Bradford impresses scouts at pro day
Michelle Gray, The Oklahoma Daily
If Monday morning’s breakfast with St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo did not put Heisman-winning quarterback Sam Bradford at the top of the Rams’ draft board, then Bradford’s performance at his Pro Day should have done the trick.
Bradford not only proved his shoulder was completely healed but looked better in his 63 pass—50 scripted and 13 warm up—workout at Everest Training Center than he did when he threw 50 touchdowns in 2009. He completed 49 of his 50 scripted passes, with the only incompletion coming on a dropped pass thrown a hair, at most, behind the receiver.
“I thought I showed a wide variety of throws,” Bradford said. “I think I showed everyone I can still make all the throws and my shoulder’s what it was before I got hurt.”
Bradford was so impressive that he put together the best quarterback workout since Troy Aikman, said Gil Brandt, former vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys and current NFL.com writer.
“There wasn’t an uncatchable ball,” Brandt said.
And Brandt was not the only one who was impressed with Bradford.
Bradford left many of his teammates with dropped jaws, and various higher-ups for NFL teams, including Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, left singing nothing but high praises for the quarterback.
“We were all commenting Sam was throwing better than he was before,” said former OU defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who screamed “King Sam” after Bradford landed a 65-yard pass in former OU wide receiver Adron Tennell’s hands in perfect stride. “Sam’s ready. He’s ready.”
But it is not a complete surprise Bradford wowed everyone who was in attendance, but the main thing that people were looking at was whether his shoulder had recovered and he could make all of the throws, Holmgren said.
“He did it all,” Holmgren said. “I could only remember a couple throws where a guy had to even bend funny to catch it. He made all the throws, and he was good.”
The Browns have been searching for a quarterback who could bring the organization back to prominence, and Bradford could be that guy if he is still available by the time Cleveland’s No. 7 pick comes up.
Bradford came into his workout Monday after bulking up to 236 pounds and fine-tuning his mechanics during a five-week workout period in Florida, which caused his passes to come out crisper and look stronger, Tennell said.
“He’s got a little more zip on the ball,” Tennell said. “Everything was right on the money.”
And none of that zip would be there if Bradford’s shoulder was not completely healed, which it has Bradford said.
“The most important for me was getting my shoulder healthy again; I put a lot of time into that,” Bradford said. “I feel like my shoulder feels good now. I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
But Bradford’s work is not done now that his Pro Day has come and gone. Bradford said he will begin to focus on the mental part of the game, not just the physical aspect.
“Mentally, there’s still a lot of things I don’t know about the NFL; a lot of things I’m going to have to learn especially not playing last year,” Bradford said. “I need to probably start watching some film; trying to understand NFL defenses. Try to get a head start before I get there.”
Bradford will meet with the Washington Redskins next week for a couple workouts and will head to St. Louis afterward. Whether he is taken first overall in April’s NFL Draft by the Rams or goes to anybody else, he will be happy to just be wearing an NFL uniform playing football, Bradford said.
“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to play in the NFL whether it’s with the Rams or another team,” Bradford said. “I think that’s what everyone grows up dreaming about—being the No. 1 pick. If it happens, it happens; if not, I’m going to be excited wherever I go.”