Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman Archive
And with Bradford expected to earn $50 million in guaranteed money, that’s a lot of cash to invest on the flip of a coin.
Still, even though many top-pick quarterbacks have struggled, the overwhelming feel among NFL draft experts disagree with Dilfer and believe Bradford boasts the upside to reach big-time success in the NFL.
"I really think a lot of Sam Bradford,” former NFL coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden told The Oklahoman
. "When you meet Sam, when you stand next to Bradford, you feel like you’re standing next to Vinny Testaverde physically. This is a big man, every bit of 6-foot-5, closing in on 240 pounds. He is really an imposing figure. I love his stroke. He can get it out of his hand quick, he can zip it, he’s got touch, he’s got mobility in the pocket. He’s coming off an injury. He’s handled it in the right way. He tried to come back. He’s a team guy.
"I really think he has a tremendous upside.”
That upside is contingent on Bradford remaining healthy. The biggest question surrounding Bradford going into the draft season was his throwing shoulder, which was injured twice last year and eventually required season-ending surgery.
But if he stays healthy?
"The one big question mark is going to be the shoulder injury. If you can say, ‘OK, he’s healthy, he’s fine,’ then he’s going to be your No. 1 pick,” former NFL QB and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski told The Oklahoman
. "Clearly the stature in the pocket, you know big and strong, but also the ability to hang in the pocket. As I look at the young quarterbacks, that’s kind of the first thing I look for is that toughness. The one thing you have to do in the National Football League is look down that gun barrel and take a hit. And if you become soft in the NFL, you have no chance to play. So I look for a guy who will hang in the pocket and deliver the football and Sam Bradford will do that. He has a quick, compact and smooth throwing motion. His ball position, his drop, is very good. He has a little bit of tendency to over stride at times. But for the most part, when I look at Sam Bradford, I see a guy like Troy Aikman, a big, statuesque quarterback in that pocket that can throw the football.
"When you look at Sam, the upside is incredible.”