But instead of smashing into the ceiling, the ball sailed flawlessly into the arms of a full-striding Adron Tennell 65 yards downfield.
Off to the side, Gerald McCoy smiled and uttered, "King Sam,” as if to concede the No. 1 pick to his former Oklahoma teammate.
So impressive was Bradford’s first workout before NFL scouts since undergoing shoulder surgery, everyone else might have to concede the top pick to King Sam, as well.
"He’s the man,” McCoy said, "and he showed why he’s the man.”
NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt called Bradford’s workout the best by a quarterback prospect he’s seen since Troy Aikman’s 21 years ago.
"It really was a treat to watch, and I think everyone here was in awe,” Brandt said. "He didn’t throw one bad ball. It was a clinic.
"It was Picasso out there today.”
In all, Picasso tossed 63 picture-perfect passes, ranging from quick outs to deep posts. Sixty-two of those throws were completed, and the one that wasn’t was a dropped slant pass that hit Tennell in the hands.
Afterward, even the usually unassuming Bradford had to admit he put on a show.
"I thought I did very well,” he said. "I showed a wide variety of throws. I didn’t just come out and show the basic things, I showed some in the gun, on the move and different throws.
"I think I showed everyone that I can still make all the throws and my shoulder is just what it was before I got hurt.”
For Bradford, Monday was a long time coming.
The 2008 Heisman Trophy winner elected to return to school for his junior season. He suffered a third-degree AC joint sprain during OU’s season-opening loss to BYU. Bradford came back a month later, but against Texas reinjured the shoulder, which required season-ending surgery.
"As soon as the season ended, I knew this was going to be the day everyone was gonna see me throw,” Bradford said. "But it wasn’t until Saturday, Sunday that I started getting butterflies.”
Yet even with several NFL head coaches watching, Bradford showed no signs of butterflies, and made it easy on his receivers: Tennell; tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Brody Eldridge; running back Chris Brown; and ex-LSU standout Josh Reed, currently a free agent.
"His accuracy is as sharp as it’s ever been,” said Terry Shea, a former NFL quarterbacks coach who has been working with Bradford the last three months in Pensacola, Fla. "He had a couple of balls where receivers made some nice catches.