Aug 23, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Note: These predictions are assuming these players remain healthy for all 16 games.
Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles have already invested a lot of resources into the ex-Sooner and placing a lot of pressure and responsibility on the young quarterback, who is currently recovering from his second ACL surgery in as many years.
Even though he was once considered the top quarterback prospect in the NFL and he was on the cusp of super stardom, Sam Bradford was never able to elevate his level beyond average, making him a weak QB2 fantasy option, during his time with the St. Louis Rams. Will Philadelphia provide Bradford with the tools he needs to become a top quarterback in the NFL? Let’s see what the numbers suggest.
In Chip Kelly’s two seasons as the Eagles head coach, we have already seen a change in the Eagles passing game. In 2013, the Eagles only threw the ball 508 times, but the Eagles quarterbacks saw a nearly 123% increase in production last season, as Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez combined for 621 attempts.
This can be attributed to a “down year” from LeSean McCoy and the Eagles running game, causing them to throw the ball more. Also, McCoy led the league in negative rushing attempts (via Bleeding Green Nation), which put the Eagles in passing situations more than they would have liked.
With a more physical running game intact, the Eagles, most likely, will not suffer nearly as many negative rushing attempts, easing the pressure off of Sam Bradford and cutting his passing attempts down closer to the 508 attempts the Eagles quarterbacks tossed in 2013.
Bradford has a career completion percentage of 58.6%, which isn’t a spectacular mark by any means, but Bradford should see a large increase in this department in 2015.
Coming to Philadelphia, Mark Sanchez had a career completion percentage of 54.9%, but in 2014, Sanchez’s completion percentage shot all the way up to 64.1%, almost ten percentage points. Bradford should see a similar increase because of Chip Kelly’s system and the numbers imply that he is a better decision maker than Sanchez is.
I predict that Bradford will finish the season with a 68.2% completion percentage.
Bradford leaves St. Louis with a 10.79 Yards Per Completion (YPC), which, just like his completion percentage, isn’t spectacular. I used Nick Foles’ stats to compare to Bradford because there numbers before entering Kelly’s offense, although it was only a handful of games for Foles, are closer than Bradford’s were to Sanchez’s numbers. Foles had a 10.55 YPC during his rookie campaign in Andy Reid’s offense, but in Kelly’s offense, Foles’ compiled a 12.93 YPC.
While I don’t predict that Bradford’s YPC spike to be that large, I do expect Bradord to receive a nice .86 YPC bump, giving him a total YPC of 11.65.
Lastly, Bradford’s touchdown to interception ratio. While in St. Louis, Bradford averaged 1.2 touchdowns per game and .77 interceptions per game. Don’t expect a meteoric spike here, but Bradford will probably see improvement in his move to Philadelphia.
Before becoming an Eagle, Sanchez didn’t even average a touchdown per game (.9), but in his first season in Philadelphia, Sanchez saw his average spike to 1.5 touchdowns per game. Unfortunately though, Sanchez’s interception averages stayed fairly similar, going from a 1.1 with the Jets to a 1.2 with the Birds.
Bradford will also see a spike in his touchdown numbers, as I predict that he will improve from 1.2 touchdowns per game to 1.85 touchdowns per game and I went a bit against the grain, and predicted that Bradford’s interception numbers will decrease slightly, from .77 to .75.
Bradford’s Predicted Stat Line: 382 COMP-560 ATT (68.2%), 4,450 Yards (11.65 YPC), 30 TDs-12 INTS
Fantasy Points in an ESPN Standard League: 274
This production would have made Bradford the 19th quarterback in fantasy football last year, behind Andy Dalton and slightly above Alex Smith. I think Bradford will be a solid QB2 in 2015, making him a late round pick in fantasy football drafts.
***All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com unless credited otherwise.***
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