The Shutdown Eleven counts down a list of eleven NFL-related things, in order of the editor's preference. In this installment, we look at the most interesting players heading into the 2010 NFL season.
The first player drafted in a given year is always a player of interest, but even more so with Bradford, because he'll most likely be a starter from game one, and we can't be sure he'll actually survive the season.
Situations don't get much worse for rookie quarterbacks. The pass blocking in front of Bradford is likely to be leaky, and injury has erased the Rams' top receiver, Donny Avery, for the entire season. If he didn't have workhorse Steven Jackson behind him assuming a lot of the offensive load, Bradford might be wondering if he'd entered the special section of hell reserved for quarterbacks.
Not that Bradford isn't a capable guy. His accuracy and decision-making have gotten strong reviews through training camp, and he was quite sharp in his last preseason outing. He completed 15-of-22 attempts (including his first six) for 189 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots. He's also yet to throw an interception in the preseason.
Unfortunately, he's also been sacked five times thus far. No QB in the league has been sacked more in the preseason. Only once in the last five seasons has the same quarterback started all 16 games for the Rams. Quarterback of the St. Louis Rams might be the most physically dangerous job in the NFL.
Bradford has the pedigree to be, and is being paid like, a franchise quarterback and franchise savior. That potential is exciting, and how he'll deal with the considerable obstacles in front of him will make him one of the NFL's most interesting people of 2010.