The 2008 winner of the Heisman Trophy from Oklahoma is the eighth quarterback since 2001 taken atop the draft. St. Louis was 1-15 last season and scored a league-low 175 points. The Rams cut incumbent Marc Bulger in the offseason.
Bradford appeared in only three games in 2009, his junior year, before undergoing right shoulder surgery. His recovery has been so complete that the Rams didn't hesitate to make him the future face of the franchise.
His selection opened the first NFL draft to begin in prime-time, and was greeted with a mixture of cheers and jeers by the audience at Radio City Music Hall.
An hour before the draft, Bradford, looking dapper in a gray suit, admitted he was nervous.
"The butterflies are flying around right now," he said.
A little while later, he could relax -- at least until he gets on the field behind the Rams' weak offensive line.
Detroit then chose Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska, considered the best defensive tackle prospect in more than a decade. The AP Player of the Year won the Lombardi, Bednarik and Nagurski trophies in 2009 and comes off a dominant Big 12 title game in which he had 12 tackles with 4 1/2 sacks.
He was greeted by "SUH, SUH," as he walked onto the stage holding a Lions jersey.