Photo: stlouisrams.com- Adam Parker
We all know the story.
Former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford was the first overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.
He was far and away the best quarterback prospect in his class, and the only other quarterback even taken in the first round that year was Tim Tebow at No.25 overall to the Denver Broncos.
Three seasons are in the books and Tebow-mania has packed up his suitcase and made the move from Mile High to the Big Apple as the Jets' backup quarterback after the Broncos landed some guy who threw passes for the Colts for like the last decade and a half.
Unlike Tebow, Bradford is still in St. Louis. He's still the Rams' starting quarterback heading into the 2012 season.
That being said, if Bradford expects to remain that way, he needs to make substantial strides in the upcoming season.
New head coach Jeff Fisher will be expecting big things from the now third-year pro quarterback.
I for one believe that Bradford has all the necessary physical and mental tools to return to the form that garnered him Rookie of the Year honors in 2010.
However, the young quarterback will need a lot of stars to align in order for he and the Rams to succeed.
The Rams didn't go out and get Bradford that clear-cut No.1 target, so rookie wide receivers Brian Quick and David Givens (who is already hoping to re-create the Greatest Show on Turf) will need to grow into their roles as reliable targets alongside the always reliable but oft-injured Danny Amendola aka baby Wes and big red zone target Danario Alexander.
Another important piece for St. Louis moving forward has got to be the stability of the offensive line. As a Steelers fan, I know all too well how a revolving door at offensive line can plague a team's offensive efficiency. Chemistry is of the utmost importance on the offensive line. The big uglies need to have a strong rapport with one another and their quarterback to be a successful five-man unit, and to do that, they need to stay on the field.
In 2011, the Rams' offensive line was in utter shambles. The only consistently healthy body was right guard Harvey Dahl. For the majority of the season, the Rams were without starting left guard Jacob Bell, center Jason Brown, right tackle Jason Smith and Bradford's fellow 2010 draft classmate -- left tackle Roger Saffold.
To be honest, I'm amazed that Bradford managed to make ten starts in 2011 behind a group with only one reliable guy. St. Louis had to hold Bradford's five-man secret service squad together MacGyver-style -- with duct tape, a pack of chewing gum, a paper clip and the always reliable Swiss Army Knife.
Needless to say, that didn't quite get the job done as it led to the Rams ending up with the second overall pick. But Jeff Fisher made some great moves in his first draft with St. Louis, filling many holes across the board.
Hopefully, barring any injuries, the Rams, led by a much-improved Sam Bradford, won't be near the top of the draft come 2013.
Be sure to follow Beard And Stache on Twitter @BeardAndStache, and also Adam @Adam_Parker43, Like our Facebook page HERE!