OU Career Stats: Yards: 8403, Touchdowns: 88, Interceptions:16. NFL Stats: Yards: 11,065, Touchdowns: 59, Interceptions: 38.
As polarizing a figure as Landry Jones was during his time at Oklahoma, his predecessor, was virtually loved by everyone. Sam Bradford. Heisman Winning Quarterback.
During Bradford’s time at Oklahoma he won a ton of football games. He was the part of the record setting Oklahoma offense in 2008 that was breaking score boards.
During Sam Bradford’s freshman year, fans witnessed some growing pains, as Oklahoma had lost a few contests they probably shouldn’t have, but pulled off a few upsets as well. Oklahoma was stunned by the Colorado Buffaloes, however, they defeated Texas, and the top-ranked Missouri Tigers in the Big 12 title game.
The following year, in 2008, the offense was one of the best offenses that not only Oklahoma fielded, but one of the best offenses seen in all of college football. Oklahoma over the course of the regular season averaged 53.3 points a game. Scoring a whopping 640 total points. Oklahoma did lose a thriller to the Longhorns, letting Texas rally at the end to beat OU. However, Oklahoma would still make it to the BCS National Championship Game to face Florida.
Unfortunately, Bradford could not quite get his teams over the post season hump, losing to West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl in an upset loss, and then losing to Florida the following year in the national championship game. He could have went to the NFL after 2008. But, he believed Oklahoma had a great opportunity to go back to the National Title Game in 2009.
He remained a Sooner, though an untimely shoulder injury would change that in another surprising upset loss to BYU at Jerry World.
During the game, Bradford suffered a severe AC joint sprain, essentially starting Landry Jones’ career at Oklahoma in the process. Sure, he would return three weeks later, and demolish Baylor in Norman. But during the Red River Rivalry game, he would suffer another injury to his right shoulder, which required surgery. Thus ending not only his season, but also his career at Oklahoma.
At the conclusion of the 2009 season, Bradford, despite the injury and shoulder surgery, was selected number one overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2010 NFL Draft. That was special night for Oklahoma, as three of the top five draft picks, were Sooners. Gerald McCoy, and Trent Williams were also selected in that top five group.
Sam Bradford would also be the last number one draft pick to make the money he did being a first round draft pick. The final year of the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, Sam Bradford got to ink a six year, 78 million dollar deal for being a the number one overall draft pick.
Bradford has had success at his position in St. Louis. Though over recent years, many outlets have said that Bradford simply has not had the weapons around him to truly bring out his full potential.
Watching St. Louis myself, I completely agree.
The Rams have not had much to offer Bradford in the way of protection, or receivers, outside of Danny Amendola or, Terry Holt. During his rookie season, he not only broke the pass completions rookie record set by the great Payton Manning, he also completed 169 attempts with out an interception, also a record.
He set another record, being the first rookie to throw for 300 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions while playing a road game against the Denver Broncos. He also won back to back rookie of the month awards. Flashes of greatness there.
But, as I said earlier, Bradford hasn’t always had the tools to bring out his full potential. Two of the four seasons in St Louis, he spent on the injury reserve list. In 2011 he only played in ten games, and last season he only played seven. Offensive line troubles have hindered much of his ability to make plays, and also increased his risk of injury year in and out.
Let’s not mention the fact he plays in what is now considered, the best defensive division in the NFL, the NFC West. Some try to criticize Bradford as being overrated. Considering the Rams offensive line has been the football equivalent of swiss cheese. I would say Bradford has done pretty well, considering the circumstances.
Entering his fifth year, St. Louis under the direction of head coach Jeff Fisher appears poised to make some noise in 2014. Bradford has a retooled offensive line, including first round pick Greg Robinson. The Rams, also have several players looking to shine in their sophomore seasons, such as wide receiver Tavon Austin, the West Virginia stand out who single highhandedly sent Oklahoma’s defense into the record books, and not in a good way in 2012. Oklahoma went on to win that game 50-49, but still.
I am hopeful that the hype surrounding St. Louis’ offensive line is true, and that Bradford breaks through the ceiling this season. According to the experts, he now has the tools, so this is a big year for Bradford. He has the potential to be one of the great NFL quarterbacks. If he has the players he needs to win, then we’ll see why he was made the highest paid number one pick of all time.