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Sam Bradford: Top-10 NFL Quarterback?!

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?



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.


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.

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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and previously wrote for Rant Sports. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBoarMan.

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  1. Oh God, please no. Stop this madness. Bradford is a slightly below average quarterback who is terrible in the clutch. Numbers lie all the time. HE DOESN’T WIN FOR GODS SAKE! Its the intangibles that he is missing. That “IT” Factor that certain guys have that brings a team together. Call it what you want, Bradford doesn’t have it. He consistently fails to make clutch plays in pressure situations, and its apparent in the body language of the team that there is a certain chemistry missing. Not to mention he has shown to be brittle in the past with two serious knee injuries and a shoulder and he’s pushing 30 yrs old. I hope I am wrong with intense sincerity. I hope Bradford leads us to greatness. But in my opinion we “might” be able to win with him, but definitely not because of him. He is strictly a rental to bridge us until either Teddy is healthy, or we draft our next QB of the future. Again, I hope he lights it up and we win every game. But I severely doubt it.

    1. “Intangibles” is what people who do not understand football use to justify their opinions, because facts are hard for some people.

      “he has shown to be brittle”

      Bradford has never had half of his leg almost fall off in a non-contact team practice, so at least he has that going for him. If only that were true for every QB on the roster.

      1. Your last paragraph shows how little your brain is. Making fun of a terrible injury… but of course I’m sure you don’t know any better.
        Weren’t you chased off this site? Or maybe you said you’d never post here again?

        1. I am not that surprised that you are unable to deal with a candid comment from someone who is vastly more intelligent than you, better educated, and views the world from the same perspective as the people who make all the important decisions which shape this world. After all, you view the world from the perspective of who and what you are. Condolences.

          “Weren’t you chased off this site?”

          How delusional are you? How would anyone chase me off this site, by saying mean things to me? If they were capable of making a valid point, I would concede that point. That is how adults learn, and improve who they are. I have done that my entire life. That is how I became an objectively better person than someone like you.

          Your entire comment is just representative of the lowest common denominator, who consistently believe their limited understanding of the world somehow has merit. It does not. If I wanted to be you, I would be you. Instead, I decided to be someone who could advance human civilization. I don’t regret any of that.

          If I don’t reply to any retort you offer, it is not because you “chased me off”. It is because you are not that interesting, and do not merit more of my time.

          1. Mike… the statement about Teddy’s injury is all this is about. It was an absurd attempt of humor? All this rambling… means nothing. A little advice.. don’t take yourself too serious. There is one very important decision for everyone. It shapes my view of the world. My apologies for the insult about your brain.

  2. There is a substantial percentage of the Viking fan base who have an irrational hatred of Bradford. If Bridgewater had not been drafted, those same fans would be falling all over themselves, proclaiming their love for Bradford.

    Admittedly, I do not get emotionally invested in individual football players. I am a fan of the Vikings. That never changes, even when players arrive and leave on a regular basis. As long as a player does not embarrass the team and the league by getting indicted for a felony, I really only care about what they do on the field.

    Bradford is the best QB this team has had since Favre left, and it isn’t even a close call.

    Immediately after the first Packer game last year, I tagged Bradford as a #6 to #10 QB. There is a case to be made that he is only a #11 to #16 QB, but anything outside of the #6 to #16 range is really rather ludicrous. Given the level of QB play this team has had recently, I can live with that.

  3. ““Intangibles” is what people who do not understand football use to justify their opinions, because facts are hard for some people.”

    A win/loss record is not an “intangible”, and Sam’s contributions toward his record versus Teddy’s contribution toward his record tell a story. Kind of silly stating Sam is clearly better than Teddy, since that truly is the ultimate measure of quarterbacks surrounded by fairly equivalent talent, which they were.

    1. Wins and losses are not a QB stat, because there is more than one player on a team. Of course, teams also change from year to year, the schedule is different every single year, and in a parity league random chance plays a meaningful role in the outcome of a handful of games every season.

      Bridgewater does a good job handing off the ball. His throwing mechanics are horrendous, he has a weak arm which makes it difficult for him to throw into tight windows, and he struggles to read complex NFL defenses which makes him hold the ball too long.

      Bridgewater turned Mike Wallace from a near 1,000 yard receiver into a 400 yard receiver. Wallace left, and instantly became a 1,000 yard receiver again. Wallace even made a candid comment on the need to find a team with a quality QB. Afterwards, he felt obligated to walk those comments back, not because they were incorrect, but because we now live in a society where people feel entitled to not hear the truth.

      Bridgewater is a starting QB in this league, but only because there are 32 teams and not 32 NFL quality QBs available. He is somewhere between #25 to #32. I’d offer up a more precise estimate of his ranking, but he simply is not important enough to rate with more precision. This video always reminds me of what Bridgewater really is as an NFL QB: