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Bradford not in Rams' fold yet, but second-rounder Saffold signs

The St. Louis Rams have Sam Bradford's protection in place. Now the question is, when will the No. 1 overall pick be signed?

The Rams announced Wednesday that they have signed offensive lineman Rodger Saffold, the first pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Saffold received a four-year, $6.3 million contract with $3.9 million guaranteed and another $250,000 in hard-to-reach incentives (Pro Bowl/Rookie of the Year), a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora.'s Steve Wyche reported that negotiations with Bradford are ongoing, and the source told him a deal could be reached within the next 48 hours. If that's the case, Bradford would be in place by the time the entire team begins training-camp workouts Saturday.

Saffold, who was the 33rd player selected in April, is expected to play right tackle for the Rams. Jason Smith, last year's second overall pick in the 2009 draft, moved to left tackle.

Smith played in just eight games last season, starting five, because of a knee injury and a concussion. The Rams will protect Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick, with two untested players.

Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur seems unconcerned, however. He said Wednesday that he's excited by the potential of Saffold and Smith.

"I think they're young and talented, so we're excited about what these guys can do," Shurmur said. "They've got fresh legs and they're really good players, so we anticipate they're going to be very productive for a long, long time."

Saffold started 41 of 42 games while at Indiana and received second-team All-Big Ten Conference honors as a senior when he allowed just three sacks on 440 pass plays.

Shurmur wouldn't say for certain that Saffold would start right away, but signs point to it.

"At this point, well see how it plays out," Shurmur said. "We'll put the best five guys out there, and I would anticipate he'll wind up playing tackle."

Shurmur is taking a similar approach with Bradford. Shurmur likes what he has seen so far from the former Heisman Trophy winner.

"He did such a good job in the spring," Shurmur said. "I'd like to be able to see him build on that.

"His challenge is to be ready to play Day 1. If that works out, great. If it takes a little bit longer, so be it. But I'm anticipating he's going to build on what he did this spring.

If Bradford isn't ready, the Rams will turn to 10-year NFL veteran A.J. Feeley, who has an extensive history with Shurmur from his days with the Philadelphia Eagles. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Tuesday that Feeley is the team's starter entering camp.

Rams rookies reported to camp Wednesday afternoon. The full squad is due in Saturday.

The Rams also said that they have signed sixth-round pick Fendi Onobun, a tight end from the University of Houston. Onobun played one season of college football after a four-year basketball career at the University of Arizona.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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