• September 27, 2023

Sam Bradford: $50 Million Gamble With Less Than 40% Success Rate

NFL fans think the St. Louis Rams are in an enviable position to be picking number one in the draft with a possible franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford sitting there.¬† They’re really gambling $50 million dollars with a less than 40% chance that they’ll get their money’s worth out of the investment.

It does look like a great situation from a distance, but the chances of Bradford being a franchise quarterback are less than 40% ,which is a bad business decision.

It’s unbelievable how the draft experts go on and on about how great some of these top rated quarterbacks are going to be, until they start playing and turn out to be busts.

You never hear the draft experts apologize for promoting all of these busts as franchise quarterbacks.  Looking back over the last eleven drafts, we can see that less than 40%  of the quarterbacks drafted in the first round have become franchise quarterbacks.

I consider a franchise quarterback, one who becomes the face of the franchise for at least eight years and he gives the team a legitimate chance to make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl each year.

In 1999, five quarterbacks, Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, Daunte Culpepper and Cade McKnown went in the first round and got huge signing bonuses.  Only one of those picks, McNabb lived up to his billing.

In 2000, Chad Pennington was drafted in the 18th spot.

In 2001, Atlanta selected Michael Vick as the number one pick in the draft.  How do you think they feel about decision right now?

In 2002, David Carr was the top pick, Joey Harrington went third and Patrick Ramsey was the last pick of the first round.  All of them have been busts.

In 2003, Carson Palmer was the first pick of the draft, Byron Leftwich went number seven and Rex Grossman went 22nd in the first.  Palmer has been good, while Leftwich and Grossman has been unable to hold a starting job.

In 2004, Eli Manning was the first pick,  Phillip Rivers went fourth and Ben Roethlisberger went eleventh.  They have all more than lived up to being number one picks.

In 2005, David Carr was the first pick, Aaron Rodgers went number 24 and Jason Campbell went 25th.  Carr has been a bust, Rodgers has lived up to the pick and Campbell has been mediocre.

In 2006, Vince Young was the third pick, Matt Leinart went 10th and Jay Cutler went 11th.  Vince Young has shown promise in leading his team to the playoffs once.  Matt Leinart has been disappointing, while Cutler has put up numbers but not wins.

In 2007, JeMarcus Russell went number one and Brady Quinn went 22nd.  Both Russell and Quinn have been busts, so far.

In 2008, Matt Ryan went 3rd and Joe Flacco went 18th.  Both have been very good pro quarterback.

In 2009, Matt Stafford was the first pick, Mark Sanchez went number 5 and Josh Freeman went number 17.  They are all starting.

So looking back, how many of these quarterbacks who were drafted with the thinking they were going to be franchise quarterbacks, have become them.

I’m going to list McNabb, Palmer, Manning, Rivers,¬† Roethlisberger, Rodgers, Young, Cutler, Ryan, Flacco and Sanchez¬† as draft picks who have become franchise quarterbacks.¬† That’s 11 out of 29, which is only 38%.

It makes me think that trading for a good quarterback and building around him is a surer way of building a winning team than drafting a “franchise quarterback” in the first round.

That’s why you shouldn’t buy into all of the talk about Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy and how good these players are going to be.

I think Bradford is going to have quite a challenge ahead of him in St. Louis.¬† He’ll be playing without a good offensive line in front of him and he doesn’t have a number one receiver to throw the ball to.

He’s had shoulder injuries over the last year which doesn’t sound good when you think of his offensive line and that artificial turf in St. Louis.

Bottomline, there’s no guarantee that these players are going to be able to even earn a spot on the roster.¬† In truth the coaches drafting them don’t know either.

Each team thinks that every player they draft will be a good NFL player.  Think about it.  These coaches are right less than 50% of the time, despite all the scouting and video work.

That’s why the decision to draft a quarterback with the first pick or one of the top ten picks makes no sense from a business perspective because a team will risk millions of dollars on a player that they’re less than 40% sure that he will be a great player.

If¬† St. Louis thought about it clearly, I think they would trade down and let somebody else gamble that money.¬† That may be the case because they haven’t made any effort to sign Bradford early.


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April 21, 2010 8:13 am

In my opinion i liken the sam bradford situation to when carr was picked. Carr showed promise in the league and his numbers show that but he got hit more then any other qb, i think ever in the span of starting. That o-line the rams have is pretty dreadfull, They have high picks in barron and smith but they have not shown much. They have no receivers outside of avery. The team is terrible and i think if you pick bradford and make him a day one starter, which they most likely would, you are asking him to be a bust. Not to mention he played in the spread rather then a pro style which to me is not a big deal but if you are going to be the day one starter it kind of is a big deal. If he could sit for a year or half the season, then you do it. If i am them i place calls to the teams with 2 number 1s and trade out. Colt mccoy has played under center more, you could get him in the second, and next year looks to be a better qb class.

April 21, 2010 8:21 am

This is the main reason why these rookies shouldn’t be getting paid all that money. And the problem is, teams aren’t protected from it because it’s become the way of the league. So in order to draft a QB with a top pick you’ll have to give at least 40 million bucks and that’s terrible. As a top pick you only have to be productuve in college to be set for the rest of your life. Once you get that bonus it doesn’t matter if you turn out to be Joe Montana or David Carr, you’ve made a bunch of money and whatever happens you are taken care of.

While we have vets who’ve been busting their butts for years that can’t get a good deal or get dumped for younger cheaper players. This is why a lot of vets always want to restructure their deal because it many ways it isn’t fair. A guy coming out of college will make more than you and you are the best player on the team. What sense does that make?

Lancaster Eagle
Lancaster Eagle
April 21, 2010 9:20 am

I agree with loki about David Carr. I think he had the potential to be a good one, but his confidence was destroyed playing for years behind a terrible O-line. McNabb made it because Andy Reid made sure to build the O-line early on.

Its often tough to tell if the QB fails because he sucks or whether he fails because he’s put on a terrible team with poor coaching, bad O-line, bad WRs, etc.