The Embellishment Of Sam Bradford, Part 1
Sam Bradford has been labelled many adjectives: Enigma, Bum, Intelligent, Soft, and many more have been thrown his way. The 2008 Heisman Trophy Winner had a college career that set him up to be the top Quarterback prospect in the 2010 NFL Draft despite coming off an injury that ended his 2009 season abruptly.
Sure the cast of characters who were Quarterbacks in the 2010 Draft Class had good collegiate careers but none of them had the upside and potential of Bradford. Tim Tebow came from an offense that never asked him to read defenses or throw often; Jimmy Claussen had good arm talent but his inconsistent play at Notre Dame scared some teams; Colt McCoy had great statistics and accomplishments but wasn't physically in the same talent sphere as Bradford.
But six years later ESPN NFL Nation Eagles Insider Phil Sheridan, as a guest on The Sports Bash on Wednesday, dropped this bomb on the radio:
"You know what was interesting to me last year Jeff Lurie was explaining the Bradford move and he said back in 2010 Andy Reid and his staff they evaluated Bradford as better than any Quarterback that they had seen come out (of college) since Peyton Manning. So that includes Donovan McNabb by the way, and Aaron Rodgers, and a lot of other guys that were drafted, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco; so there's a lot of guys who have come out and been successful and the Eagles had Sam Bradford rated higher at that point in time."
Hold on a minute, Andy Reid and his staff came away with that high of an evaluation of Sam Bradford? Best Quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning?
After hearing this I decided to go back and re-watch Sam Bradford college game footage to see if I missed something eight years ago when he was having his Heisman Trophy winning season. Here is what I found:
-Bradford almost never ran straight passing plays from under center, it was always either a Play Action Pass or a running play.
-Most of his passes were to the 1st option on the play
-Many of the plays that could be considered displays of his accuracy were on check-downs, bubble screens, and In-Out patterns
-Bradford didn't always throw to the most open player, instead to the player the play was designed to get the ball to
-Bradford typically didn't run through progressions, he looked to get the ball out as quickly as possible
Furthermore, in his best season where he threw for 4,720 yards, 50 Touchdowns, and had a 67.9 completion percentage, he also played in an offense that had two guys rush for over 1,000 yard (Demarco Murray - 1,002 yard; Chris Brown - 1,220) and one of his top targets was Jermaine Gresham (2-Time NFL Pro Bowl selection). Also he had two guys on the Offensive Line in front of him who have been starters in the NFL: Phil Loadholt and Trent Williams.
On top of all of that, let's look at the Oklahoma Sooners Quarterbacks who had success before Bradford:
-In 2003 Jason White threw for 3,846 yards and 40 Touchdowns then in 2004 he threw 35 Touchdowns
-In 1999 Josh Heupel threw 30 Touchdowns and in 2000 he passed for 3,606 yards
So while Sam Bradford was the best Quarterback statistically at Oklahoma in a 12 year period, he played in an offense that helped other players put up good numbers in years previous to his time starting at Quarterback.
Checkout more from ESPN NFL Nation Eagles Insider Phil Sheridan as he spoke about Eagles OTAs, Jim Schwartz, Carson Wentz and more