St. Louis Rams: Is Sam Bradford a Franchise Quarterback?

Doug ZerjalContributor IINovember 10, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 06:  Quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Rams 19-13.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As the Rams endure another painful season, many St . Louis football fans have speculated on what the hapless Rams might do in the 2012 NFL draft.

The 2012 NFL draft will have little drama at the top. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is the surefire No. 1 selection. He is a seemingly flawless NFL prospect and one many hapless teams covet.

IF the Rams had the No. 1 pick, some have speculated that Luck is the better choice than Bradford for St. Louis’ future.  In another vein, some fans have wondered whether Bradford is a true “franchise” quarterback.

The answer is undoubtedly and unequivocally yes. Bradford is a great quarterback and the cornerstone of this team’s future.

Bradford left Oklahoma after an injury-plagued 2009 season. He did win the 2008 Heisman Trophy, but suffered a shoulder injury the following season, prematurely ending his junior year.

Some people forget Bradford’s process heading up to the draft that year. His injury was scrutinized and analyzed. He never complained during the process. He answered all questions truthfully and has shown that his shoulder was healed through two seasons.

He had a near flawless pro day that some people compared to the famous Troy Aikman pre-draft workout.

It seems a bit early to judge Bradford after two seasons. In fact, it seems too early to judge him after just one up-and-down, injury-ridden season.

Remember that Bradford was the 2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. It seemed that the Rams had plenty of momentum heading into the 2011 season after nearly making the playoffs a year ago.

Keep in mind he began this season under the tutelage of a new offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels and a new “west coast” system. Bradford and the offense did not have the offseason to perfect the new scheme due to the NFL labor stoppage.

Bradford is a franchise quarterback through and through. He has all the intangibles. He never speaks poorly of his teammates in the press. He seems to play with an even temperament no matter if things are going well or poorly. He is a great leader, and the Rams are lucky to have him at the most important position on their team.

The team has to continue to get better around Bradford going forward. Even with the addition of Brandon Lloyd from Denver, the receiving corps needs to be upgraded. The injuries to Danny Amendola and now Greg Salas haven’t helped Bradford’s situation, either.

Be patient St. Louis. You have a franchise quarterback. Andrew Luck might be a future star, but Sam Bradford is the right man for the job.