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Monday, March 29, 2010
Thoughts on Bradford as workout nears

By Mike Sando

The Rams should feel better about Sam Bradford's prospects as the No. 1 overall choice in the 2010 draft after watching the quarterback work out Monday at the University of Oklahoma.

The session, which begins at noon ET, is a setup. That's the reality of pro days featuring elite prospects. They are choreographed to make the stars look good. Quarterbacks throw to their own receivers at their own stadiums on their own terms, without having to worry about coverages or pass rushes. It's tough for great college players to look bad under those circumstances.

The first pro day I attended helped Ryan Leaf cement his status as one of the top two choices in the 1998 draft. Colts president Bill Polian and then-Chargers general manager Bobby Beathard stood on the field at Washington State's Martin Stadium with straight faces while Leaf showed off his obvious physical skills.

If either personnel evaluator had known Leaf would bomb in the NFL, neither would have wasted his time in Pullman that day.

Rams GM Billy Devaney worked under Beathard at the time. The Leaf experience, coupled with his experience in Atlanta during the Michael Vick saga, left Devaney more focused than ever on a quarterback's maturity, character and overall ability to comport himself as a franchise player. Bradford appears to have convinced the Rams on those fronts. His workout Monday is significant for them mostly because Bradford still must prove he has overcome the shoulder injury that ended his 2009 season.

Bradford's surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, has vouched for the shoulder in conversations with the Rams and Redskins, Peter King notes. Bradford would have to struggle pretty badly during his pro day to hurt his draft stock. I have a hard time thinking that will happen under the circumstances.