The St. Louis Rams passed on a sure thing. By selecting injury-prone Sam Bradford instead of Ndamukong Suh overall, the Rams proved once again that some teams think making the “sexy pick” (as a college friend of mine calls it) is far more important than making a pick of substance.
Maybe Rams General Manager Bill Devaney didn’t watch the Big XII championship game. If he would have, there would be no way he could pass on Suh.
Having not watched Suh play an entire game before the Nebraska vs. Texas showdown, I, like many others, thought there was no way the new Husker black-shirt defense could slow the high-powered Texas offense led by Heisman candidate Colt McCoy.
It did, though, and Suh proved to be the best player in college football that day just by the way he controlled the entire game from the line of scrimmage.
But memory fades fast, and through the evaluations over the post-season, pre-draft period, Devaney, coach Steve Spagnuolo and the rest of the Rams’ “experts” wanted to go with the underclassman from Oklahoma instead of improving upon a defense that gave up 5,965 total yards and 54 touchdowns in 2009.
The Rams would argue drafting the college spread-offense quarterback will help the Rams become the “greatest show on turf” again, but to me, Bradford raises too many questions about the decision to pass on Suh.
How is his health?
Bradford only played two full seasons in college. He hurt his shoulder against BYU in the Sooners’ season opener and never recovered fully, having to miss the entire season after re-injuring the shoulder against Texas Oct. 17.
Is he proven?
After redshirting his freshman year, Bradford started for the Sooners in 2007 and led the Sooners to an 11-3 and 6-2 record and a Big XII title. The Sooners fell to West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl.
His sophomore year he led the Sooners to a 12-2 and 7-1 record, a Big XII title and a second-place BCS finish. OU fell to Florida, 24-14, in the national title game.
Bradford also won the Heisman in 2008.
Pretty impressive, but Bradford’s accomplishments came with a team that had four first-round draft picks, including offensive lineman Trent Williams—the fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Rams 2010 prediction: 3-13, first overall pick in 2011 draft, will select defensive player.
The Rams do not have a solid offensive line, so the risk in taking the previously injured Bradford, who is not used to having blitzers in his face, is too much of gamble.
It will be a couple years before Bradford could make an impact, and the Rams have too many other areas to improve on.
Lions 2010 prediction: 8-8, miss playoffs, Suh is defensive rookie of the year.
On the other hand, the Lions will immediately become a better football team because of the draft of Suh and late first-round selection Jahvid Best. Suh will have an immediate impact on defense and will eventually be a hall-of-famer.