And what’s truly amazing about this is that their last three quarterbacks have been Mark Sanchez (career bust), Nick Foles (inaccurate) and Michael Vick (washed up).
This has been the type of production that head coach Chip Kelly has been able to get out of less-heralded signal callers in his three-year tenure. So we can only imagine that he’s salivating over the prospect of what Sam Bradford can do for the Eagles.
Taken with the first pick out of Oklahoma six years ago, Bradford has always managed to play well…when he’s on the field anyways. The 27-year-old has accumulated 11,065 passing yards, 59 TDs and 38 INTs – all for a respectable 79.3 QBR, despite often having little to work with. But the problem for Bradford has definitely been staying on the field since he’s missed 31 games in his first five seasons, including 25 over the past two years.
Bradford still has the Potential to be a Huge Star in Philadelphia
Despite his injury problems, Bradford still has the talent to be one of the top five quarterbacks in the league. Watching Bradford’s pro day workout at Oklahoma, NFL scouting legend Gil Brandt called it the most-impressive that he’d seen since Troy Aikman (1989). The Eagles themselves were impressed with Bradford’s potential, calling him the best QB in the draft since Peyton Manning (1998).
Former Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, who coached Bradford from 2009-11, strongly believes that the same potential is still there, regardless of what he’s done so far.
“Trust me when I tell you he’s got all the skills, and I keep going back to the fierce competitor because I believe elite quarterbacks in this league have that,” said Spagnuolo. “You think of them all, the Aaron Rodgers, the Tom Bradys, the Peyton Mannings, Eli Mannings, they’re all very fierce competitors. They love the challenge. They love to rally people around them, and Sam has that. I really believe that.”
Teams placed High Value on Bradford
The praise and press clippings that Bradford once garnered for his abilities aren’t a thing of the past; they’re still here. The Cleveland Browns believed this so much that they were willing to give up a first-round pick for Bradford – despite the QB tearing his ACL in back-to-back seasons. Philly ultimately settled on a swap where the main pieces moving were Nick Foles to the Rams and Bradford to the Eagles.
The things that coaches still love about the 6’4″, 235-pound quarterback, aside from his size of course, are his big arm, pocket instincts, incredible accuracy and strong athleticism – pretty much everything you could want from a top quarterback.
What’s stands in Bradford’s Way of Success?
The obvious roadblock to success with the Eagles would be Bradford’s most-recent ACL tear, which has hampered his ability to practice. And this could make for an interesting QB duel in Philadelphia with Sanchez still hunting for the top spot.
Then of course there’s the fact that Bradford has yet to truly capitalize on his immense talents. His best numbers include his 2012 campaign, where he threw for 3,702 yards, 21 TDs and 13 INTs. These are strong numbers, but they don’t approach the Andrew Luck’s or Drew Brees’ of the world. And his best record with St. Louis is 7-9, which happened twice in his tenure there.
Here’s why Bradford will be Great
Chip Kelly believes in Bradford more than anybody else, identifying him as a “special talent who can make this offense soar.” This essentially means that, even with Sanchez in town, the job is Bradford’s to lose.
Another factor going in Bradford’s favor is that he’ll be playing with stellar weapons for the first time in his life, particularly a deep running attack (DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, Darren Sproles) that will set up all kinds of play-action opportunities for Bradford.
The key will be staying healthy; if this happens, then Bradford could easily put up the best numbers of his career and realize his potential as an elite NFL quarterback.