Will Sam Bradford be David Carr or Troy Aikman?October 2, 2012
The St. Louis Rams had high hopes for Sam Bradford when they selected him with the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. After a magical sophomore season at Oklahoma, Bradford won the Davey O’Brien Award, the Sammy Baugh trophy, was named the AP College Football Player of the Year and beat out Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow for the Heisman. After passing on the 2009 NFL Draft to repeat that magic, Bradford suffered two injuries, the latter of which ended his Junior season. Bradford showed promise during his rookie campaign, breaking Peyton Manning’s record for completed passes by a rookie and joined Manning and Matt Ryan as just the third rookie quarterback to start all 16 games and throw for over 3,000 yards. The Rams improved to 7-9, and people were looking ahead to great things from Bradford and the Rams the following season. They didn’t come. An injury limited Bradford to 10 games last season, and he only won one, while throwing for a modest 6 touchdowns and 6 picks. Granted, the 2011 Rams were terrible all-around and Bradford had an extremely limited assortment of weapons at his disposal, it left many wondering if they’d ever see glimpses of the kid who threw 86 touchdowns in his first two seasons as a starter for the Sooners. Now we’re posing the question for you: Will Bradford’s career go the route of David Carr or Troy Aikman?
David Carr isn’t in a bad position right now. After bouncing from the Texans to the Panthers and 49ers, Carr seems to have found a (temporary) home as a backup for Eli Manning in New York. Not too bad for a journeyman QB who won the Sammy Baugh and Johnny Unitas awards as a senior at Fresno State in 2001. But if you consider that this dude was the first pick in the 2002 NFL Draft and the Houston Texans first pick ever, his career might seem a bit pedestrian. The Texans selected Carr to be their QB for the future, and that future came to an end following the 2006 season when they picked up Matt Schaub. Carr’s tenure in Texas was marked by extreme mediocrity because he simply wasn’t good enough. Every college star can’t make that successful transition to the NFL, especially quarterbacks, and it doesn’t help that he was on his back regularly in Houston. Now in his second stint with the Giants, he picked up a Super Bowl ring last year and prays that he and his career rating of 74.9 never have to enter a game in a meaningful situation.
Believe it or not, Troy Aikman and Sam Bradford have more in common than the number 8. Aikman began his college career at Oklahoma under future Cowboys coach Barry Switzer before transferring to UCLA. Aikman was an All-American during his senior season with the Bruins, winning the Davey O’Brien award and he was a finalist for the ’88 Heisman that ended up going to Barry Sanders. Aikman was selected first overall by the Cowboys in the 1989 NFL Draft, and after failing to win a game as a starter during his rookie season, went on to have one of the most storied careers of any pro quarterback. Aikman went to six straight Pro Bowls during the ’90s, and led the Cowgirls too three Super Bowl victories, walking away with Super Bowl XXVII MVP honors after his four TD performance. Aikman retired in 2000 after several concussions, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He ended his career as the Cowboys all-time leader in passing yards, and 90 of his career wins were during the ’90s, the most by any quarterback during a decade until both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady surpassed him.
So what does the future hold for Sam Bradford? Well, after 2 1/4 seasons, it’s still a little too early to tell. Things just didn’t go well for David Carr early in his career, and as I said before, he just wasn’t that good. Troy Aikman overcame a horrible rookie season to become a three-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Famer, but he also played on some of the best teams in NFL history and with an impenetrable offensive line. Bradford doesn’t have anything near that type of talent in St. Louis, so maybe he’d benefit from playing for another team if the Rams can’t attract some (good luck with that). More than likely, he’ll end up somewhere between Carr and Aikman, which would make him an average NFL quarterback. That’s a fair assessment until he proves otherwise.