Can Landry Jones Be a Better Pro Prospect Than Sam Bradford?
Oklahoma hasn't had the richest history at the quarterback position over its existence.
The program began in 1895 and is the most successful program of the modern era (post World War II) with 567 wins and a winning percentage of .763 since 1945.
The program has seven national championships, 43 conference championships, 152 All-Americans (74 consensus) and five Heisman Trophy winners.
In addition, the school has had five coaches and 17 players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and holds the record for the longest winning streak in Division I-FBS history with 47 straight victories.
With all this being said, guys like Sam Bradford, Jason White and now Landry Jones are now starting to blossom into the all-time greats at the quarterback position for this prestigious school.
This is because former coach Barry Switzer ran the Wishbone offense to perfection, which rarely involved the quarterback throwing a pass.
Now that you've had your history lesson on Oklahoma football, an intriguing two part question appears. What should we expect from the number one ranked Sooners this season? as well as which player was or will be more pro ready.
In this article, I'll predict Oklahoma's upcoming season, and I will throw out an offering to who I think will be the better pro prospect between Sam Bradford and Landry Jones if the 2011 season was already over.
Predicting the 2011 Season for Oklahoma
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The man pictured above has been nothing but a model of consistency for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Bob Stoops has a combined record of 117–28 (.807) during his tenure at the school. He has only lost two games in Norman and currently holds the nation's longest home winning streak at 33 consecutive games.
He also has the most wins of the decade of any BCS school with 109 (2000–present). Along with Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer, he is one of four coaches to win over 100 games at the University of Oklahoma.
No other college football program has more than three coaches to accomplish such a feat.
Expect nothing less from Stoops this year.
Oklahoma, which has played in Bowl Championship Series title games four times since 2000, tops the preseason coaches’ poll for the first time since 2003. The last school to be ranked No. 1 before the season and win the BCS championship was USC in 2004.
This proves to how difficult it is to hold on to enormous pressure and expectations throughout an entire season. As we look at Oklahoma's schedule, only three games stand out to me as potential upsets for the Sooners.
Those games would be in Week 2 when the Sooners travel to Tallahassee to take on the Seminoles, a Nov. 5th battle with Texas A&M in Norman and the final game of the regular season when the Sooners take on in-state rival Oklahoma State.
The road to a BCS National Title game is easier than in past seasons for the Sooners, due to the fact that Red River rival Texas is down.
When all is said and done, I expect the Sooners to go undefeated during the regular season and eventually play for the BCS National Title game in the Superdome with them facing either Alabama or the Oregon Ducks.
I expect Oklahoma to beat either of those two teams and to win the National Championship during the 2011 season.
Now let's see who I expect to to viewed as the better pro prospect between Sam Bradford and Landry Jones, when Landry decides to head to the NFL.
Making the Case for Sam Bradford
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Strengths for Bradford included:
- Elite decision maker, rarely throws into double coverage.
- Accuracy, completed 68 percent of his passes.
- Above average arm strength, has ability to fit ball into tight windows but is not winning a long ball contest.
Weaknesses for Bradford included:
- Lack of bulk. Height was not a problem, but Bradford was told to add 15 pounds to his frame.
- Does he have the ability to make pre-snap adjustments while dropping back?
These were the strengths and weaknesses that the experts were talking about leading up to the 2010 draft, but there is no question that Sam Bradford had all the intangibles coming out of college.
He was tall, had a strong arm and could thread the needle with the best of them.
Bradford was amazing during the 2008 season, he threw for an astounding 4,700 yards that year and was only a redshirt sophomore. The quarterback also tossed 50 scores through the air while limiting his interceptions to only eight.
That season allowed him to win the Heisman Trophy, and many expected Bradford to venture over to green pastures or something we like to call the NFL.
We all know this was not the case.
Bradford announced that he would forgo the 2009 NFL draft to return to Oklahoma for his junior season. In the Sooners' first game of the season (against Brigham Young), Bradford suffered a third degree AC joint sprain one play after becoming Oklahoma's all-time passing leader.
Playing without Bradford for the second half of the game, Oklahoma went on to lose 13–14 leading the way for none other than Landry Jones.
Even though Bradford still went No. 1 overall in the draft, this ultimately hurts his stock when comparing him as a better pro prospect. Without the injury, Bradford probably wins head over heals, but I guess we will never know.
I give Bradford an A- grade coming out after his junior season. Most experts were unsure of how the injury would affect him causing his stock to drop ever so slightly.
Making the Case for Landry Jones
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Strengths for Jones include:
- Has shown he can throw the ball well on the move when the pocket breaks down.
- Has had no issues with durability and is built to take a hit.
- Is an accurate quarterback who can fit passes into tight windows. At times will get a little high on deep passes, but doesn't put his receivers in a bad spot.
Weaknesses for Jones include:
- Has had some trouble against zone blitzes and disguised blitzes.
- When pulling back from underneath center, Landry needs to move around at a much better pace.
The above are the strengths and weaknesses that Landry Jones possesses leading up to the 2011 season. Jones is the ideal quarterback but has some minor weaknesses that need to be improved before he enters next year's draft.
Jones only received his opportunity during the 2009 season because of Sam Bradford's injury, but he definitely made the most of it.
Jones earned his first start against Idaho State and threw for an impressive three touchdowns. During that season, he threw for a school-record six touchdown passes against Tulsa (previous mark of five was held by two Heisman winners, Sam Bradford and Jason White and a Heisman runner-up, Josh Heupel).
The quarterback also had six games with multiple touchdown passes.
He led all freshmen nationally with 26 TD passes and 3,198 passing yards and eclipsed Sam Bradford's freshman passing yards mark at OU (previous best was 3,121 yards).
These types of performances then set up huge expectations, which Jones proved he could follow up on.
The 2010 season was a special one for Jones. He was Sammy Baugh Award winner, and he threw for multiple TD passes in 11 of his last 14 outings.
Landry had four games of which he threw four or more TD passes, and he also threw for 300-plus yards on nine occasions during the season, second best in OU history. Landry would eventually lead his team to a Fiesta Bowl victory against Big East foe Connecticut.
This seasons expectations are as high as they can get, and rightfully so, the Sooners are expected to play for a BCS National Championship with Landry Jones as an expected Heisman trophy finalist.
As I said earlier in the article, I expect the Sooners to play for and win the national championship, so that means Jones is going to have a monster year.
A 5,000-yard passing season is not out of the question, and don't count out 50 touchdowns either. Landry has to play better away from home though. The QB threw 10 of his 14 INT on neutral or opposing teams turf, which could cost them a game this season.
After this season if everything goes to plan, I expect Landry Jones to be the better pro prospect coming out of college than Sam Bradford was, which is why I'm giving him an A grade.
I also say it one more time, if Bradford played out his three full seasons, I would have fully expected him to be ahead of Landry Jones. Jones will have three years under his belt when the season ends, which is great for any pro prospect.
Jones will contend with Andrew Luck for the top pick in the 2012 draft if he can stay healthy. Look for big things out of Jones and the Sooners in 2011.