Yardbarker Horiz

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010 Draft Pick #1: QB or not QB?

That is the question.  And more and more the answer seems to be "yes" -- but there could be a new question:  "which team?"

March 29th was a pivotal day for the 2010 draft as Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford performed at a second Oklahoma Pro Day in front of NFL scouts.  By all accounts it went very well.  With this strong performance, Bradford could have locked himself into the Saint Louis Rams #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft.  If the Rams do indeed select him it guarantees the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one of the top two defensive tackles in the 2010 draft.  The Rams also have a private session scheduled with Bradford on April 19th, a mere three days before the draft (Chris Mortensen, ESPN).

The Rams are not the only ones eying Bradford.  The Washington Redskins are also thinking quarterback, which is not news to Stowaway regulars, but for the first time there is tangible evidence.  The Redskins have scheduled a private workout for Bradford on April 15th (again, Chris Mortensen, ESPN).  This is the first direct evidence that the Redskins are considering a quarterback selection.  However, this could be because they expect Bradford to be on the board when they pick (with the Rams, Lions, and Buccaneers all bypassing quarterback selections for other players).

Yet the timing of the personal workouts is intriguing.  There may be more going on between the Rams and Redskins than first meets the eye.

It is a bit hard to believe that Saint Louis would be waiting until three days before the draft to make a determination on Sam Bradford and their top pick.  Exactly what would they see on April 19th that would be much different than March 29th?  The only information which could be gained would be a check on the rehabilitation progress of Bradford's throwing arm following season ending surgery last fall.  I have a lingering suspicion that it could be a quick health check before contract negotiations begin.

But there is that Washington workout -- what if the Redskins really like what they see?  They have Jason Campbell (6th year) as an established quarterback and have also acquired Rex Grossman (8th year) so they appear to have room for a young quarterback to sit back and learn (or recover) for a year or two.  Is it possible that the April 15th workout is a chance to consider moving up for that top position?  Could the Redskins be the team that jumps up to #1 to get Bradford?

Finally, Cleveland and Seattle have made moves that would appear to set them up for a quarterback selection and there is news regarding both teams:  Seattle traded San Diego for quarterback Charile Whitehurst (5th year) and Cleveland announced they will be looking for a quarterback in the 2010 draft (just not until the later rounds).  Seattle's actual action appears to remove their need while Cleveland's comments are pretty much worthless in the world of NFL predraft misdirection.  At this time of year you have to doubt what teams say and look at what they do.  Regarding the Bradford workout at Oklahoma, I offer this as "what they do" evidence:

"General manager Billy Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo were among the contingent sent by the St. Louis Rams, who have the first pick in next month's draft. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary and Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren also watched."
-- Jeff Latzke  (The Associated Press)
So we have the usual suspects:  Rams, Seahawks, and Browns . . . wait, Browns?  Doesn't seem like they were very committed to looking at the "later rounds", does it?  Certainly some member of the Redskins attended as well -- probably just not a well-recognized name.  The San Francisco 49ers are a new twist.  Like Seattle, they also have two first round picks in 2010 (49ers:  #13 and #17; Seattle: #6 and #14).  Could the 49ers or Seahawks be the team that moves up to #1 and selects Bradford?

And where does that leave the other first-round-value quarterback, Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame?  His pro day is coming on April 5th.  As usual, all regional scouts will be attending.  What will be  interesting is if any coaches or front office personnel show up as well.

We are now just over four weeks out from the 2010 Draft.  Things will continue to heat up from now until that first pick.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need one team, any team, to draft somebody but the top two defensive linemen so they will get the player they want and need.  It appears Sam Bradford has significantly improved his chances of being that somebody the Buccaneers are hoping for.

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