The St. Louis Rams have a new quarterback, a young man by the name of Sam Bradford, from Oklahoma, that the front office, coaches and fans fully expect to lead the team back to prominence. It's a big load for a man to carry, even with his bulked up 236 lb frame.
Despite an endless loop of trade talk over the past week, the Rams selection of Bradford should come as a surprise to no one. The engineers who build dynasties know the universal need for a quarterback. That holds even more weight today as the league's paradigm shift puts more and more emphasis on an offense's ability to move the ball through the air. There was no bigger need for the Rams, a team with lots of needs yet to fill.
I don't know it was by design or just the way scouts broke it down, but I find it appropriate that Bradford that he is compared often to Kurt Warner. Sure, the accuracy and decision making is the basis for that comparison. Still, it's no small coincidence, from a literary angle, that Bradford, chosen to lead the franchise out of the doldrums, get compared to the last great QB who led the team out of the doldrums. Just set aside the Horatio Alger, grocery clerk turned Super Bowl hero story when thinking about the $70 million contract Bradford is likely to sign as the first overall pick.
There will be plenty of time down the road to discuss the contract, a contract that's likely to stand as a record if the players union allows rookie contract to be sacrificed in the name of forging a new CBA...as well they should.
Drafting anyone with the first overall pick and the kind of contract it requires automatically makes it a risk; the stakes are just too high. That's especially true with a QB. Lots of people will dislike this pick for that basis alone. And passing up a player regarded as the next great defensive tackle, and a much safer investment, stings a lot of folks. The difference is the ceiling, and the Rams need to be reaching as sky high as they possibly can given the disrepair the franchise was in when Billy Devaney took the reigns as GM.
The Rams went with the safer pick last year, drafting OT Jason Smith. It was the smart pick. They needed to rebuild the offensive line. Now, they have to take the next logical step, and a much riskier one.
Like the pick or not, the guy has to succeed in order for the Rams to win again.
Welcome aboard Sam Bradford. You've got a big job on your hands. We're pulling for you.