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Friday, April 22, 2011
Sam Bradford's place among NFL QBs

By Mike Sando

Sam Bradford went through a six-game stretch last season featuring 11 touchdowns, one interception and the St. Louis Rams' first road victory.

The rookie then tossed one touchdown pass with six interceptions over the Rams' final five games, a reminder that even the most promising young NFL quarterbacks will hit rough patches along the way.

Bradford was the NFL's 25th-rated passer by season's end. Only Carolina's Jimmy Clausen, another rookie, ranked lower than Bradford in yards per attempt among 32 quarterback with enough passes to qualify.

Overall, Bradford showed toughness in taking every snap from center despite absorbing hard hits. He set rookie records for completions, attempts and most victories by a quarterback drafted first overall since the 1970 merger. Only Peyton Manning has thrown for more yards as a rookie. Only Manning (26), Charlie Conerly (22), Dan Marino (20) and Jim Plunkett (19) threw more touchdown passes than Bradford (18) as a rookie.

All of this made Bradford a driving force behind the Rams' six-game improvement in the standings. His presence in St. Louis lets the Rams, more than any NFC West team, point to a bright future.

How bright is the future for Bradford? It's an upset if he makes ESPN.com's list of 10 best quarterbacks, set to be released Tuesday. It's also an upset, in my view, if he's not pushing for a spot on the list in the not-to-distant future.

What say you? I'll revisit the poll and comments section when the quarterback power rankings run Tuesday.