The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for

Crap shoot at QB


If Billy Devaney, the new general manager of the St. Louis Rams, decides to take Sam Bradford with the first pick in the draft, I'm not going to second-guess him.

Because Devaney has been burned before using a high pick on a quarterback -- he was the pro personnel director of the Chargers in 1998, when they took Ryan Leaf with the second pick after Indianapolis took Peyton Manning No. 1. So he knows first-hand what wasting a No. 1 overall on a quarterback can do to a franchise. For the next six years, San Diego was 31-65.

Look, the draft is a a crap shoot and the odds on a quarterback taken at the top becoming a star are worse than the odds of players at other positions. Much worse. Think Leaf, Tim Couch, Akili Smith and, currently, JaMarcus Russell. Not all those guys were drafted by idiots -- Devaney worked for Bobby Beathard, who built a team that won three Super Bowls in Washington and whose track record was one of the best in the NFL in the last half-century.

Bradford? I've seen him play a few times on television. I've talked to people about him. Most have positive things to say, and so do the doctors who have examined in minute detail the throwing shoulder he injured both in 2008 and 2009. So if the Rams decide to take him over Ndamukong Suh, the defensive tackle who almost everyone agrees is a sure thing, I'm not going to argue with them because at every position, the draft is about as predictable as a random lottery.

Here's an example:

I'm at the end of doing "redrafts'' or the 1998-2007 drafts for That is, lining players up in order of how he'd be rated now by NFL teams as opposed to when they were taken. Here's my latest.

In 2000, the 199th player taken is now No. 1. That's Tom Brady. Another quarterback in 2001: Drew Brees, the 33rd player taken. Even in 2004, when three successful quarterbacks were taken in the top dozen -- Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger -- my No. 1 right now would be Jared Allen, a defensive end who went in the fourth round, 126 overall.

And in 2005, my top ten includes Nos. 32, 41, 45, 61, 65, 74, and 232, Jay Ratliff, Dallas' impossible-to-block nose tackle.

No. 1 in that redraft is a quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who went No. 24 to Green Bay. The actual No. 1 was also a QB, Alex Smith, who is struggling to hold on to a starting job in San Francisco.

In any event, Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo have pretty good track records and St. Louis will do what it has to do. If it's Bradford, we'll have to wait a few years for the Rams to get some decent players around him.

Then we'll know if they were right.

By Dave Goldberg  |  April 20, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Dave Goldberg , Draft , St. Louis Rams Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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