Former Cardinals quarterback is an underrated draft bust

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Sam Bradford
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Sam Bradford /

Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford was never able to live up to the expectations that came with being the top pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Only appearing in three games for a 3-13 Arizona Cardinals team in 2018 was probably not how quarterback Sam Bradford envisioned his pro football career would come to an end when he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.

Bradford seemed like he was a sure thing coming out of Oklahoma in 2010. There were some concerns about his durability after he only appeared in three games during his final season at Oklahoma. But many still viewed Bradford as a can’t-miss type of prospect entering the 2010 draft.

The Rams agreed and took him with the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Bradford’s pro career got off to a decent start as he ended the 2010 season with the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award. But that would really turn out to be the peak of his career in the NFL.

Former Arizona Cardinals QB Sam Bradford hindered by injuries and timid decision-making in NFL career

Bradford found his way to the Cardinals in 2018 through free agency. After spending the previous two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, he became a free agent for the first time in his career.

Despite Bradford only appearing in two games for the Vikings during the 2017 campaign due to injury, Arizona still decided to hand over a one-year contract to the veteran quarterback worth $20 million that included $15 million fully guaranteed.

The Cardinals’ investment in Bradford quickly backfired as he was benched after just three games and he was released by the team before the 2018 season even came to a close.

Since that year in Arizona, Bradford hasn’t taken a snap on an NFL field. He’s still only 34-years-old, but it seems safe to say that his time as a pro football player is likely over.

There was a lot of hope for Bradford when he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Rams in 2010. But in eight years in the NFL, he had a career record of 34-48-1, a career passer rating of 84.5, and he never appeared in a playoff game.

Injuries certainly played a part in Bradford not living up to the expectations that came with being a No. 1 overall draft pick. He tore his ACL in 2013 and in 2014, and in 2017, knee problems limited his availability once again.

No one ever argued against whether Bradford had the physical tools to be a top quarterback in the NFL. He just never seemed to use those tools as frequently as he probably should have.

So was he a terrible quarterback? No, there have certainly been much worse to start under center in the NFL than Bradford.

But can he be considered a draft bust for not even coming close to reaching the potential the Rams thought he had when they used the first pick in the 2010 draft on him? Yes, he absolutely can.

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