The One At 1: 2010 -- Sam Bradford

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford sets to pass as he warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, in St. Louis.
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford sets to pass as he warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, in St. Louis.

The Cardinals hold the No. 1 overall pick for April’s NFL draft for the first time since 1958. As the day for the Cards to make their selection draws closer, azcardinals.com will take a look at the last 30 No. 1 overall selections and each player’s impact on the team and league.

NAME/YEAR: Sam Bradford/2010

TEAM: St. Louis Rams

THE SITUATION: The Rams averaged only 10.9 points per game in 2009 and locked in on a promising quarterback from Oklahoma heading into the draft. Bradford won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, and despite an injury-shortened junior season, was still viewed as the top signal-caller in the class. St. Louis had to pony up big money to ink Bradford but felt like the six-year, $78 million deal would be worth the investment.

THE CAREER: Bradford’s professional career began encouragingly enough, as he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010. His second season was abbreviated due to injury – a harbinger of things to come – but Bradford did lead the Rams to a 7-8-1 record in 2012. There was optimism heading into his fourth season, and Bradford posted a 90.9 quarterback rating through seven games, but then tore his ACL. In 2014, it happened again in the preseason, and Bradford was a vagabond after that. He played a season for the Eagles, two for the Vikings – one of which was again shortened by injury – and then three games last season for the Cardinals before being benched due to ineffectiveness.

THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: Bradford never lived up the billing, and that was especially painful for the Rams because there were a slew of difference-makers taken behind him. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh went second overall to the Lions, followed by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to the Buccaneers, tackle Trent Williams to the Redskins and safety Eric Berry to the Chiefs. All four became perennial Pro Bowlers.

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