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Sam Bradford And Hall Of Fame Slumps: When John Elway Was Junk And Andrew Luck

Surely Sam Bradford skeptics have memorized the litany of Andrew Luck-isms spouted by NFL Mock Draft experts since last year, where he was already the best quarterback prospect in the draft since-well, John Elway, among others. St. Louis Rams fans would probably settle for the actual John Elway, weirdly human though his numbers might be, but it's worth remembering just how pedestrian he was in his rookie season, after all the praise had washed away.

Elway's early career was, in its own right, an endless stream of failures and near-misses. The Drive was followed by the Super Bowl loss, and then another, more brutal one. Bradford hasn't even driven yet, let alone Driven, so we might focus on Elway's disappointing debut. Going to the Broncos after engineering his own departure from the Baltimore Colts, Elway proceeded to complete fewer than half his passes in his rookie season, throwing 14 interceptions against seven touchdowns and showing above-average in zero statistical areas.

Maybe the problem with Sam Bradford's career to date isn't the aborted 2011-it's the superficially impressive 2010. Sure, in a conservative offense, in an increasingly passing-dominated NFL, after a season in which Rams fans saw Keith Null as the most competent general on the field, Bradford threw for 3000 yards. But he wasn't Peyton Manning yet-he finished near the bottom of the yards-per-attempt tables, almost exactly where he is this year-and it set our expectations too high.

Maybe it's set our expectations too low, now.

For a complete look at SB Nation St. Louis's series on Sam Bradford and Hall of Fame quarterbacks who had similarly disastrous starts, click through to this Storystream and subscribe.