*Originally Posted October 2016*
Sam Bradford was one of the most touted QBs in a while when he came out for the NFL Draft. His tremendous career at Oklahoma all paid off as he was selected #1 by the St. Louis Rams. Bradford is now with his Third NFL team, so how has his career panned out so far?
The Injuries –
It is no secret Bradford has battled injuries through his NFL career, and even at the collegiate level. Out of 96 possible games excluding this season, Bradford has missed a two full seasons worth of 32 games because of injury. He also has played banged or nicked up numerous times. From shoulder injuries to a torn ACL, Bradford has spent a lot of time in the Medical Room, but that doesn’t make him any less of a player.
The Support Around Him –
It’s no secret top draft choice QBs get thrown into terrible situations often, but it doesn’t get worse than Bradford. Bradford was selected by the Rams to start off, a team in a division that has constant contenders and hard nose teams around him. On top of that, his weapons around him were the next to nothing. In 2010, Bradford’s rookie season, his best wide out was the bad, pre-Patriots version of Danny Amendola who would only go for a little over 650 yards that season. His offensive line wasn’t any better. It consisted of a rookie and very unpolished Roger Saffold and at the time, a very sub-par John Greco. At least he had a feasible target at tight end which was Michael Hoomanawanui (Sarcasm). That was it, an atrocious wide receiving core, a very bad offensive line and a tight end who is only relevant because Gronk got hurt and people couldn’t pronounce his name.
The Rams tried drafting talent with Greg Robinson, Stedman Bailey, and Tavon Austin, but none of them panned out. Lastly, Bradford had a new Offensive Coordinator almost ever year in St. Louis, so a new system almost every season when he came to camp. He had no room to live and grow rather than scrap everything from the previous year(s).
The talent around him in his second gig with the Eagles wasn’t any better. He arrived post-LeSean McCoy, DJax, and JMac era and was dealt an unsettled locker room and organization. His best WR was second-year player Jordan Matthews who just provided Bradford with nothing but dropped passes and frustration. DeMarco Murray was brought in to Philly to pair up with his old Oklahoma teammate, but that didn’t work out either.
Murray ended up having his worst career season and was benched for Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles. Now part of it was his fault, but the offensive line in front of Bradford once again wasn’t great. Jason Peters was once again banged up and so were other parts of the line, and Jason Kelce continued his huge drop-off. The Eagles fans also aren’t the most tolerable bunch in the league either.
How He Has Actually Played –
Unlike social media and mainstream sports media outlets would make you believe, Bradford hasn’t been terrible, or even bad. Take a look at him compared to some QBs considered above average.
- *Stats exclude this season*
Bradford is evidently the best one here, even if you just look at the numbers. If we take a deeper look at the film and talent around him, Bradford is the best quarterback here and it isn’t even close. Flacco has had a phenomenal offensive line in front of him as well as a very good Steve Smith and Torrey Smith to throw too. Kamar Aiken has also proven he is no slouch. Blake’s offensive line is still better than anything Bradford has worked with but I will admit it isn’t elite. However, Bortles has one of the best receiving cores and one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are both 1,000-yard receivers and Pro Bowl candidates as well as tight end Julius Thomas. Like mentioned before, Bradford has had a piss poor OL his whole career and never a 1,000-yard wideout. These aren’t the only QBs either, proclaimed “stars” like Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton are also not superior to the former #1 pick.
Bottom Line –
Whether you agree Bradford is not better more than half of the starting NFL QBs is your prerogative. I have filled this column with nothing but facts and evidence but it is your choice to swallow it. The bottom line is that Sam Bradford is not an NFL bust. He may not be an elite QB, nor a top choice one, but he is pretty damn good at what he does when he is on the field.
This year he has been given an opportunity to shut everyone up as he is finally surrounded with a roster that has some talent on offense in the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, Bradford once again was dealt the short end of the stick with Adrian Peterson going down, but he continued to light up the Packers defense on Sunday Night Football. Bradford would go 22/31 which is a 71% completion percentage as well as 2 TDs and 286 yards with a 121 Passer rating on Green Bay. That is a spectacular performance no matter who you are, then you take into account he was asked to do no more than manage the game, not take it over. No doubt it will be tougher without AP now, but Bradford can finally show what he has been capable of his whole career this season.