When the St. Louis Rams made Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, it officially marked the beginning of a new era at Rams Park. Bradford has yet to become the game changer on the field that the Rams and their fans are hoping he will be, but without a doubt he's changed the direction of the franchise.
The Rams are big question mark right now. Years of neglect led to poor drafts, bad free agency decisions and an aging group of veterans incapable of carrying the team on their shoulders anymore without the supporting players they needed. Last April, with a new front office and coaching staff finally installed, the Rams finally seemed to take a great leap forward with their draft. They got an anchor for the offensive line in Jason Smith, a middle linebacker to bolster the backbone of their defense, a tough young cornerback and a what looks to be a dedicated starting defensive tackle. It was a lot considering the outcome of previous drafts, but still a long, long way from rebuilding the team.
This year, the Rams had to take a risk at the top of the draft. In a league more and more devoted to the pass, the Rams lacked the most essential ingredient for an offense and a team, a quarterback. Drafting a QB and making him the highest paid player in the league entails plenty of risk, but franchises in the depths of despair don't have many other options.
Bradford has a long way before he's a game changer on the field. Still, he's already changed the direction of the Rams.
For more photos of today's rookie minicamp, including WR Mardy Gilyard, OT Roger Saffold, et al, click on the photo above.