We are less than a week away from the draft, and it feels like it just can’t get here fast enough. The NFL draft is probably my favorite weekend of the year, and it is especially exciting this year because of the position the Rams are in with the top pick. We all know by now that the pick is likely to be Sam Bradford, and ESPN experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay agree. In their latest mock draft, both men have Bradford heading to St. Louis, and here is what they had about the young quarterback.
Kiper: The Rams have passed on Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez during the past two years, and they don’t want to regret missing on another player with “franchise QB” potential. Bradford could have been No. 1 over Matthew Stafford last year, and has answered a lot of questions about his physical skills (and progress) over the past month. Concerns about his experience in the spread offense alone are real, however, and if the Rams feel intent on starting Bradford from day one, they could live to regret it.
McShay: The Rams have passed on potential franchise quarterbacks the past two seasons in favor of linemen, and we will be shocked if they do so again. Bradford has added bulk to his frame, passed medical exams on his surgically repaired throwing shoulder and had a strong showing at his pro day, so there should be no obstacles for the Rams. He comes from a wide-open offense and was generally well protected but we are confident he has the football intelligence and accuracy to develop into an upper-echelon starter a few years down the road.
Both men know that we can’t afford to pass on another quarterback this year after the success of guys like Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez, but it is interesting to note that Kiper seems much less sold on Bradford being ready to play right away. I have to admit that I’m a bit concerned about how Bradford will transition to the NFL this season after playing his college career in the spread offense and sitting out most of last season. There will surely be some bumps in the road, just like any team goes through when they start a rookie quarterback, so our expectations need to be realistic. Anyone who thinks Bradford will come in here and turn the organization around in one year doesn’t know how the game works. As Rams fans we have to be patient, because this guy has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback in this league. There is every reason to be excited, and I feel like we might look back at this draft in ten years as the day our organization began its return to prominence.