Report: Bradford won’t sign with the Rams before the draft

According to a report by ProFootballTalk.com, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford may refuse to sign a pre-draft contract with the Rams in order to gain more leverage in negotiations.

If Bradford declines to agree to terms before being picked, and if the Rams ultimately don’t select him, Bradford would slide to the Redskins at No. 4, at worst. (He also could end up going second or third, if a team that needs a quarterback moves up.) Operating from the four hole, Bradford likely would then attempt to invoke the so-called “quarterback premium” in the hopes of getting more than the first overall pick, just as Matt Ryan did from the third spot two years ago.

If the Rams pick Bradford without a contract in place, the leverage then flips to the player, with the Rams compelled to get the guy signed in the hopes of justifying the pick and turning around a franchise that seems far longer than a decade removed from a Super Bowl win.

It’s important to keep in mind that PFT.com never cites their sources, so take this report with a grain of salt. They’re hit and miss with their reports, but since I’m dying for anything football-related, I’ll allow myself to get sucked into their vortex for a report like this.

If Bradford wants to start next season, the best thing for him to do is sign a pre-draft contract. That would ensure that he wouldn’t hold out and he would be in camp on time. If he does choose not to sign, then there’s a chance the Rams will pass on him and then he’ll risk losing a little bit of money by falling in the top 5. Either that, or the Rams will still draft him and then a holdout could ensue.

Personally, I would feel fortunate just to be selected with the top overall pick and I would sign a fair deal before the draft. But then again, I’m not in his shoes so I have no idea what other factors he’s dealing with. Either way, it’s safe to say that he’ll go in the top 5 and will be the first quarterback taken in April.


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Rams, Redkins to hold private workouts with Sam Bradford

ESPN.com is reporting that the Rams will hold a private workout with Oklahoma quarterback San Bradford three days before the April 22 draft. The team will also attend Bradford’s private workout this afternoon, although Chris Mortensen reports that St. Louis won’t make a final decision until a couple of days before the draft. (At the earliest.)

The Redskins, who hold the fourth overall pick, will also have a private session with Bradford on April 15. There’s speculation that Washington will take a quarterback at some point during the draft, even though they extended a first-round tender to restricted free agent Jason Campbell and also signed free agent Rex Grossman.

In my first mock draft, I have the Rams selecting Bradford with the top pick and the Redskins taking Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen. Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is the best athlete in the draft, but if the Rams view Bradford as a franchise quarterback then they won’t pass on him at No. 1 – especially considering that DT is one of the few positions that St. Louis doesn’t need.

If the Rams do select Suh (or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy), then Bradford probably won’t get past the Redskins at No. 4. Whether or not people think that Bradford is a bona fide top 5 pick is irrelevant. It’s been 10 years since a quarterback wasn’t taken among the top five picks and that was in 2000 when Chad Pennington (Jets) slipped to No. 18. If history is any indication, Bradford will be taken at some point in the top 5.


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Rams begin contract negotiations with Bradford

Sorry for the fake out headline, but the Rams have actually begun preliminary contract negotiations with Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy too – not just Bradford. (Oh, whatever – you might as well stay and read the entire article now.)

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“All the people who are in the discussion (for No. 1 overall), we’ve talked to their agents,” Demoff said. “We’re really just comparing notes. Also, it may take some time, so we figured we’d get a head start.”

In the past two drafts, the No. 1 overall pick (quarterback Matthew Stafford and offensive tackle Jake Long) had their contracts completed before the draft. But Demoff said that isn’t necessarily the goal for St. Louis.

“The goal is to get the right deal for the right player that you want to draft,” Demoff said. “If that happens before the draft, great. If it doesn’t happen before the draft, then we’ll spend May, June and July working on it.”

According to the report, the Rams have also had contact with Jimmy Clausen’s agent and while nothing has been confirmed yet, the team plans on talking with the representatives for all 600 draft-eligible players as well. Don’t laugh – the Rams can’t screw this one up. Kicker Leigh Tiffin had a great year for Alabama and he’s going to be sitting there with the top overall pick so the Rams have to do their due diligence here.

I don’t know if this means anything, but I find it interesting that the article essentially refers to Clausen as a throw in (oh-by-the-way, Clausen’s people were also contacted, although that’s because the Rams mistakenly thought they were ordering Thai food). That tells me that they’re down to Bradford, Suh and McCoy. If that’s indeed the case, then I’m sticking with my latest mock draft projection in that they’ll select Bradford at No. 1.


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Will Ndamukong Suh drop in the top 5?

It didn’t seem that long ago that Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was a near lock to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the April’s NFL draft. But now it appears that his stock is falling, even though he is still highly regarded as the top prospect in this year’s draft.

The Tampa Tribune is reporting that Suh is scheduled to visit the Buccaneers on April 13, which may mean something – could mean nothing. But when you look at the dynamics surrounding the first two picks in the draft, there is reason to believe that Tampa Bay could have Suh fall into their laps at No. 3.

While the Rams have plenty of holes to fill on both sides of the ball, defensive tackle isn’t a pressing need. There are several pundits that believe they’ll select Oklahoma product Sam Bradford at No. 1 because 1) they need someone to replace Marc Bulger and 2) if they’re spending No. 1-overall money, then they want to spend it on a position such as quarterback. There is also growing sentiment that the Lions (who pick second) will take Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung, meaning Suh will slide to the Bucs (who are desperate for defensive tackle help) at No. 3.

In my latest mock draft, I have the Rams taking Bradford at No. 1, but the Lions drafting Suh at No. 2. My opinion could change leading up to the draft, but given how Jim Schwartz built his defensive around Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee, I can’t foresee him passing on a player of Suh’s caliber. That said, the Lions recently traded for Corey Williams and he plays the same position as Suh in Schwartz’s defense, so read into that situation how you want.

Either way, if Suh is still available at No. 3 then Roger Goodell might as well just stand up at the podium and read the Lions and Bucs’ picks back to back. Because there’s no way Raheem Morris would allow Suh to get past Tampa at No. 3.


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2010 NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0

The full mock is finally completed!

I waited a lot longer than I normally do to compile my first mock draft of the year. Normally I whip up my first batch of mock draft right after the scouting combine, but this year I wanted to see what happened at the start of free agency before I even remotely considered whom teams would select in April.

I get as excited as any true draftnik about mock drafts, but how could anyone venture a guess at what player a team will select without knowing what big free agents signed where? It’s like taking a long road trip to a place you’ve never been before without your GPS. (Wow, have the times changed. A couple of years ago, I would have ended that sentence with “without your map” but that damn technology continues to track us down like a bear preying on an injured deer.)

Below is my first crack at predicting the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. As usual, feel free to argue my picks as much as you like but please, debate with some dignity. Don’t be the doucher that ruins the fun of mock drafts by spewing venom in the comments section of a sports blog. There may not be anything more pathetic.

1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
I have Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh rated as the unquestioned best player in this year’s draft. (Well, I don’t have an official ranking per se, but in my head he’s No. 1.) But that doesn’t mean I think the Rams will take him. Teams usually get funny about the No. 1 overall pick. They feel as though they have to match the contract with the position in order to justify the player they’re taking, which is completely backwards when you think about it. A team should be most concerned with taking the right player that matches their scheme. But I digress. Bradford is the top rated quarterback and the Rams have a major need at the position with Marc Bulger proving over the past two years that he’s better suited to run the scout team offense in practice and then the first unit on Sundays. The Rams feel as though they need to breathe some excitement into their dull franchise and taking Bradford should do the trick. Is he the right player? That’s debatable.

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