But every young quarterback has negatives and red flags. Just last year, several scouts felt Mark Sanchez didn’t have enough starts in college to warrant a high selection. Yet that didn’t stop the New York Jets from taking him with the fifth overall pick and making him their starter during the preseason. Like Sanchez, Bradford just has to show one team that his positives — arm strength, accuracy, intelligence, character — outweigh his negatives.
And that he’s worth taking over the other quarterbacks available, which is still fluid. Washington’s Jake Locker and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen appear to be Bradford’s top competition in the draft, though both are juniors and still could return to school for another season.
But beyond that, Bradford seems unlikely to fall past any other quarterback. And while Locker and Clausen are both having outstanding seasons, neither seems to be the kind of can’t-miss prospect that Matthew Stafford was last year, or that Matt Ryan was in 2008.
Bradford seemed to be on his way to becoming that can’t-miss prospect, until his shoulder injury. Both ESPN analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay had Bradford as the consensus No. 1 pick for the 2010 draft during the preseason. So even with what’s happened since, the quarterback situations of many of the NFL’s worst franchises — like the Redskins, Rams, and Raiders — will force them to take a hard look at Bradford in the top 10.
Which is why Bradford will carry more intrigue into this draft than any other player.
Wrote Kiper, "He’ll definitely get drafted. He’s still high on my big board.
"But he’s also turned into a total wild card.”