Sam Bradford is a busy man these days. PFW got him on the phone for a few minutes this weekend as he was heading away from a three-hour autograph-signing appearance, on his way to the airport, and then it was on to his next engagement. But we know one trip Bradford won't be making — his scheduled visit with the Redskins for Tuesday. That's because the Easter night trade of Donovan McNabb to Washington eliminates the Redskins from the Bradford sweepstakes.
The deal and the release of Marc Bulger make the Rams Bradford's likely team come April 22 with the first pick in the draft. He impressed nearly every observer at his strong pro-day workout last week, connecting on 62-of-63 pass attempts and putting to rest concerns about an injured shoulder that had kept the former Heisman Trophy winner off the field for much of his final season at Oklahoma. Although we spoke with Bradford prior to the McNabb trade, he shared with us his thoughts on his likely new employer.
Bradford also chimed in on his most talked-about body part, his favorite throw to make, the one sport he's not good at and his Draft Day wardrobe.
PFW: What's the question that you are absolutely sick of at this point?
SB: Well, before (my pro day), it was probably, 'How's the shoulder?' I think I have probably heard that about three million times since the surgery. And then after that, it has been, 'What did you think of the pro day? I feel like I have answered that about a million times now, too, so those are probably the two questions that I probably really wouldn't mind if I never heard again. (Laughs.)
PFW: Sounds good. I'll stay away from those two and take it in a slightly different direction. Typically, those pro-day workouts include about 50 throws for quarterbacks — and that's a lot to begin with. What made you decide to tack on an additional 13 throws at the end? Did you want to end those shoulder questions once and for all?
SB: Yeah, pretty much letting my arm do the talking. There were questions about my arm going into (the pro day), the first time anyone had seen me throw since the injury. So I wanted to go ahead and make sure that we put out a workout that was going to answer any questions and not really leave any questions out there to be answered. I felt like throwing 63 balls showed that I have got the endurance and the strength and there's nothing wrong with (the shoulder).
PFW: Last shoulder-related thing, and I'll move on. I know the injury was a freak thing, especially when you were re-injured against Texas. Did you have any thought since then that, 'Hey, maybe I came back too soon?'
SB: No, I don't think so. I talked to a lot of doctors before I made the decision to come back. You know, our coaches were not going to put me out there before I was ready. I felt like I was ready. I think it was just one of those things where I have been playing football my whole life and I just happened to take two hits that were almost exactly the same. And unfortunately, I injured my shoulder on both of them.
PFW: A lot of people said you made a mistake by not coming out last year. Now that it appears you will be the top pick this year, do you feel like it has worked out well in the end?
SB: Well, I never felt like I made the wrong decision. I thought I made the right decision from Day One. People on the outside, it's easy for them to tell me what I should and shouldn't do. They are not in my shoes. No matter how much information they think they have, they don't have the information that I have. They can't make the decision the way that I can make the decision. I felt like I made the right call. I have come back, I have gotten bigger and stronger and I have matured mentally. I feel better about my game now than I did last year, and no matter where I get taken on Draft Day, I know that I am more comfortable making the transition to the NFL this year than I was last year, and that's the most important thing.
PFW: You mentioned getting bigger. You showed up at the Combine weighing 236 pounds, and though I know you have slimmed down a bit since then, what went into the idea of adding weight?
SB: Well, I know last year when I was debating on whether to come out or stay, my weight was the issue, and a lot of people didn't think that I was big enough to play in the NFL. I wanted to prove to them that I could be as big and as strong as they wanted me to be, so I felt like coming in at a weight like that would show them that if they think I need to be 235, I can be 235. It's not a problem. I didn't want my weight to be an issue or a question in whether a team drafts me or not.
PFW: The focus with you has turned to the Rams and the No. 1 pick. How have your conversations been with head coach Steve Spagnuolo, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and GM Billy Devaney?
SB: We've been in contact. I ate breakfast with Coach Spagnuolo before my pro day. We were having a great conversation. He just wanted to get to know a little bit more about me and give me a chance to get to know a little bit more about him. I spent some time with Pat Shurmur and Billy Devaney, and I really enjoyed getting to meet them. I don't think anyone really needs to know exactly what was said in those meetings, but I have enjoyed my time getting to know their staff.
PFW: At this point will you be disappointed if you are not the No. 1 pick in the draft?
SB: I am just excited for the opportunity to play football somewhere. The draft, it's nothing I can control; it's something the teams control. The only thing I can control is how I perform in my workouts and how I interview with them. I feel like I am very prepared for that. I feel like I have already had a great pro day, and I expect to have some great individual workouts. After I do that, it's out of my hands. So we'll see what happens, but I guarantee you I will be extremely excited wherever I end up.
PFW: OK, just a couple of fun questions for you. How did you become such a big hockey fan?
SB: I don't know, to be honest. I have heard that question before, and I think I just saw it on ESPN and started following it, and then I started skating when I was like 5 (years old). As soon as I started playing hockey, I fell in love with it. And I used to watch it all the time. I used to wake up early and look at the paper and see if the Canucks had won or not.
PFW: I know there are few teams near Oklahoma, where you grew up, but how did the Canucks become your team?
SB: I don't know. I was a big Pavel Bure fan, and that's who he played for, so that's who I rooted for.
PFW: Let me get this straight: You play hockey. You were a prep star in basketball and football. And you have had four holes-in-one in golf. Is there a sport you're bad at?
SB: Umm ... (long pause)
PFW: I hate people like you.
SB: (Laughs.) I don't know. I have never played organized soccer. But back in the day at recess, I was pretty good at it. But I have never really played soccer, so I would have to say if you put me on a soccer field today, I would be clueless.
PFW: Of course you were good at soccer at recess. When was your first hole-in-one?
SB: I think I was like 10. (Laughs.) That's a crazy story, though. My first hole-in-one ... I had played this course the day before, and on the very same hole I had hit the pin. So I came back with my grandpa, and we're playing the next day, and I look at him before I hit it and told him: 'I hit the pin yesterday. I am going to make it today.' Sure enough, it went in.
PFW: Did you freak out?
SB: Oh, yeah.
PFW: Kevin Wilson, your offensive coordinator at OU, recently shaved off his 'stache, much to the dismay of some loyal fans. I ask you: better with or without the facial hair?
SB: I kind of liked when he had the facial hair. I'll say better with.
PFW: Is there one throw you love making the best? One route that's your favorite?
SB: I don't think there's anything better than connecting on a deep ball. You let it go, like a deep post, and they catch it in stride, I mean, that's a pretty good feeling when you are able to do that. If I could do that every time, that'd be great.
PFW: I can only assume that's what you talked about over omelets with Spags.
SB: I am not telling, I said. (Laughs.)
PFW: OK, last one. Do you have your suit picked out for Draft Day? Are you OK in the wardrobe department?
SB: Absolutely not. Absolutely no idea what I am going to wear. I am going to have to get that figured out.
PFW: You don't have a fashion consultant? A girlfriend? A mother? Someone who can help?
SB: I might have to get some girls back in Norman to come over and help me pick one out. (Laughs.)
PFW: Girls, plural? I dig your style, man.
SB: Well, friends. You have to get multiple opinions.
PFW: Couldn't agree more.
Mock draft: McNabb trade creates door for Tebow
Nolan Nawrocki will answer selected questions from readers each Tuesday leading up to the draft, beginning April 13. Send your draft-related questions to Nawrocki at ASKquestions@pfwmedia.com.
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