Sam Bradford is better than Andrew Luck and there should be zero consideration of drafting him if the Rams end up with the first overall pick.
Bring on the criticism, the second guessing and the obscenities because Rams fans need to get real about the semi-messianic hype Luck is receiving as the next “it” quarterback coming out of college.
Quotes like this one show the ignorance and knee-jerk reaction of Luck lovers and analysts like Bill Simmons, who think the Rams should pounce on Luck if given the chance and ranks Bradford below players like Brian Hoyer and Donovan McNabb:
“Past 10 starts: two wins, eight losses (seven by double-digits), 4 TDs, 8 picks, 132 points scored. Anyone who brings up "Should the Rams keep Andrew Luck or Sam Bradford?" on a talking-head show should be electroshocked. There's a Bradford in the draft every year. There's a Luck in the draft every 10 years. Just stop it.”
St. Louis fans and pundits alike seem to have an epically short memory, dismissing that only a year ago Bradford helped resurrect a 1-15 team to one game short of the playoffs.
Now that he has been MIA for the last two weeks with an ankle injury and has shown signs of regression as he transitions from a Shurmurized dink and dunk to a more open Josh McDaniels offense, his rookie sheen has worn off.
In his place, Luck has become a knight in shining armor whose potential is the forbidden fruit that a faction of Rams fans can’t help but salivate over.
However, there are huge differences in what Bradford already is and what Luck could be. Bradford is an NFL quarterback, Luck is not. Bradford has started games at the highest level, Luck has not. Bradford has guys like Rodger Saffold protecting him, Luck has top tackle prospect Jonathan Martin.
For perspective, let’s look at the pre-draft scouting reports from CBS sports for each quarterback:
Bradford: “One of the more deadly accurate passers in recent memory whether throwing short, intermediate or deep.”
Luck: “Possesses extraordinary accuracy at all levels of the field.”
Bradford: “Tall, lanky player who doesn’t own a cannon but has more than enough arm strength to be successful in the NFL.”
Luck: “Doesn’t boast a Matt Stafford-like howitzer, but has plenty of arm strength to make every NFL throw.”
Bradford: “Intelligent, high-character, well-respected player on and off the field.”
Luck: “A winner. Highly intelligent.”
Luck grades out slightly better in reading defenses, takes most of his snaps in a pro-style offense and calls most of his own plays but the grades are eerily similar for both passers.
Here is a comparison of both Bradford and Luck’s best two seasons in college since Bradford’s junior season was cut short by injury:
Bradford (2007 and 2008): Started 28 of 28 games, 7,841 yards, 69 percent completion percentage, 86 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, 23-5 total record with losses to West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl and Florida in the BCS National Championship.
Luck (2010 and 2011 projected): Started 26 of 26 games, 6,942 yards, 70 percent completion percentage, 70 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, 24-2 total record with wins against Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl and a win in a 2011 BCS bowl.
Again, the margins are razor thin with advantage to Bradford with games started and touchdowns thrown and advantage to Luck with bowl wins and completion percentage.
The point is, Luck may turn out to be a phenomenal NFL quarterback but the Rams shouldn’t be concerned if they pass on him because they took a nearly identical prospect last year in Bradford.
They already have a franchise quarterback that can lead the Rams back to prosperity with the right tools around him, possibly USC left tackle Matt Kalil or South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery that could come from the pick some fans want to use on Luck.
The reason the Rams stand at 1-6 is because of a slew of problems that are not all Bradford’s fault and not even the “legendary” Luck could fix if put into the same situation.
If the Rams pass on Luck for guys like Kalil and Jeffery that can help make Bradford better, so be it.
That just gives St. Louis fans the opportunity to maybe one day watch the Bradford-led Rams take on a Luck-led Dolphins or Colts in the Super Bowl, a scenario that starts with Luck heading somewhere else on draft day.