Bradford Done for the Year
There was shocking news yesterday, that Oklahoma redshirt junior Sam Bradford may need surgery and is likely done for the season. Bradford came into this season with high expectations coming off his brilliant Heisman Trophy campaign where he threw for 4,700 yards and 50 touchdowns. This season has been an absolute disaster for Bradford and the rest of the Sooners. Bradford has played in just three games this season, getting injured in two of them. In that limited time Bradford did not look sharp or resemble the quarterback that led the Sooners to the National Championship game last season. Now part of that is due to the initial injury he suffered in the first game of the season, but another part is that Oklahoma lost most of their offensive line and one of their top receivers. Without them, their offense sputtered and Bradford couldn’t save them. Now, Bradford being down for the year will have a lasting impact on Oklahoma, the NFL and himself.
Going into the season Bradford was the odds on favorite to be the first quarterback taken in the first round, and likely the number one overall pick. Bradford was so far ahead of other quarterbacks, that had he declared for the draft last season, he may have gone ahead of Mark Sanchez and even Matt Stafford. And while there are a number of talented signal callers in college football today, Bradford had a commanding lead on being the leader of the pack (50 touchdowns will do that). Now Bradford stock has taken a huge hit due to injury and ineffectiveness. Now Bradford has zero shot of being the first quarterback taken and could even be falling out of the top 10 or even top 15 range. Now the question is whether or not Bradford will come out and be taken late or roll the dice again and return to Oklahoma. Being a redshirt junior Bradford could decide to come back for his senior year, which will leave the Sooners in an interesting predicament. Don’t get me wrong Oklahoma would love to have Bradford back, but doing so would screw up a plan they long had in place.
Redshirt freshman Landry Jones will retake the reins of the Oklahoma offense for the rest of the season. Jones replaced Bradford earlier in the year and had some mixed results. He struggled with some reads and definitely wasn’t ready to have the Sooners season dumped on his shoulders, but he did show a lot of promise. Overall, I would have said the Sooners have a bright future with Jones at quarterback. Now Jones will have to navigate a tough conference schedule, and if he does well that could create a problem for the Sooners. While you can’t bench Bradford, its hard to shutdown the development of your future after he held his own against the Big 12. It will be interesting to watch how it plays out with Jones and Bradford, but in reality I don’t see the situation getting that far.
The only way I see Bradford returning to school is if his injury will have him out until mid to late summer. If he can’t throw until then, I could see him returning to Oklahoma since his draft stock will have fallen well out of the first round. Outside of that unlikely scenario, Bradford should come out this year and not risk another year (injury) in college. He may no longer be the top QB taken or a top 10 pick, but Bradford can still find a nice home in the NFL, and some team will love to grab him later in the first round. He has too much to lose to risk coming back another season, and plenty of great QB’s were taken outside of the top 10.