ST. LOUIS (AP) — Before the St. Louis Rams took Sam Bradford with the first pick of the draft he had a pretty good idea of what practices would be like.
A week earlier at his private workout, the Rams introduced the Oklahoma quarterback to a slice of the daily routine. He spent time in the huddle calling plays, barked out signals at the line, made defensive reads.
"We were doing things you do in practice," Bradford said Friday. "It was great to hear how they do things here and get a sense of what practice is going to be like."
Coach Steve Spagnuolo said the workout differed from Bradford's pro day in that there was more "spitting out verbiage." Coaches also wanted to measure the quarterback's retention of some plays he had been given.
The Rams, 1-15 last year and 6-42 the last three seasons, are pinning their long-term hopes on the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner. He held up a No. 8 jersey at a news conference Friday that was attended by his parents, Martha and Kent Bradford, and Lucia Rodriguez, one-half of the brother-sister ownership team.
The Rams moved to protect their investment to open the second day of the draft, taking Indiana offensive tackle Rodger Saffold with the 33rd overall pick. The 6-4, 312-pound Saffold started 41 games in his college career and was a second-team All-Big Ten pick as a senior.
"Oh man, it was a long night," Saffold said. "Your heart's racing the entire time and I'm just glad St. Louis called. I didn't know how much longer I could have taken it."
Bradford hits the field for the first time next weekend at a three-day rookie minicamp. He's a bit relieved that except for deeper pass routes, the plays he's run so far were not much different from college.
"I felt very comfortable going through those drills, going through those reads," Bradford said. "It eases my mind a little bit knowing that everything's not going to be completely different."
Repeating remarks just after being picked, Bradford appeared in no hurry to grab the starting job over an undistinguished group led by career backup A.J. Feeley. The Rams basically had to take a quarterback after releasing Marc Bulger earlier this month.
"I realize I have a lot of work in front of me, I realize there's some good quarterbacks here that I can hopefully learn from," Bradford said. "I'm just excited for my opportunity and I'm going to get to work as soon as possible, and then it's up to the coaches."
Bradford wore No. 14 at Oklahoma. He chose No. 8 with the Rams as a nod to fellow Oklahoman Troy Aikman, the Hall of Fame quarterback he recalled had a knack for finding ways to win.
"He was very good at that," Bradford said. "I just relate to him."
General manager Billy Devaney said the Safford pick got the thumbs-up from Bradford's dad, who exclaimed "Offensive line, baby!" just before the Bradfords left Rams Park in a limousine. Devaney insisted there had been no "master plan" to acquire protection, and said the team would have taken Saffold no matter who they drafted No. 1.
The Rams hung onto the second-round pick despite widespread rumors they would be willing to trade down. At a briefing following the pick, Devaney joked that he hadn't received any offers because his cell phone had been turned off, but said later teams began calling as soon as the first round ended.
"There were some offers," Devaney said. "We would have had to move significantly back in the second round and what we were going to get back for it, we just didn't think it was worth passing up a lineman that had this much talent."
Spagnuolo said Saffold could be a fit at either tackle or guard. The Rams have been unhappy with left tackle Alex Barron.