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  • Top QBs are on Rams' radar

    Top QBs are on Rams' radar

    Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen By Jim Thomas

    INDIANAPOLIS For the two best quarterbacks in this year's draft, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, this NFL scouting combine has nothing to do with skill and ability. It's all about good health.

    Forget about what the coaches and scouts think, the people they need to impress are the dozens of doctors and trainers here from all 32 NFL teams.

    Bradford is still healing from surgery to his throwing shoulder; Clausen from right toe surgery. They will not work out here; but they got a grueling workout from all the medical people. Both players are very much on the Rams' radar, particularly Bradford, when it comes to consideration for the No. 1 overall pick.

    Bradford underwent a reconstruction of the AC joint after injuring the shoulder for the second time last season. ShopSTL Marketplace

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    "They just went in, and with like a nylon braid, put the clavicle back in place and pretty much re-secured the joint," Bradford said.

    More precisely, Bradford said the injury was a Grade 3 separation of his shoulder. He initially suffered the injury in the Sooners' 2009 season opener against BYU. Six weeks later, on Oct. 17, he did it again against rival Texas.

    "From what I heard from doctors after the second (separation), for my long-term health, if I wanted to continue playing football and get stronger in the weight room I needed to have the surgery," Bradford said.

    Bradford was scheduled to meet with Rams officials Saturday night here in Indy, as was Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. After spending a couple of hours Friday getting examined and questioned by the combine doctors and trainers, Bradford said the initial feedback he got on his injury was encouraging.

    "I think it checked out really well when I went through the team physicals," he said. "No one found anything they weren't expecting to find. I'm in a great rehab program right now my throwing sessions are really starting to pick up in intensity."

    Bradford said his last throwing session consisted of over 100 throws. He isn't experiencing any soreness after those sessions and says his arm feels great. During his combine examinations, Bradford said, medical officials are testing his arm strength and range of motion.

    For now, Bradford has been throwing every other day, and estimates that his arm strength is at 85 percent. During those workouts, Bradford says, he's "putting as much as I can" on his throws. "I feel like if you want to get your arm stronger, that's what you've got to do," he said. "I've gotten stronger every time I've thrown."

    Rams general manager Billy Devaney said Friday that besides Rams doctors and Dr. James Andrews (who performed the surgery), the Rams want a third opinion on Bradford's shoulder from an independent doctor.

    "That's fine," Bradford said. "I have nothing to hide. My shoulder's fine. They can get whoever they want to to look at it, and I don't think it's gonna change. I think they're going to see it's strong, it's healthy, and it's better than ever."

    The proof will be in the throwing. Bradford's pro day is March 25 in Norman, Okla. Arguably there has never been a pro day so important for a top player's draft stock.

    "Extremely important," Bradford said. "Obviously, it'll be the first time that I've thrown in front of pro scouts since they've seen me play versus Texas when I got injured. So I think everyone's really anxious to see my arm and how it looks after surgery."

    A dazzling display on March 25 could catapult Bradford to the top of the Rams' draft board. But what if he's just so-so?

    "It makes you pause," Devaney said. "Sure it does. Then you're projecting. Then you're saying, 'Yeah, I think he's going to be OK.' That's a hell of a projection."

    Meanwhile, Clausen is saving his workout for April 9 in South Bend, Ind., as he continues to recover from toe surgery. Clausen suffered the injury in Game 3 of the '09 season, during the first half against Michigan State.

    "I tore two (tendons) in that game, and I played the rest of the season taking painkillers for every single game," Clausen said. "At the end of the season, I got another MRI, and for playing on the two torn tendons, my sesamoid bones (which are at the ball of the big toe) retracted about one centimeter."

    He underwent surgery to re-attach the tendons with two pins, and as Clausen put it, "move those sesamoid bones back up for me." Not unlike Bradford, Clausen said he got pretty good feedback Friday when he ran through the combine medical gauntlet.

    "They said it looks really good and it's healing," Clausen said. "They told me just to take my time and not push it too much."

    Even though Clausen apparently made the injury worse by continuing to play last season, he says he has no regrets.

    "All they told me (initially) was that it was turf toe," Clausen said. "So I just had to gut it out for my team, and went out there each and every game and tried to give it my best."

    Even on a bum wheel in '09, Devaney said, there was a lot to like about Clausen.

    "There's a bigger body of work on Clausen (than Bradford)," Devaney said. "The guy is unbelievably impressive, his accuracy and all. We just want to look at arm strength you just can't judge that all the time looking at tape. The other stuff athletic ability, the knowledge, he's got the really good temperament we're fine with all that. We just want to see him throw the ball live."

    Which makes Clausen's pro day pretty important as well.

Related Topics


  • r8rh8rmike
    St. Louis Rams Get A Look At Jimmy Clausen
    by r8rh8rmike
    St. Louis Rams get a look at Jimmy Clausen

    The Rams' pre-draft audition of quarterback prospects continued and apparently ended Friday with Jimmy Clausen's pro day at Notre Dame's indoor practice facility in South Bend, Ind. General manager Billy Devaney came away impressed with Clausen, who completed 57 of 59 passes during the 30-minute workout.

    "Clausen looked outstanding," Devaney said. "He threw the ball with velocity, he was extremely accurate, he made all the throws. He's a natural passer; he showed that."

    Clausen, who had been recovering from surgery to repair torn tendons in his right big toe, hadn't performed for NFL talent scouts until Friday. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo also was in attendance, as was offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and quarterbacks coach Dick Curl.

    "I was just excited to be able to come out and throw the ball around," Clausen said. "I got a little tired while I was out there, but I think it went really well. It was good to be able to throw with my legs and not just my arm."

    Previously, the Rams attended Sam Bradford's pro day March 29 at Oklahoma and worked out Texas' Colt McCoy privately on Thursday in Austin. Devaney had strong praise for their showings, too.

    Coming off a 1-15 season, the Rams have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, which will kick off with first-round selections April 22 in New York. The second and third rounds will be held April 23, with the final four rounds to be completed April 24.

    It's been widely speculated that the Rams will select a quarterback, and Bradford appears to be a strong front-runner.

    The release of Marc Bulger, the team's starting quarterback for most of the past eight seasons, further fueled conjecture that the Rams will opt for a quarterback in the first round.

    Devaney emphasized that no decision has been reached yet, although he said "we're done" looking at quarterbacks. He declined to compare the three prospects.

    "The evaluation process now will continue next week when we get together with the scouts and coaches," Devaney added. "We'll get everybody's input and see where we are at that point."
    -04-10-2010, 06:22 PM
  • Bald_81
    Why I think Devaney prefers Bradford to Clausen
    by Bald_81
    I think what we're witnessing here is a repeat of what happened last year with Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe. Obviously comparing OT to QB is a stretch because it's a whole other beast, but I believe a similar debate was ongoing between the Smith fans and the Monroe fans last year.

    Jason Smith was not a five star recruit when he arrived at Baylor and they actually expected him to be their future TE. He played in a two point stance in college (not the three point stance OTs play in the NFL) meaning he had to transition as a pro and get comfortable in that regard. He had a ton of raw ability and untapped potential that scouts saw and he played with great passion and fire. For those who watched interviews of him prior to and after the draft, it was apparent he was quite the character and very serious about becoming a great pro. Eugene Monroe, on the other hand, was the heir apparent to D'Brickashaw Ferguson and he was a top recruit coming out of high school, so it was something he was preparing for his entire life. He played in the traditional three point stance and excelled in pass protection but many had doubts about his power and strength to anchor the running game. In comparison to Smith, he was much more NFL ready and could play from day one. However, there was also questions about how much further he could develop and Smith was generally viewed as the OT with the higher ceiling.

    I think Devaney is leaning towards Bradford for the same reason he liked Smith. He's projecting what each could be as an NFL starter, and it sounds like he prefers Bradford to Clausen at this point. If Devaney wanted the polished, NFL ready player who played in a pro-style formation, he would've taken Monroe last year without even blinking an eye. Yet, he envisioned Smith as the better player once he gets the opportunity to develop and grow into a true OT at the NFL level. He sees Bradford as the better pro once he develops fully under center and spends every waking hour working in a pro style offense. That's why I laugh when analysts or fans say we made a "safe" selection last year because if we truly wanted to be safe we would've selected Monroe and not Smith. Jason was the one with more question marks and we drafted him with the assumption he would develop all of his raw skills and become an elite OT. I believe Devaney sees the same with Bradford (and that's no knock on Clausen), he sees a player with elite intangibles and a physical skill set that translates well to our offense. Bradford wasn't highly recruited much like Smith and he had to beat the odds just to become a starter at Oklahoma (many thought he was the third favourite to win the job back in '07) but he ended up doing much more. Clausen was the "LeBron James of football" when he arrived at Notre Dame and he knew he would be the starting QB soon enough ala Monroe. Again, I know comparing OT to QB is a bit of a stretch, but I see similar qualities and coincidences...
    -03-19-2010, 05:49 PM
  • laram0
    Kiper has Clausen rated ahead of Bradford
    by laram0
    On ESPN today Kiper said that Clausen is more "pro" ready and that the RAMS should select him with the 1st pick in the draft.:eek:
    -04-06-2010, 02:14 PM
  • AvengerRam_old
    What I'm looking for in a franchise QB
    by AvengerRam_old
    Taking a franchise QB prospect in the top 10 picks of the draft is a daunting task. Will you end up with the next Matt Ryan/Joe Flacco, or the next Alex Smith/Jamarcus Russell?

    There will never be a pefect formula for this, and if there were, I doubt I'd be the one to discover it, but for what its worth, here are the things I'm looking for:

    1. MPTs (Minimum Physical Traits)
    Top QBs don't all come in the same shape and size, but I do think there are a few minimum traits that, if lacked, will doom a QB to no better than mediocrity. They are: arm strength, physical bulk, and "pocket footwork."

    Arm strength refers to the ability to get the ball out and to a receiver quickly. It is a function of two factors: (1) release speed and (2) velocity. One factor can compensate for another, but the best QBs have both.

    Physical bulk, I believe, is more important than height. I'd rather have a well-built 6'1 QB, than a 6'6 string-bean. Otherwise, an injury-filled career is too big a risk.

    Finally, "pocket footwork" is, in my opinion, far more important than running ability. Give me a guy who knows how to step-up, side-step and roll out over a guy who can take off and run for first downs.

    2. Contagious Confidence
    People often mistakenly mistake brashness or vocal presence for leadership. To me, its more a question of a guy who displays confidence in his demeanor, what he says, and how he plays when the chips are down. Give me a guy who can throw 3 interceptions in the first half, shrug it off, and throw for 3 TDs in the second half.

    3. Unaided College Productivity
    Combines and workouts serve a purpose, nothing compares to productivity in game conditions. There's a caveat, though... beware of "aided" productivity. A college QB who racks up great stats in a non-pro style offense, against outmatched competition, or through "all-purpose" yardage will rarely be able to duplicate their productivity when they reach the NFL. You also have to throw out won/loss percentage, to a large extent. There are simply too many great college teams that merely carry their QB along for the ride. I'd rather have a smaller-school guy who plays in a pro-style offense and puts up great stats against teams with similar talent on the roster.

    So... how do I evaluate the top current prospects for the 2010 draft?

    Well, in terms of MPTs, I look at Locker and Clausen as the top prospects. McCoy and Bradford have some "bulk" issues that concern me, though in Bradford's case, his fragility may be overstated. In terms of footwork, I'd give McCoy the highest grade (though I'm not sure I've seen any college QB with better footwork than FSU's Christian Ponder).

    In terms of "contagious confidence," my subjective viewpoint is that McCoy and Clausen receive high marks....
    -10-27-2009, 02:30 PM
  • Bar-bq
    Jimmy Clausen Interview from the Washington Post
    by Bar-bq
    He's certainly a character and I think he really stands up for himself here. It doesn't change my opinion of him as a player and I wouldn't want to trade for him, but it's an interesting read nonetheless....
    -03-31-2010, 03:09 PM