- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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Williamson: The question I’m asked the most is, 'Give me your list of top QBs in the league.' I never really considered Ryan a top seven or eight guy. But then watching him against Baltimore, he has been so solid all year that he might be that next one for me, which would put him at seven or eight on my list. He is now with the Eli Mannings of the world. Not the Philip Rivers or Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger types, but in that Eli Manning and Tony Romo tier. The arrow is pointing up.
Sando: What separates Ryan from that top group?
Williamson: More of a body of work. The offense in general is run-first. It is pretty quarterback-friendly. That doesn’t detract from him. They are so well coached, they have given everything to him very slowly, they have been very QB-friendly. That offensive line is a bunch of no-names, but they are really good collectively. Roddy White is peaking with Ryan. He is one or two years older than Ryan, but they are really growing up together. They spent big to land Michael Turner and hit on him. They are a very physical offense, run-first in nature, and they use a lot of big, heavy personnel. But it is getting to the point now where Atlanta is controlling the football against the Ravens, dominating time of possession, but they couldn’t run the ball. Usually it was Turner pounding you with a fullback and two tight ends, control the clock, play-action, make Ryan a glorified game-manager type. But you watched that against a team that stops the run well and they still accomplished the same goals with Ryan, not Turner.
Sando: What do you see in Bradford relative to Ryan?
Williamson: Poise. They both have a pocket presence. Ryan is clearly further along, but I think Bradford throws the football better and he is still a young man. Both will mature physically. Bradford has more upside as a passer-thrower than Ryan. Ryan is way ahead of him in terms of knowing the game and all the things that come with experience. He has a way better supporting cast. A No. 1 wideout on that Rams team would be huge. They have Steven Jackson, they have a running game that scares people, they are starting to have a defense to put the offense in better field position.
Sando: Should landing a top wide receiver stand as the top offseason priority for the Rams?
Williamson: Yes. Even if you bring back Mark Clayton and if Donnie Avery is healthy, I still think you need an Andre Johnson or the closest thing to it you can find. Trade up and get the second-best receiver in the draft, or even like a Vincent Jackson in the veteran market. I thought it was a huge pat on Bradford’s back how well he did with Clayton. Guys who were average receivers elsewhere, he really got a lot out of. Usually you bring the rookies along. You do not have the rookies bring along the supporting cast. You could really make a case that the Rams might be winless without Bradford.