Throughout his five-year NFL career, quarterback Sam Bradford has struggled to stay on the field. Bradford was the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and has yet to live up to the hype surrounding him entering the league. Yet now that he’s on the Philadelphia Eagles with head coach Chip Kelly at the helm, Bradford may finally be ready to make the leap everyone has been waiting for.
Throughout his first two seasons as an NFL head coach, Kelly has more than proven he can make nearly any quarterback look capable in his offense. Whether it was Michael Vick, Nick Foles or Mark Sanchez, each of them had a reasonable amount of success in Kelly’s uptempo, spread offense. Bradford has struggled a bit when he has been on the field in the NFL but that was largely due to the talent around him and the offense he was in.
That won’t be the case in Philadelphia given the assortment of receiving weapons Bradford will have around him. Kelly’s offensive scheme is also very similar to the spread attack Bradford ran during his college days at Oklahoma. I detailed earlier this offseason how Bradford will finally have legitimate talent around him, unlike his years with the Rams.
But I’m not the only one that believes Bradford will make a huge leap with the Eagles in 2015. He’s always possessed elite, franchise quarterback talent and may finally be in the right situation to showcase what he’s capable of. That’s likely why Chris Wesseling of NFL.com named Bradford as the #9 player on his “Making the Leap” countdown.
Here’s what Wesseling had to say about Bradford’s potential heading into the upcoming season with the Eagles:
"As Gregg Rosenthal wrote early last season, Chip Kelly has essentially created the quarterback-proof offense. Bolstered by Kelly’s ability to scheme defensive confusion and wide-open passing windows, Eagles quarterbacks have combined to average roughly 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns over the past two years.After squeezing top-six production out of a washed-up Michael Vick, an inaccurate Nick Foles and a mistake-prone Mark Sanchez, Kelly went out and targeted Bradford as the most physically gifted passer he has coached at the NFL level.In the lead-up to the 2010 NFL Draft, the Eagles evaluated Bradford as the best young quarterback coming out of college since Peyton Manning in 1998. NFL scouting legend Gil Brandt touted Bradford’s Oklahoma pro day workout the most impressive he had witnessed since Troy Aikman in 1989.“I’ll be one hundred percent honest with you,” long-time friend Ben Bench recently said. “Sam could have played college basketball, without a doubt. And he probably could have played a couple of other sports if he cared about them. It’s always incredible to me how athletic he is.”Rams coach Jeff Fisher once believed Bradford had the potential to develop into the best quarterback in football. Former Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo still believes Bradford can become one of the NFL’s elite signal-callers.“Trust me when I tell you he’s got all the skills, and I keep going back to the fierce competitor because I believe elite quarterbacks in this league have that,” Spagnuolo said in May. “You think of them all, the Aaron Rodgers, the Tom Bradys, the Peyton Mannings, Eli Mannings, they’re all very fierce competitors. They love the challenge. They love to rally people around them, and Sam has that. I really believe that.”"
It’s clear that Bradford has the tools it takes to succeed in the NFL. It’s just a matter of him staying healthy and being able to take advantage of the situation he’ll be in with the Eagles. Luckily for Bradford, the Eagles have a first class training staff that has helped them maintain the healthiest roster in the NFL since Kelly has taken over in the City of Brotherly Love.
What especially stands out about Wesseling’s piece is the quote from Bradford’s former coach in St. Louis. When you watch Bradford on the field, he appears to be more a laid back guy but if he’s truly as competitive as Spagnuolo says he is, that would be an interesting addition at the quarterback position that someone such as Foles didn’t really bring to the table.
All of this means absolutely nothing unless Bradford can recover fully from his knee injury and stay on the field. Hopefully when training camp opens up on August 2nd for the Eagles, Bradford will be able to participate fully and begin his journey to making the leap in 2015.
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