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Quarterbacks drafted first overall: No. 12

3/10/2015

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will likely draft Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota with the No. 1 overall pick. So how does this type of thing usually work out? We continue our countdown of the 18 quarterbacks who were drafted with the top selection over the past 40 years.

Sam Bradford, 2010, St. Louis Rams

There were no surprises as the Rams took Bradford with the first pick. He had been ticketed for that spot as soon as he passed up on the opportunity to enter the 2009 draft. At first, Bradford looked like a franchise quarterback.

He set an NFL rookie record with 354 completions and was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year. But the rest of Bradford’s career hasn’t gone nearly as smoothly. He has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency, and 2015 looks like a make-or-break year for Bradford.

After a dismal 2-14 season in 2011, there was a lot of speculation that the Rams would use the second overall pick in the draft on quarterback Robert Griffin III. But that didn’t happen as the Rams traded the pick to Washington.

That was a strong sign that new coach Jeff Fisher believed Bradford could be a franchise quarterback. Fisher seemed to be rewarded for his faith as Bradford put up career-best numbers in passing yards (3,702) and touchdowns as a very young St. Louis team went a respectable 7-8-1.

The first seven games of the 2013 season brought more of the same from Bradford. But he suffered a torn left ACL in the eighth game and missed the rest of the season. After seemingly recovering from the injury, Bradford tore the same ACL in the third preseason game of 2014 and missed the entire season.

New quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke has been singing Bradford’s praises. But it’s clear that Bradford is in a situation where he has to stay healthy or else the Rams will be forced to move on.

Final analysis: Good pick.