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Insider

Sam Bradford safe in St. Louis?

12/29/2011

Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag every Monday and Wednesday. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.


Q: If the St. Louis Rams "win" the first overall pick, should they draft Andrew Luck or trade that pick away and stick with Sam Bradford?

-- Jimmy (Missouri)

A: One of the great questions of the offseason, Jimmy, and one that will be in play every day if the Indianapolis Colts beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and St. Louis loses to the San Francisco 49ers. My early read on it is that St. Louis would wind up trading the No. 1 overall pick for a bounty of picks -- my guess is three first-round picks and two second-round picks, which by the way, also happens to be the exact price the Colts were asking and could have gotten for the John Elway pick in 1983 before Robert Irsay made a deal on his own without his general manager, Ernie Accorsi. So assuming the Rams could get a bounty of picks -- and they can -- then that would be my guess as to the route they'd go. They'd use all those picks to surround Sam Bradford with the type of supporting cast he hasn't had the past two seasons. Guess we'll find out Sunday whether this is the question that will be asked every day until April.

Q: There has been a lot of speculation about Tom Coughlin and Jason Garrett's job security. Do you think either will be fired if their respective team misses the playoffs?

-- Alex (New York)

A: Doesn't look that way, Alex. Now, one of these coaches is going to be very happy Sunday night, and one is going to be very mad. One is going to be roundly saluted, and one is going to be openly criticized. But even saying that, the New York Giants are one of the most stable organizations in sports, and Coughlin is one of the top coaches. So even if the Giants lose Sunday night, it's hard to see them making a change. And Jerry Jones has been on record as saying he's keeping Jason Garrett. And we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But keep in mind, Jones has said one thing and done another before. And if the Dallas Cowboys lose, they will have been swept this season by the Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. That 0-4 mark against two division rivals won't sit well with anyone in the Cowboys organization. Saying that, my hunch is we'll see Coughlin and Garrett back in 2012.

Q: Adam, where do you see my man Matthew Stafford ranking among NFL quarterbacks? Would you consider him an elite quarterback, and if not what does he need to do to get to that point?

-- Steve (Mississippi)

A: He needs to prove himself when it matters most, in the postseason, by winning some games there. If and when he can do that, he will be classified as an elite quarterback, which he just about is now. Take a look at his numbers this season -- they are really impressive and he has played at an elite level. But now Stafford has to do it over time by staying healthy, and he has to do it when it matters most, in the postseason. If he can do that, he will be considered elite. As it is, he's still one of the top quarterbacks in the league now. And keep in mind, he's only 23 years old. Detroit should have a long fruitful relationship with him.


Q: What direction do you think the Eagles go in the draft and offseason? It seems like they need to improve their linebacking core.

-- Jarrad (New Jersey)

A: That's one area, Jarrad, absolutely. And they will. But the thing with the Eagles is, they seem to always gravitate back to offensive and defensive linemen. They can't go wrong there. And there was a lot of talk before the draft last year that they would go for an offensive lineman in Round 1, which is exactly what happened. And it wouldn't surprise me if the Eagles went that route again. They have the skill-position players, and Philadelphia knows it needs to protect them. No question they need to upgrade their linebackers, but it will not surprise me to see offensive linemen go to Philadelphia early.


Q: Do you think the Pittsburgh Steelers should play Ben Roethlisberger this week? His ankle isn't 100 percent and they should be able to beat the Cleveland Browns without him, right?

-- Marilyn (Illinois)

A: Probably, Marilyn. But they need a healthy Roethlisberger for the playoffs. It's hard to say during the week that we're going to rest Roethlisberger because it sends a bad message to the rest of the team. But the truth is that Pittsburgh should be able to rest Roethlisberger and still take care of the Browns. Now, will they? Still too early to call. You're talking about one of the toughest players in the game. He loves being out there and revels in bouncing back from injuries like this. My guess is he won't wind up playing but will be there in relief in case Pittsburgh needs him to try to pull out the game in the end. And then, the legend of Roethlisberger would only grow.