successful" because of his defense. So was Flacco and (Ryan to a lesser degree). Sure up the D, get a compliment (or 2) for Jackson and trade a 5th rounder for J. Campbell or draft McCoy in round 2. I would even consider Tebow in the 3rd.

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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    Quote Originally Posted by dgr828 View Post
    I agree completely. That alot of money on the table to risk it on a QB with a checkered history stay healthy. Rams must weigh all their options, Suh should still be apart of the Rams main thought process, leading to next weeks draft. Remember how highly touted Alex Smith was before the fortyniners selected him as their #1 pick. If the Rams do go with Bradford, I can only pray he's the answer, because
    no pun intended, "Heaven can't wait!"
    Figures that Bulger's biggest critic is also a Bradford sceptic...

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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    Quote Originally Posted by svh01 View Post
    I hope its Suh. A Bradford pick would assure us of another 3 years of losses. Flacco and Ryan stepped into better situations than Bradford would be stepping in. Sanchez was "successful" because of his defense. So was Flacco and (Ryan to a lesser degree). Sure up the D, get a compliment (or 2) for Jackson and trade a 5th rounder for J. Campbell or draft McCoy in round 2. I would even consider Tebow in the 3rd.
    HERE,HERE! Shore up your defense with SUH! Spags is a defensive minded guy anyway. Its too risky for the Rams to put all their eggs in one "Bradford".
    I too would even consider Tebow.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    I'm sorry..But I have to disagree on Bradford...he is a Franchise QB..and will kick butt for the next 15 years...We need Atogwe to sign his tender..make sure we retain Adam Carriker..and pick up Kyle Wilson from my home town BSU...CB..And punt receiver..I will post two links in hope that Dez does not divert them to the video section....Sorry I have not been around..going through stuff of my own..and found it hard to log in do to what Red is going through..

    YouTube - #1 Kyle Wilson 11 Career INTs at Boise State

    The above are his interceptions..

    Follows is his Punt returns

    YouTube - Kyle Wilson #1 Punt Returner in the Nation


    Bradford in my opinion is a must..and so is Kyle..There will alway's be Suh's..O-line and Bradford...

    Not that I expect anything spectacular...but in 3 years..I think we will all look back and say the craziest draft ever...got the Rams to #1 again......

    To the guy who posted that us fans don't realize...NAH..to classy to respond to that...

    Prayers to RED....
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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    Kyle Wilson will almost surely be gone by the time the Rams pick in the second round. Could come off the board as early as the 13-20 range.

    As for "There will always be Suh's," well, I simply disagree. Suh has been described as one of the best to come along at his position in a long time, and when you watch him play, it's easy to see why he gets those kinds of accolades.

    If anything, that argument works better the other way around - there are always going to be highly touted "franchise" quarterbacks.

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    Re: Great Article. Bringing hope to the Rams: Is that the job for Sam Bradford?

    Great to see you CaliGirl!

    As Nick just pointed, Suh is truly an exceptional DT (and not just because he's a local boy here in Oregon). Still, I myself am broken between Bradford and Suh but all things taken into account, mainly the fact that we REALLY need a franchise QB and SamB is right there, well, I'd also be inclinded to go with the boy wonder from Oklahoma. I believe there's much hope that could stem from this promising QB.

    Go Rams in the 2010 NFL Draft!

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