Listing Sam Bradford as a Top-10 Quarterback — my day has just been made.
At long last, someone finally agrees with me that the Minnesota Vikings signal-caller has the tools to become a top-10 quarterback this season.
Bradford landed at No. 6 — between Seattle’s Russell Wilson (5th) and Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota (7th) on Bleacher Report’s Doug Farrar’s Week 1 QB Rankings. That said, Lindsey Young of the official Vikings team website stated that Farrar did specify that his rankings were done based on “past performance, offseason movement, player acquisitions and future projections,” as opposed to a game-by-game performance analysis.
Here’s a look at what Farrar had to say about Bradford:
“When the Vikings traded for Sam Bradford following Teddy Bridgewater’s horrible August 2016 knee injury, it was unclear what the team was getting. Bradford, the first overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Oklahoma, was a star in college but had gone through transitions of both injury and inconsistency throughout his professional career. Early on with the Rams, he was limited by his offensive game plans and the talent around him, and his own difficulty staying on the field—among other injuries, he missed the entire 2014 season with a torn ACL. Bradford had a bit of a professional resurgence in Philly in 2015, but it was after the Vikings deal that he was able to show everything he can do.
Despite an indifferent running game, and without a top-flight group of receivers, Bradford set a single-season NFL record with a 71.6 percent completion rate in 2016, completing 395 of 552 passes for 3,877 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. The low pick rate and high completion percentage would indicate that Bradford had a lot of success with short passes, and that’s true.
But he also posted the third-highest quarterback rating on passes 20 or more yards in the air, completing 23 of 47 such throws for 754 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. The deep ball wasn’t a primary component of Bradford’s game—it was more important to get him working in a new system and extending drives with completions—but he’s no risk-averse Alex Smith, and given his overall deep accuracy, don’t be at all surprised if he heaves the ball downfield more in 2017.
And that’s the real story of Bradford’s 2016—he learned a different system and was entirely efficient despite perhaps the worst pass-blocking offensive line in the league. Bradford is able to do this because of his great accuracy, and that starts with his mechanics—he steps into throws with efficient motion, and he also throws with the sense of anticipation that will allow his receivers to move into defined openings. That sense of timing elevates him in to the NFL’s top level at the position. Only Aaron Rodgers had a better quarterback rating under pressure last season than Bradford’s 87.7, and with the Vikings upgrading their offensive line a bit in the offseason, that should help a bit.
Bradford will be a free agent after the 2017 season, and at 29, he has a lot of good years left if he can stay healthy. The Vikings should consider him their franchise quarterback, because he’s already played as if he is.”
And there you have it — Sam Bradford is the best quarterback of all time … relax, I’m only kidding.
But wait… Pro Football Focus also weighed in on the matter and — Damn! — he’s No. 19; what gives?
PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS
No. 19 — SAM BRADFORD, MINNESOTA
2015 PFF Grade/Rank: 86.2/11
2016 PFF Grade/Rank: 83.4/11
Key Statistic: Bradford led the league with an adjusted completion percentage of 80.9 percent in 2016.
THE BORMAN BREAKDOWN
I’m not sure how a guy that’s been graded as the number eleven quarterback each of the past two seasons can be ranked at number nineteen. Plus, look at all those numbers. Bradford is outside the top ten in only two categories. But I digress. They’re entitled to their opinion.
Like the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand noted, Bradford is either borderline elite or borderline terrible, depending on who you ask.
I’m on record as saying Bradford will be a top-ten quarterback in 2017. He has more explosive playmakers surrounding him this season and a revamped offensive line. He’s also had an entire offseason to further grasp the offense. The 6-4, 224-pound signal caller has been underrated his whole career. I expect that continue until Bradford can lead his team on a playoff run.