Mike Sando of ESPN.com recently released his second annual “quarterback tiers” project and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford ranked 23rd overall. Sando’s project is unique in that there is a voting panel involved that includes 35 “league insiders” including coaches and evaluators. The rankings were broken up into five tiers with 1 obviously being reserved for the best quarterbacks in the NFL and 5 being for the absolute worst of the bunch, although no quarterback fell that far this year.
Here’s exactly how the tiers were explained for Sando’s starting quarterback rankings for the upcoming season:
"• Tier 1 quarterbacks can carry their teams week after week and contend for championships without as much help.• Tier 2 QBs are less consistent and need more help, but good enough to figure prominently into a championship equation.• Tier 3 are quarterbacks who are good enough to start but need lots of support, making it tougher to contend at the highest level.• Tier 4 is typically reserved for unproven starters or those who might not be expected to last in the lineup all season. Voters used the fifth tier sparingly."
So where exactly did Eagles projected starting quarterback Sam Bradford rank on the list? He finished tied for 23rd overall with Minnesota Vikings up and coming quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. That isn’t such bad company when many consider Bridgewater a rising star in the NFL. But then you look up at who is ahead of Bradford and that’s where things get a bit questionable.
Ranked directly ahead of Bradford at 22nd overall is none other than, you guessed it, former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. Anyone that watched Foles last year would understand why someone would question that ranking for him. He looked like a completely different quarterback than the one that was on the field for the Eagles in 2013. Foles was constantly concerned about pressure that wasn’t really there and never looked comfortable.
It’s understandable for Bradford to be ranked so low prior to the season, especially since we don’t even know if he’ll ever even see the field for a consistent amount of time in 2015. Yet the insiders seemed to be all over the place in terms of their personal opinions of where Bradford should rank. It appears that some people still love him while others think he should be no more than a backup quarterback…wait, what!?
Here’s exactly what the insiders had to say about where Bradford stands among starting quarterbacks in the NFL:
"Bradford fell a bit in the rankings based on his inability to stay healthy in recent seasons, making just seven of 32 potential starts since 2013.“I thought he was a 2 coming out because I did not see the big arm,” a head coach said. “No one could tell from his pro day because [agent] Tom Condon wouldn’t let him throw any deep comebacks. He has the intangibles, but you have to give him a 3 or 4 just because he is always hurt. Frankly, you probably want him to be your backup, just for his availability.”A defensive coordinator said he thought Bradford could flourish playing in Philadelphia because the Eagles’ play-action game could buy him time he did not have in St. Louis. This coordinator added that Bradford would be an upgrade from Foles and Sanchez in terms of accuracy, but with the injury concerns, he placed Bradford only in the third tier.“There is no quarterback I loved more than him coming out,” a different head coach said. “I am pulling for him. If he can stay healthy, he can be so accurate. Keep him as a 3 but only because of the injury factor.”"
It’s easy to understand why everyone seems all over the place when trying to pinpoint where Bradford should rank. At the end of the day, you can only really go by what you’ve seen on the field in the NFL. Yet in Bradford’s case, the sample size is rather small compared to most other 27-year old quarterbacks due to his long list of injuries.
At the same time, it’s a bit over the top to say Bradford should be a backup quarterback in the NFL. When he’s healthy, Bradford has done reasonably well given the awful situation he was in during his time with the Rams. I’m not sure many other quarterbacks could have done much better when you factor in the offensive line and receiving “weapons” that Bradford was working with in St. Louis.
Ultimately the upcoming season with the Eagles will be a make it or break it year for Bradford. He’s obviously liking his chances of having a breakout season in Philadelphia, considering he’s choosing to play out the one year left on his deal instead of signing an extension now. It’s a big risk but certainly one that Bradford seems ready to take.
There’s a chance that following the upcoming season with the Eagles, Bradford will be in the top ten of this list next year…or not on the list at all. That’s just how the NFL works and Bradford appears ready to give it one final shot.
More from Inside the Iggles
- Eagles captains earn high praise on roster blending veteran leadership, youth
- How former Eagles star Cre’Von LeBlanc helped Renegades upstage Cowboys
- Eagles 2023 schedule: Every WR duo Darius Slay, James Bradberry will battle
- Imagining better names for Jason Kelce’s Good Guy Award
- Bold predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles offense in 2023