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Sam Bradford’s Dynasty Potential

Sam Bradford was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, taken by the St. Louis Rams. However, in rookie dynasty drafts, he has not been getting the attention or hype that many of the other rookies have been getting. He is frequently a late first round pick, while several other less-talented players are selected in front of him. In this article, we will look at some of the reasons that he has to not only succeed, but thrive in

St. Louis
, and why you should take the early plunge in one of your upcoming dynasty drafts.


*His offensive line isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be …


True, the Rams haven’t had a great offensive line since Orlando Pace went into decline, but the pieces are in place for the line to become an above-average unit in the league. Since jettisoning walking penalty machines Richie Incognito and Alex Barron, they also went out and drafted Rodger Saffold (a pass-blocking tackle, which again bodes well for
Bradford) in the second round, and picked up Hank Fraley for insurance. Last year’s second overall pick Jason Smith will be fully healthy, and was projected as the best pass-blocking offensive lineman of last year’s draft, and will have the opportunity to play his natural position of left tackle rather than on the right side. In addition, Jacob Bell is an effective pass-blocking guard, and according to ProFootballFocus, center Jason Brown graded out as the second most-effective pass-blocking center (although his run-blocking left much to be desired). In 2009, the offensive line was graded by Profootballfocus as the No. 19 unit in the league, with a pass-blocking rating of 12th, which is much better than many people give them credit for. In fact, the quarterbacks turned many pressure situations into sacks, an area that
Bradford promises to be better at.

If Saffold is inserted as the full-time right tackle, it would produce a projected offensive line of Smith-Bell-Brown-Goldberg-Saffold, which if healthy, would seem to be an effective pass-blocking line that could surpass last year’s rankings, which only helps
Bradford. With the injuries that the Rams have sustained over the past few years, they have healthy starters along the line this year and several young pieces that they can build around, the line can only get better.


Bradford

isn’t the most athletic quarterback, but he does have some ability to employ effective bootlegs and use his legs to get out of some situations.


* … and neither are his wide receivers


Again, the receivers aren’t top-notch, but they aren’t chopped liver either. The Rams have taken steps to rectify their wide receiver situation, as they drafted Marty Gilyard and Brooks Foster in this year’s draft. Gilyard has the ability to be an extreme playmaker, but his draft stock had fallen, hence the draft-day fall, but if he has his head on straight, he can only add to
Bradford’s arsenal. The existing receivers are made up of Donnie Avery, Laurent Robinson, Danny Amendola and Keenan Burton. Avery is a field stretcher, and because of the injuries on the team, he had to take up a bigger role, and wasn’t able to. Finding a true No. 1 is extremely important for the Rams. Amendola was used as a slot receiver last year (comparisons have been made, for better or worse, to Wes Welker), and

Burton
is likely practice squad material who was brought up because of the injuries sustained to 2009’s corp. The real wild card is Robinson. If he comes back healthy from his broken leg, he could become a real difference maker for the new quarterback. Before sustaining his injury last year, he had two solid games, and has the ability, when healthy, to be a possible No. 1 wide receiver for the Rams. And of course, there still remains the leading receiver the past few years, Steven Jackson. He’ll be his usual, predator-like self, and will undoubtedly be leaned on for support in the passing game.

[addendum: As I write this, the Rams are reportedly watching unrestricted free agent Danario Alexander closely. Alexander, certainly has the ability to be a future No. 1, but only if his knee doesn’t explode again.]


*
Bradford is ridiculously talented



Bradford

may be the most accurate quarterback to come out in the past seven years. In his first year as a starter at

Oklahoma
(2007), he put up a ridiculous 69.7 completion percentage on 341 attempts. The following year, during his Heisman campaign (2008), he put up a 67.9 percent completion rate, on 483 attempts. These two years are virtually unprecedented among first-round quarterbacks in the past seven years (this is an arbitrary cutoff date, due to my limited data). Only Jason Campbell (2004) put up a completion rate of 68 percent, at 69.6 percent, from 270 attempts. However,
Campbell had 71 less pass attempts than
Bradford’s 2007 total, and an astonishing 213 less attempts than his 2008 total. To put up completion percentages so high in two consecutive years cannot be ignored, as it is an incredible feat. In addition,
Bradford doesn’t throw interceptions. During his three years at

Oklahoma
, he threw 16 interceptions. By comparison, Matt Ryan threw 19 interceptions in his final year at

Boston
College
. His decision-making coming out is more advanced than any quarterback taken in last year’s draft, and than some in years previous. Although, he didn’t operate out of a pro-style offense in his final two years, during his freshman year he did run a lot of the plays out of a pro-style offense. Seemingly, the only knock on
Bradford is his durability, and whether his shoulder will hold up under the hits given in the NFL.


*The 2010 rookie class is very weak


In my eyes, there are only four “elite” prospects who should be taken at the forefront of any rookie draft: Ryan Mathews, Jahvid Best, Dez Bryant and Bradford. Behind them, the draft is full of wild cards, unknowns, and possible busts. Guys like C.J. Spiller have two talented backs around him, in addition to concerns running through the tackles. Ben Tate and Montario Hardesty are second-round picks who will be in somewhat favorable positions, but again, there are talented backs on those rosters and the only thing they lack is the second-round pedigree that Tate and Hardesty have. The wide receivers, behind Bryant, all have concerns as well. Demaryius Thomas came out of a gimmicky offense where he was required to run only four or five routes, in addition to being behind the eight-ball because of his foot injury. That isn’t to say that
Bradford isn’t without his faults as well, but his elite potential, which very few in this rookie class can say they possess, is well deserving of a top rookie dynasty pick.

Grabbing
Bradford in the top half of your dynasty draft will be a pick that will not be wasted. Although many owners shy away from taking rookie quarterbacks highly in dynasty drafts (I know, I usually do too), there hasn’t been a prospect like
Bradford in a while. He will produce results in the next years and well into the future.

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