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  1. #1
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    Week One Rookie Report Card ..

    Taking a look at the performances of four high draft picks.

    By Greg Gabriel

    Sam Bradford

    At first glance, you might say that Bradford had a pretty good game for the Rams. He completed 32 of 55 passes for 253 yards and a TD. Not bad for a first game in the NFL. But on the downside, he also threw three interceptions. And two of those came in the last two minutes of the game when the Rams had a chance to win the game.

    I liked many of the things Bradford did. He showed poise and confidence throughout the game. He did not seem to get rattled when things went wrong. He can set up quickly, find an open receiver and get the ball out of his hand quickly. He throws a tight spiral and his accuracy was adequate. At the end of the first half, he threw a nice deep ball to Mark Clayton to set up a score. He also showed good ability to move around in the pocket and throws the ball well on the run.

    On the downside, he did force some balls by throwing into coverage. He also had two opportunities in the last four minutes of the game to lead the Rams to victory and didnít get it done. Both drives ended in interceptions, one of which was in the red zone where he did not read the safety.

    I have no doubt that Bradford will be a very good quarterback in the league. He will be able to build on Sundayís experience, but the bottom line is he had two chances to win the game and he didnít do it. He gets a solid C+ for Sunday.

    Rodger Saffold

    Saffold was the Rams second-round pick. He starts at left tackle and except for a few plays he played a strong game. Saffold has ideal size for a left tackle at 6-4Ĺ and 315 pounds with long arms. He gets off the ball quickly. He shows very good snap on contact and showed good ability to get movement with his run blocks.

    I like his aggressive demeanor. He consistently looks for second people to hit and he is a good finisher. In pass protection, he has a strong punch and good mirror skills. He plays with a good base and has excellent balance and knee bend. He has quick hands and gets his hands on his opponent quickly. Learning to use his hands is one of the hardest things a rookie lineman has to do and Saffold does a good job.

    Heís strong in the upper body and has good hand placement. He has good lateral agility and because he has top balance and quickness he recovers really well.
    What I didnít like was he got beat by the same move twice. Though he didnít give up a sack, he gave up pressure and hits on the quarterback. He got beat on an outside/in move by the defensive end ó where his opponent takes a quick step to the outside then comes back to the inside across the face of the offensive tackle. Saffold did not position himself well enough to stop this move and Bradford got hit both times.

    Overall, like Bradford, Saffold will be a very good pro. As he gains experience he will not make the same mistakes. The important thing is he is a very competitive player. He gets a solid A- for the game.

    Ndamukong Suh

    Suh, who was the second overall pick in the draft, started and played just about every snap of the game. From a stats point of view, he was just average. He had one tackle, one assist and one sack. I also counted three pressures on the quarterback. There are things he does that do not show up on the stat sheet, however. He occupies blockers and he gets penetration to disrupt plays.

    Suh has great size. Heís about 6-4 and plays at around 310 pounds and is extremely strong. One pro scouting director told me he has never seen a rookie come into the league with as much natural strength as Suh. He has good snap reaction with a quick first step.

    His hand use is inconsistent. He doesnít have real quick hands and there were times when he was slow to get off blocks. He plays low and uses his strength. I thought his instincts were average in this game. There were times when he lost sight of the ball or just didnít know where the ball was. He is not a natural pass rusher. He gets a push but because he lacks top hand use he doesnít disengage from the blocker quick enough to get to the quarterback. With experience he will get much better. I like his motor. He plays hard and he runs to the ball.

    Overall he deserves a B+. There are things he has to do better, and he will. He has to make more plays.

    Jahvid Best

    Jahvid Best ran for 2 scores but struggled to find running room most of the day.

    Best was the second first-round pick of the Lions. Because 2009 leading rusher Kevin Smith is not recovered enough from surgery to play, Best started and played most of the game. Best is not a big guy. Heís 5-10 and 195Ė200 pounds. Heís small and plays small. He is best suited to be a rotational back, not an every down back. Because of his lack of size he will wear down if he has to carry the ball too much.

    Best started the game well and had 2 touchdowns in the first half but he finished with 14 carries for 20 yards and five catches for 16 yards. When quarterback Matthew Stafford went down with a shoulder injury and backup Shaun Hill struggled throwing the ball, the Bears were able to play much tighter in run situations. Best needs space to be effective and had none in the second half. He is not a power guy and will never be able to move the pile. On just about every carry Sunday, Best went down with the first hit. I saw no yards after contact.

    As a receiver, Best has excellent hands and can get open. His receiving opportunities were limited because Stafford was injured. Because of his speed and quicks he can be dangerous in the open field, we just werenít able to see it in this game.

    He struggles in pass protection, does not get good position and he lacks power. But on the positive side, he shows a willingness to block.

    Overall, I canít give Jahvid more than a C for the game. Just not enough production. I think that when Smith gets back on the field you will see Best used more as a complimentary back and he will be much more productive. This player can be a weapon when used in the right way.

  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Week One Rookie Report Card ..

    he also threw three interceptions. And two of those came in the last two minutes of the game when the Rams had a chance to win the game.
    Technically, yes. But that 3rd pick came on the hail mary at the end of the game. Not sure, I'd factor that one in exactly.

  3. #3
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    Re: Week One Rookie Report Card ..

    Hmm, hard to argue terrible with the grade of Bradford, but if he lowered the grade for the 3rd interception, then he needs to work on his analytical skills.

  4. #4
    RAMarkable is online now Registered User
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    Re: Week One Rookie Report Card ..

    Good review on Saffold. Is there any doubt that if the draft was held over Mr. Safflod would be a top 15 pick?

    Gotta wonder what he was doing there at the top of the 2nd round...


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