In the 2010 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams selected Sam Bradford with the number one overall pick and signed him to a contract worth $78 million. The organization put a lot of trust into his potential, hoping he could get the team back to days when St. Louis was home to The Greatest Show on Turf. In his rookie year, Bradford showed he had what it takes to be a quality starter in the National Football League. He improved the team’s record by six wins and fell one win short of a division title.
His sophomore season was one to forget. Not only did Bradford loose his offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur, but he also was limited by his injuries, holding him out of six games. The Rams finished with a dismal 2-14 record earning them the second pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
The Rams were stuck with the choice of selecting Robert Griffin III and trading Bradford, or keeping Bradford and getting generously compensated for the number two pick.
Under a new general manager and head coach in Les Snead and Jeff Fisher respectively, the organization gave the former Heisman trophy winner their vote of confidence. The Rams and Bradford had an impressive season, nearly going undefeated in a tough division and finished with a 7-8-1 record.
After Steven Jackson opted out of his contract and the front office failed to put a new deal on the table during the offseason, the Rams decided it was finally time for Bradford to take complete control of the team. The front office was busy during both free agency and the draft, bringing in players who will strengthen the offensive line as well as new targets for their quarterback.
Although it is not a make or break season for Bradford, the Rams have made a lot of the right moves for Bradford: he has no excuses now, and Bradford is not one to make excuses. In 2011, after a lockout-shortened offseason, Bradford made all the right moves in trying to get acquainted with new coordinator at the time, Josh McDaniels, and his complex playbook.
This current offseason, Bradford has put in the extra time to work with his new receiver Tavon Austin and tight end Jared Cook. Austin recently told the NFL Network that he and Bradford have already built a rapport. Bradford also recognizes that since Jackson is no longer there to guide the team, he needs to be more of a vocal leader.
In an interview earlier this year with Howard Bazler, writer for USA Today Sports Weekly, Bradford was quoted saying “There’s a void right now. I think it’s part of my duty going into my fourth year to step up and help fill that void.”
Bradford’s numbers have increased since his rookie year in almost all statistical categories. He has also improved his efficiency by throwing for more yards in fewer attempts and has decreased his interceptions.
Now in his second year under the same system, Bradford will look to lead his team to a potential playoff berth.
It wont be easy as Bradford still has developing to do, but with his strong arm in a pass heavy league, he is starting to show the Rams why he was taken number one overall.