The St. Louis Rams selected University of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the first pick in the National Football League draft.
Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner as college football’s best player, joins a team that had an NFL-worst 1-15 record last season. The Rams haven’t had a winning season since 2003 and are 6-42 over the past three years.
“It’s a dream come true,” Bradford told reporters. “You grow up, you dream of playing in the NFL and you dream of hearing your name called on draft day. But to have it actually happen, it’s a feeling that’s really unexplainable.”
Defensive tackles were taken with the next two picks at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, where the NFL’s annual draft is being televised in prime time for the first time. The Detroit Lions selected Ndamukong Suh from the University of Nebraska with the second pick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy with the third selection.
A third Oklahoma player was picked next, as the Washington Redskins drafted tackle Trent Williams as offensive line protection for new quarterback Donovan McNabb.
University of Tennessee safety Eric Berry went to the Kansas City Chiefs with the fifth pick, the highest a safety has been drafted since Sean Taylor in 2004. The Seattle Seahawks followed by taking Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung, the first draft choice for new coach Pete Carroll.
The Cleveland Browns used the seventh pick on University of Florida cornerback Joe Haden and the Oakland Raiders followed by taking University of Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain.
The first running back taken was Clemson University’s C.J. Spiller, who was drafted ninth by the Buffalo Bills. The Jacksonville Jaguars took University of California defensive tackle Tyson Alualu to complete the top 10.
The New York Giants had the 15th pick and took University of South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants are seeking to improve a defense that allowed the third-most points in the NFL last season.
Prior to the Giants’ pick, the San Francisco 49ers traded up to take Rutgers University offensive tackle Anthony Davis at No. 11 and the San Diego Chargers moved up 16 spots to take Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews.
The Philadelphia Eagles selected University of Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham at No. 13 and the Seahawks used their second pick on University of Texas safety Earl Thomas.
The 22-year-old Bradford is the 10th quarterback in 13 years to be taken with the top pick in the NFL draft.
Bradford won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore two years ago, when he led Oklahoma to the national championship game, passed for a school-record 4,720 yards and threw for 50 touchdowns. He was limited to three games last season because of a shoulder injury that required surgery in October.
Bradford is the ninth Heisman winner to be drafted No. 1 and the first since quarterback Carson Palmer of the University of Southern California in 2003. He’s the third Oklahoma player taken as the top pick and the first since running back Billy Sims in 1980.
The Rams released quarterback Marc Bulger last month after nine seasons.
To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org