The other night, in a conversation with a friend, the topic turned to Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.
What kind of season will he have? Is he ready to make a leap to elite status among NFL quarterbacks?

Here’s what I truly believe: watch out.

In his first three NFL seasons Bradford was bloodied and bruised but he still is standing, and in 2013 he’ll be in a fair fight for the first time in his NFL career.

The hard knocks of the NFL couldn’t kill Bradford. He took a merciless beating after joining the worst NFL franchise as the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick in 2010. But it didn’t wreck his body or drain his morale.

From 2010 through 2012, Bradford was sacked 105 times, or more than all but four NFL quarterbacks.

According to Pro Football Focus, no NFL quarterback absorbed more hits while delivering a throw than Bradford over the past three seasons, and only a few teams dropped more passes than the Rams.

Bradford has started 42 games for the Rams, and over that relatively brief time he’s played for two owners, two head coaches, two general managers and three offensive coordinators.

He’s thrown to 11 different starters at wide receiver, and seven starters at tight end. His pass protection suffered during a turnstile count that put six different starters at offensive tackle, six starters at guard and four at center.

Bradford is 15-26-1 as a starter. Somehow, that record was all Bradford’s fault — well, at least to his most impatient critics.

Bradford spent most of the past three seasons operating under the worst possible circumstances for an NFL quarterback. If you drew up a plot to ruin a career, this would have been it.