Well after months of debate, the "experts" finally decided that the Rams should draft a quarterback first overall instead of Ndamukong Suh. Let's face it, the Rams are primed and ready for a young signal caller. They've got last year's first rounder Jason Smith to take care of his blind side, super-stud Steven Jackson to run the ball, and a young receiver, who'll be happy to catch some deep bombs, in Donnie Avery. The question is: is Sam Bradford the right guy?
Drafting a guy number one overall, especially a quarterback, is a big deal— and a really big investment (probably 40-45 million guaranteed). Even without a salary cap a miss could set your franchise back ten years (the Browns still haven't recovered from drafting Tim Couch in 1999).
Sure, Sam Bradford looks the part of an NFL quarterback. He's a big guy with a quick release. He's a smart guy too. He blew the bottom off the Wunderlich scoring a 36 (the average for a quarterback is 24). And let's face it, he would've been number one overall last year. But is he ready for the pros?
What do we really know about Bradford? Sure his sophomore season was sensational— a Heisman Trophy and a trip to the BCS Championship— but his junior campaign was ended by BYU before it started. He's taken most of his snaps from the shotgun, so we don't know how he'll handle a pro-style offense, and with Oklahoma's offensive line he's never really had to deal with pressure (except against BYU).
Jimmy Clausen is another story. Notre Dame didn't have a winning season the whole time he was there (unless you count the win in the Hawai'i Bowl in 2008). He didn't have a pair of top sixty picks watching his blind side (Loadholt in 2009 and Williams this year), but there were times when he was absolutely sensational.
In Clausen's final collegiate game he was spectacular completing 23-30 passes for 340 yards and five touchdowns with no picks. Granted, it was in a losing effort, but Charlie Weis' inability to manage a game was evident all year (the Irish lost six games by less than seven points). The porous Irish defense and Heisman finalist Toby Gerhart were pretty big factors too.
Having Weis as a coach, though, is the biggest reason the Rams should take Clausen. There's probably never been a quarterback (certainly not a junior) to come out more NFL ready than Clausen. He's spent the last three years learning to be a quarterback from the guy who groomed Tom Brady. Sure, as a head coach (in college), Weis was marginal at best, but you can't argue with his three Super Bowl rings.
Now it looks like the Browns want to make a move for Bradford. The Rams should pull the trigger on that trade. Cleveland will have to give up (at the least) this year's first and second rounders and probably a first round pick next year to jump up to one.
Even if they don't make the trade, the Rams should seriously consider Clausen. Sam Bradford will probably develop into a solid starter, but these days first round quarterbacks are expected to start from day one. Jimmy Clausen is ready now and with the kind of pounding Steven Jackson has taken over the years, I hope for his sake the Rams start to win soon.