Rams not likely to trade pick

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:56 PM ET

Time may prove it to be a mistake, but odds are, the St. Louis Rams will call Sam Bradford’s name with the first pick of Thursday’s NFL draft.

The Rams have said it would take “something pretty darn good” to move the top selection and the team, a dismal 6-42 the past three seasons, will be picking Bradford as much for the optics as for the fit.

True, with the Marc Bulger era a memory, the team desperately needs a quarterback, but it also needs a player who can sell hope.

Nothing excites fans like a fresh-faced QB with the talent, frame and athleticism to be a star. Bradford has all that, in spades, but he is still a gamble.

That’s because Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, expected to go 2-3, are also potential superstars and play defensive tackle, a position that history shows transitions far more seamlessly from the NCAA to the NFL than that of quarterback.

For every Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer or Eli Manning, there are five colossal busts (like Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Tim Couch, and likely, JaMarcus Russell and Vince Young).

A great college signal-caller morphs into a great NFL QB as well less than half the time. With good scouting, solid quarterbacks can be found in any of the first three rounds of most drafts (Tom Brady even famously went in the sixth round).

Most of the league’s current crème de la QB crème were mid-to-late first rounders. Dallas’ Tony Romo wasn’t even drafted at all.

On the other hand, DT’s the calibre of Suh and McCoy tend to make the jump well the vast majority of the time. There are less variables. You know what you are getting.

Why not just opt for Suh and make a trade for a late-first and grab a quarterback there? There are three or four behind Bradford that have a chance to be decent starters.

Bradford also has an injury history, but granted, so does Suh.

Bradford’s shoulder woes kept him out for most of the 2009 season and reports surfacing Wednesday claimed that some teams — but not the Rams who are sold medically after getting the thumbs up from Bradford’s surgeon, Dr. James Andrews — are worried about his knee.

Though Bradford might not be the best value at No. 1, he will give the sad-sack Rams the identity they clearly crave.

And it isn’t as if he is a dud on the field. Bradford says his arm is stronger than ever thanks to the intense rehab he went through to get his shoulder back to normal.

“Bradford has everything it takes to be successful in the NFL,” CBS analyst and ex-NFL star Phil Simms told the Chicago Sun-Times recently. “He makes it look easy. He’s about as safe a pick as you can have. He is absolutely worthy of the first pick.”

The 2008 Heisman winner (the second sophomore ever to win the award after Florida’s Tim Tebow did the trick a year earlier) is built like a truck and can throw the ball as far as he wants to with incredible accuracy.

Though not a spectacular runner, he is not a pylon out there either and ran a lot in Oklahoma’s spread offence system.

Bradford showed he was all the way back from injury by putting on a show at his Pro Day March 29th. Bradford competed 62-of-63 scripted throws there, a performance some said was the best since Troy Aikman’s 21 years ago.

At Oklahoma, the quiet star who prefers to lead by example as opposed to a fiery, vocal approach, led his squad to the BCS championship game (a loss to Tebow-led Florida) and passed for 88 touchdowns against 16 interceptions.

The bottom line is St. Louis will be a better team with Sam Bradford on its roster.

That does not mean he’s the most sensible pick.

Sam Bradford

Oklahoma Sooners

Born: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

22-years-old

6-foot-4, 236 pounds

Won 2008 Heisman and AP player of the year awards

NCAA record 36 TD’s as a freshman

Also a high school star in basketball and

Is of Native American descent

Threw for 88 touchdowns and just 16 interceptions at Oklahoma

scored 36 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test, which tests the aptitude of prospective employees, well above the average of 28.5 for the 30 NFL quarterbacks slated to start in 2010.

Nicknamed “King Sam” by teammate and fellow top 3 draft prospect Gerald McCoy

Loves hockey and is a fan of the Vancouver Canucks


Videos

Photos