In Focus: Sam Bradford's Rookie Season
By: Ian Kenyon
December 1, 2010
Sam Bradford
On February 25, 2010 ESPN's Adam Schefter reported, "There's no way that the Rams will not select Sam Bradford with the number one pick." From that point on, there was constant debate as to whether or not the St. Louis Rams were making the correct choice. After all, Bradford was coming off a serious shoulder injury that required surgery and nobody knew how he would translate from an Oklahoma offense where he took most of his snaps from the shotgun. Draft experts ultimately agreed that the Rams were making the correct choice if, and only if, they viewed Bradford as a franchise quarterback who can lead them for the next decade. Through eleven games, I think the Rams' front office is happy with their decision. But his play thus far goes beyond living up to expectations as the number one pick; Bradford is quietly putting together one of the best seasons ever by a rookie quarterback.

The following chart are the statistics for all quarterbacks taken in the first round since 1998 who threw enough passes to register for a quarterback rating during their rookie season. Seasons highlighted in blue are players whose quarterback rating exceeded 80.0.

When comparing, it appears as though Bradford's rookie season is on par with those from Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. However, I personally think that Bradford's season is the most impressive of any on that list, including Ben Roethlisberger's.

First of all, Bradford has thrown the ball at a higher rate than anybody on the list, his current pace puts him at a projected 601 pass attempts, more than twice the amount that Roethlisberger threw in 2004. With more pass attempts comes more opportunities to make mistakes or turn the ball over, but Bradford has thrived at taking care of the ball. He has thrown 11 touchdowns to one interception over his past six games, the best stretch of any rookie season included in this study. Bradford's overall interception rate so far this season is 2.18 percent, or one interception for every 46 passes, the best rate from a rookie quarterback dating back over 20 years.

Even more impressive is that he has put up these numbers despite a weak supporting cast. Early this season, Bradford had developed some chemistry with former Sooner Mark Clayton. Clayton suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 5, and the other Rams' wide receivers this year is a revolving door of late round draft picks and journeyman veterans. Bradford's newest number one target, Danny Amendola, is likely a number three receiver for almost any other team in the league. Yet, despite throwing to a subpar receiving cast that also includes Brandon Gibson and Danario Alexander, he has put up these staggering numbers.

Last year, the Rams went 1-15, with their lone win against a two-win Detroit Lions team. This year, the team is 5-6 and sitting in a first place tie for the division lead. While one player doesn't make a team, the play of Sam Bradford has undoubtedly led the charge for the St. Louis Rams. Expect Bradford to win Offensive Rookie of the Year award and if this team can put a formidable cast of receivers around him, we might once again be rewarded with seeing "The Greatest Show on Turf."

(February 8, -- The official roster of players invited to this year's scouting combine, which takes place from February 23 - March 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. has been announced. Refer to the tabs in the navigation bar for the combine participants by position. Overall, a total of 329 players have been invited to this year's combine, two more than last year. Sideline Scouting will be posting complete weigh-in and testing results daily.

*A.J. Green
WR, Georgia
*Patrick Peterson
*Nick Fairley
DT, Auburn
*Da'Quan Bowers
DE, Clemson
*Blaine Gabbert
QB, Missouri
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