You might remember me as one of the bloggers advocating former Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen over Sam Bradford last week. I was so set in my beliefs that I was even tweeting #dontpickBradford in the final 24 hours before the draft got underway on Thursday night. So how can someone so vehemently against selecting the Sooner signal caller be so damn happy when looking forward to 2010 and beyond?
Firstly, I was flat out wrong. Clausen isn’t in the same league as Bradford.
Not. Even. Close.
Whatever people try and tell you, he isn’t. How do I now know this? Bradford was a unanimous decision from the Rams front for a start. Then you can add in the fact it took until pick 48 for Clausen to finally be selected. After Tim Tebow was a surprise pick in the 1st round by the Broncos he told reporters, “It only takes one team to like you”. Clausen’s abilities weren’t even enough to convince one of the QB-hungry Browns, Bills or Raiders to select him and they all had multiple chances. That’s not even taking into account potential landing spots in Seattle, San Fran or Arizona, who hardly have franchise QBs in place. Again, they all skipped on Clausen. As much as I *think* I know what I’m talking about after watching youtube highlight videos, NFL teams have talent evaluation departments that spend the whole year round watching games, film, talking with coaches and the players themselves. They clearly voted in favour of Bradford. In a landslide.
The rest of the article is after the jump!
So, with it established that Sam Bradford is the most talented QB of the 2010 class, we can already start feeling better about things. It’s also been reported that Bradford even went as far as to ring the Rams front office to get the telephone numbers of all the 2010 draft class so he could personally contact them and welcome them aboard. It sounds to me like our new leader has been found and it is around Bradford and his accurate passes that we will build and move forwards. But what about his fragility people may ask? The Rams O-Line isn’t good enough to keep him upright….
Well… who told you that!!?? The Rams have invested heavily in that area in the past few years and it is about time to reap what we have sewn! Our starting Offensive Tackles will most likely be Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold, who should bookend the line for the next 6 years+ assuming all goes to plan. Smith was the #2 overall pick in 2009 and Saffold was widely seen as a ‘first round talent’ by draftniks when we pinched him at the top of the 2nd this year. That’s a pretty good starting point… Add in the best Center in the league today in Jason Brown and we already have the makings of a solid unit. LG Jacob Bell was a high priced FA signing in 2008 and his increased bulk should help him re-find his form that earnt him such a pretty penny. The RG position will be a camp battle between several players (Goldberg, Greco, Setterstrom) looking to make their mark. That doesn’t sound like a poor O-Line to me! Add in some blocking TEs in Bajema & Hoomanawanui and you get the picture that Spags & Devaney know they need to give Bradford time in the pocket if we are to succeed.
As I’ve stated above, the media has it wrong when slamming our O-Line. The next question is who will Bradford have to throw to? Isn’t the Rams WR corps is one of the worst in the league!??
Oh really!?? Yes the Rams wide-receivers are not a towering, physical group, but they don’t need to be in a West Coast Offense! What they will be asked to do is run short, precise routes and look for yards-after-catch. Fourth-round selection Mardy Gilyard doesn’t have blazing breakaway speed, but he DOES have jukes and double-moves to make you wonder if he even walks to the bathroom in a straight line (credit to Greg Blache). He can also run some pretty accurate routes when blindfolded (Sports Science clip). Donnie Avery can stretch the field with his 4.31 speed when needs be while Burton and Robinson work it over the middle. That’s forgetting the pleasantly surprising Gibson who looked solid in his short time last year. Steven Jackson isn’t too shabby out of the backfield either. No we haven’t got an Andre Johnson or Randy Moss in the line-up, but that’s not our gameplan. The Rams receivers will function well enough in the system we run. Of course we want star players all over the field, but that is highly unrealistic. Maybe we’ll address the wide-receiver position in the 2011 draft, but right now have an All-Pro RB and #1 overall QB to lead our offense!
The one slight I think you can have against our 2010 draft is providing S-Jax with a capable and reliable back-up. Hopefully we’ll be able to secure a deal with Brian Westbrook, who recently passed a physical with the Rams.
So, in summary, our O-Line is vastly under-rated and has scope to develop and improve. We already have one of the best running backs in the game today. Our new quarterback has been hailed as the second coming of Troy Aikman (a x6 Pro-Bowler, x3 Super Bowl champ and Hall of Famer). Our wide-receivers are a bunch of dynamic, YAC guys that suit a short-passing game built on accuracy. What’s not to like??