A healthy Sam Bradford is a pretty good QB

Eagles fans are turning to Pope Francis to bless Sam Bradford's knees. Here's how good the QB can be in Philly if he stays healthy.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A healthy Sam Bradford is a pretty good QB

Eagles fans have turned to Pope Francis to ensure Sam Bradford’s knee will stay healthy this season. It’s easy to see why. While Sam Bradford playing in all 16 regular season games this season doesn’t guarantee them a good run at the Super Bowl, it would certainly help their odds.

Here’s why: A healthy Sam Bradford is an above-average NFL quarterback.

Bradford’s accuracy on his passes is far better than the accuracy of his depth chart competition. When he hasn’t been under pressure and throws at least 5 yards in the air throughout his career, he’s accurate on 66 percent of his throws. That is 5 percent better than Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley in their careers, and 10 percent better than Tim Tebow.

Even when Bradford is under pressure, he is accurate on nearly half of his passes with 5 yards in the air or more, which is still 5 percent better than the rest of the Eagles quarterbacks when they are under pressure.

No one is expecting Bradford to be Aaron Rodgers this year, but he has the chance to be very effective. His Philadelphia supporting cast includes DeMarco Murray, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson — all of whom rank among the top 10 players at their position. The Eagles also have several young, promising wide receivers. That is a better supporting cast then Bradford ever had with the Rams.

Of course, he can only take advantage of it if he stays healthy, and that’s been the issue for him throughout his NFL career. Perhaps the Pope can help with that.

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • Sam Doohan

    It’s a pity that Bradford has had such an injury plagued career. He really could have made the Rams something special again; definitely a QB good enough to pull out 9+ wins with that defense. But sadly he never really had the chance. Health isn’t really something any team can control, no matter how much they try to protect a player so being in Philly won’t make much difference but at least he’s somewhere where he has the chance to succeed and that’s all anyone can ask for. If he gets one good season under his belt then maybe he’ll really impress. Good luck to him.

  • David Caldwell

    As a Rams fan who’s followed Sam Bradford’s career closely since he was drafted, it’s been pretty clear that he has the arm talent and smarts to be a top 10 QB in the NFL. The supporting cast in St.Louis has been sub par through the majority of his career, however since the arrival of Jeff Fisher and the move to a more run based and defence heavy game plan, he could have been the upgrade the Rams have needed. Obviously the injury thing is hanging over every NFL player but dating back to his last year at OU, he hasn’t shown the ability to consistently stay healthy. What he has shown when available is (apart from a weird 4 game spell with a prototype spread offence) ana ability to look after the ball and be amazingly accurate. He has a touch of the Alex Smith “dink and dunk” about him but I can assure any Eagles fans that he is definitely capable of being a very effective QB in this league. He had (something like) 14 TD’s and 4 picks by the time he got injured in 2013, good for a top 5 QB rating. It’s a shame for the Rams that he’s had these problems but he definitely has the game to push the Chip Kelly offence to the later rounds of the always unpredictable NFC playoffs.

  • SF Guy

    On the VERY few occasions when Bradford had a few healthy linemen and more than one decent receiver on the field — he was very good. Just give him decent protection and more than one decent target who know how to get separation, and Sam will surprise a lot of people.