Heisman encoresBefore Sam Bradford, five Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks returned for another season of college. How they fared: →1964: Navy’s Roger Staubach suffered through a disappointing season. The Midshipmen’s record fell from 9-2 to 3-6-1, and Staubach’s numbers dropped: from seven to four touchdowns and from 1,474 yards to 1,131. →1991: BYU’s Ty Detmer played superbly again, placing third in the ’91 Heisman. The Cougars were 10-3 in ’90 and 8-3-2 in ’91. Detmer’s numbers fell but were still spectacular: 35 touchdowns and 4,031 passing yards. →2004: OU’s Jason White mirrored Detmer. White placed third in the ’04 Heisman, and his numbers fell but remained great — 35 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 3,205 yards. OU went 12-1 and lost to USC in the national title game. →2005: USC’s Matt Leinart had numbers very similar to his previous two seasons — 28 TDs, eight interceptions, 3,815 yards — but placed third in the Heisman and the Trojans lost to Texas in the national title game. →2008: Florida’s Tim Tebow fell to third in the Heisman, but his numbers were great — 3,420 total yards and 42 touchdowns passing and rushing — and the Gators went 13-1 and beat Oklahoma in the national title game.
Draft dropsGauging the NFL Draft can be dicey, particularly three months before the draft and six weeks before the NFL Combine, when many decisions are made on a player’s talents. Sam Bradford might have gone first, second or third in the draft. But he also might have fallen. Other quarterbacks have before him: →1. Aaron Rodgers 2005: The California QB was expected to go either first or second, along with Utah’s Alex Smith. But after the 49ers picked Smith, no team seemed to want a quarterback. Green Bay took Rodgers at No. 24. →2. Brady Quinn 2007: Quinn was expected to go second or third, but the Browns bypassed the Notre Dame quarterback at No. 3, and Quinn fell all the way to No. 22, where Cleveland got him. →3. Matt Leinart 2006: Leinart likely would have been the No. 1 pick in 2005, but he came back to Southern Cal for his senior year. Projected to go No. 3 in the ’06 draft, Leinart instead fell to the Cardinals at No. 10.
Quarterback contractsWhat kind of money did Sam Bradford leave on the table? Here are the contracts of quarterbacks picked in the first round of the past four NFL Drafts:
2008→ No. 3 Matt Ryan, Boston College: six-year, $72-million contract, with $34.75M guaranteed from Atlanta. → No. 18 Joe Flacco, Delaware: five-year, $30-million contract, with $8.75M guaranteed from Baltimore.
2007→ No. 1 JaMarcus Russell, LSU: six-year, $61-million contract, with $32M guaranteed from Oakland. → No. 22 Brady Quinn, Notre Dame: five-year, $20-million contract, with $7.75M guaranteed from Cleveland.
2006→ No. 3: Vince Young, Texas: six-year, $58-million contract, with $25.7M guaranteed from Tennessee. → No. 10 Matt Leinart, USC: six-year, $51-million contract, with $14M guaranteed from Arizona. → No. 11 Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt: six-year, $48-million contract, with $11M guaranteed from Denver.
2005→ No. 1 Alex Smith, Utah: six-year, $49.5-million contract, with $24M guaranteed from San Francisco. → No. 24 Aaron Rodgers, California: five-year, $7.7-million contract, with $5.4M guaranteed from Green Bay. → No. 25 Jason Campbell, Washington: five-year, $7.5-million contract*, with $5.2M guaranteed. *-estimated.
Bradford’s receivers in ’09Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford will have one of his top-two targets back next season in tight end Jermaine Gresham, who announced through the university Wednesday he would be returning for his senior season. Gresham caught 66 passes for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and will be the overwhelming favorite to win the Mackey Award (best tight end in the nation). Rising sophomore Ryan Broyles, who showed flashes of brilliance in the slot this past season, will be Bradford’s go-to-guy at receiver after catching 46 passes for 687 yards and six touchdowns in 2008. The biggest question mark comes at the other two receiving positions left vacant by graduating seniors Juaquin Iglesias and Manny Johnson. Adron Tennell, Brandon Caleb, Jameel Owens, Dejuan Miller and Corey Wilson will compete for playing time at those two spots.
Bradford’s blockers in ’09Expect Trent Williams, who announced Wednesday he’s coming back to school, to swing from right to left tackle to protect quarterback Sam Bradford’s blindside. Though Williams will be the only returning starter, the Sooners bring back plenty of experience and potential up front. At right tackle, LSU transfer Jarvis Jones (6-foot-7, 294 pounds) is a talented prospect who will be the favorite to win the starting job. Cory Brandon and Donald Stephenson will also compete for playing time there. Inside, the Sooners have a proven commodity at guard in Brian Simmons, who has been part of the offensive line rotation the last two years. The other guard spot will be filled by either Alex Williams or Stephen Good, a five-star recruit who played some this past season as a true freshman. At center, Ben Habern will challenge Jason Hannan to see who replaces four-year starter Jon Cooper. "We have some real good talent,” said OU offensive line coach James Patton. "The main challenge will be being consistent, because they’ve all showed flashes of being good.” By Berry Tramel and Jake Trotter