No. 1 or Not, Sam Bradford Headed for Matt Leinart-Like Career

Josh Brewer@AlwaysBrewingCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 05:  Quarterback Sam Bradford #14 of the Oklahoma Sooners at Cowboys Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Leading a big-time college football program to multiple BCS bowls and racking up personal accolades along the way is great...in college. This type of success doesn't guarantee pro success, though—ask Jason White, Chris Weinke or Danny Wuerffel.

Or Matt Leinart.

Since coming into the league in 2006, Leinart has done next to nothing. He held out of training camp and was the last 2006 draftee to sign. Instead of growing as a pro and competing for a starting job, Leinart has sat the bench in Arizona for the last two years.

Enter Matt Leinart version 2.0, ready to bring high hopes to St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Seattle, or some other locale with an NFL franchise looking for their quarterback of the future.

2010's Matt Leinart doppelganger is Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.

Coming out of USC, Leinart was criticized by some for being a product of a system that avoided his weaknesses while surrounding him with some of the best skill players in the nation.

Bradford may not have had a Reggie Bush or Steve Smith with him at Oklahoma, but many consider Bradford to be the benefactor of Bob Stoops' offensive scheme—or, more simply, a system quarterback.

Leinart's physical tools were everything pro scouts looked for...except when it came to arm strength.  Whether it comes down to the AC joint damage done this past season or not, Bradford's biggest physical question mark is his arm strength.

To compensate for lack of arm strength, Leinart was praised for his accuracy both in college and leading up to the draft. Bradford commands serious praise for his ability to thread the proverbial needle to get his receivers the ball, but without the zip on those tight passes, it just isn't the same.

Heck, the guys are practically the same size. Leinart stands 6'5" and weighs in around 230 pounds. Bradford is 6'4" and weighs a hair under 230.

With all the pre-draft measurables and college achievements aside, Bradford doesn't jump out as anything other than another big-time college quarterback not built for the NFL.

Because of his arm strength, Bradford's success is limited; any offensive gameplans that.  Would a team like Buffalo or Seattle want a quarterback who has a hard time throwing when it isn't 70 degrees and sunny?

Durability has started to become a concern for Bradford as well. Bradford was injured late in his freshman season and had his well-documented shoulder injury this year. While his concussion in 2007 wasn't much to concern anyone about, the severity and long-term effects of his right shoulder injury—and subsequent offseason surgery—raise legitimate question marks.

Bradford posted astronomical numbers in his three season in Norman, but most of the snaps Bradford took were out of the shotgun formation. One of the biggest questions surrounding Florida's Tim Tebow regards his ability to work from under center, and while Bradford isn't as far off as Tebow is, Bradford still has plenty of work to do.

When all is said and done, Bradford will likely be a top-10 pick solely because one team's desire for a franchise quarterback. In 2010, a team looking for their future under center would be better suited drafting Jimmy Clausen.

After all, Matt Leinart never became "The Man" in the NFL. Don't expect Bradford to do so either.


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