ESPN: Arizona Cardinals’ Sam Bradford a Tier 3 QB in 2018

Jul 24, 2018, 4:29 PM | Updated: Jul 25, 2018, 1:52 pm
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford looks to pass the ball as players run drills during a vo...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford looks to pass the ball as players run drills during a voluntary team activity Thursday, April 19, 2018, at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Football’s right around the corner.

And with the added additions to the quarterback pool, there have been some shifts in the hierarchy of the signal-callers.

Using a total of 50 NFL insiders, including 10 who range from assistant coaches to salary cap managers, 10 general managers, five head coaches, 10 coordinators, 10 senior personnel executives and five quarterback coaches, ESPN’s Mike Sando broke down every team’s starting quarterback into four tiers.

Looking at the quarterback situation in Arizona, Sam Bradford falls into the Tier 3 category as a No. 28 overall ranking.

But what exactly is a Tier 3 quarterback?

“A Tier 3 quarterback is a legitimate starter, but needs a heavier running game and/or defense to win. A lower-volume passing offense makes his job easier.”

Based on that definition alone, it’s no surprise to see the veteran QB there.

When healthy, David Johnson is a workhorse for Arizona, acting as one of the true lead backs in the game. In 2016, his second NFL season, Johnson rushed for 1,239 yards and 16 scores to go with 879 receiving yards and four more touchdowns on the ground.

Pair that with a defensive-minded head coach in Steve Wilks and a team that bolsters Chandler Jones and up-and-coming Budda Baker and Bradford could be seen more as a facilitator than a game-changer like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady.

But, injuries — again — were a big reason for his spot in the ranking.

Bradford’s performance for Minnesota against New Orleans in the 2017 opener would hold up well against any game any quarterback might play, multiple voters said. The fact that Bradford could not stay in the lineup the next week despite suffering no new injuries was troubling.

“The teams that have him don’t seem to want to stay with him,” a former GM noted.

In his Week 1 outing with the Minnesota Vikings, Bradford completed 27-of-32 pass attempts for three touchdowns and no picks.

Bradford has only played two full seasons in his eight-year career but has shown flashes of potential.

In 2016, Bradford started 15 games and posted a league-leading 71.6 completion percentage to with a 99.3 passer rating. He threw for 3,877 yards, 20 touchdowns and had just five interceptions.

Among the starts in the NFC West, no one made the Tier 1 group. Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson topped the division at No. 6 (Tier 2), followed by San Francisco 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo (No. 13; Tier 2), Los Angles Rams’ Jared Goff (No. 19; Tier 3) and Bradford.

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ESPN: Arizona Cardinals’ Sam Bradford a Tier 3 QB in 2018