NORMAN — Six months ago, Sam Bradford lay ailing on the Cotton Bowl turf. His final season at Oklahoma over. His pro career in the balance.
Bradford finally can put all that in the past while solidifying his place as the No. 1 pick in next month’s NFL Draft.
Today, Bradford will showcase his surgically mended throwing shoulder in front of NFL scouts for the first time.
And the sentiment among the experts is that if he shows he’s healthy, the St. Louis Rams, in need of a franchise quarterback, will pass on blue-chip defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh and snag Bradford.
"Franchise quarterback trumps all," draft analyst Mike Mayock said on the NFL Network. "You can’t win in the NFL without a franchise quarterback.
"I think they have to take Bradford if he’s healthy.”
Health will be the key.
Not long after reinjuring his shoulder during the Texas game, Bradford underwent successful AC joint surgery performed by James Andrews on Oct. 28. Bradford’s medical evaluations at the NFL Scouting Combine revealed his shoulder was progressing according to plan.
Now Bradford, who’s been working toward regaining his form over the last three months in Pensacola, Fla., can prove he’s back to 100 percent.
"Right now it’s more than a 50-50 chance Bradford winds up going No. 1,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said during a conference call. "Unless something is fundamentally wrong – his throwing motion has changed, if he’s not getting nearly as much zip on the ball, if there’s something that just jumps out at you and is alarming and creates concern.