NFL DRAFT DIAMONDS

Is Sam Bradford a bust in his 4th year?

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By Shaun DePasquale (@ShaunDoesDraft)

Few could have imagined back in 2010, when Sam Bradford was the apple of the NFL’s eye, that three years later, we would be looking at the Rams QB and the #1 pick of the 2010 NFL Draft as an unmitigated bust. But after the Rams 35-11 clunker of a loss to the San Francisco 49ers last night on primetime television, there are alarming causes for concern over Bradford’s (lack of) development.

First and foremost, I was alarmed by Bradford’s lack of pocket awareness and comfort, considering he is in his 4th season now. It’s always difficult to play against an active, talented defense like San Francisco’s, it becomes impossible to be effective if the QB can’t stand confidently in the pocket and deliver throws. All throughout the night, Bradford struggled with feeling the rush and delivering quality throws to his WR stable. While I noticed a lot of blame set at the feet of the Rams’ young WR’s, numerous passes were simply over or under-thrown by Bradford.

Bradford finished the night a pedestrian 19 for 41 (46%) passing for 202 yards, 1 touchdown (in garbage time late in the game) and 1 interception. As poor as the stats appear, the film may have been worse. In his 4th season Bradford currently sports a lower passer rating (82.1) than Titans QB Jake Locker (89.8). Bradford’s contract currently runs through 2015, paying him $27 million over those 2 years. As the last of the “bonus babies” pre-new CBA, Bradford is held to a bit of a higher standard than other young QB’s making a fraction of his money. St. Louis has stated publicly that Bradford is their guy for the future. His play on the field leads one to believe that his ceiling may be severely limited. With the Rams holding two 1st round picks in the 2014 NFL Draft, the possibility exists that they might use one on an enticing QB, such as Clemson’s Tajh Boyd or UCLA’s Brett Hundley. One thing is for certain- Bradford has to pick up his play if the team is to eventually decide to keep him long-term.

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