With the fourth installment of our Tape Watch series, we at Acme Packing Company take a look at the Green Bay Packers' fourth-round pick, Carl Bradford.
Position: Outside Linebacker
College: Arizona State
Weight: 250 pounds
Bradford started 27 consecutive games for the Sun Devils from 2012-2013, and led the team with 8.5 sacks in his senior season. He was a second-team All-Pac 12 selection, and was on the watch list for the Bednarik Award.
- 4.76 forty-yard dash
- 122-inch broad jump (group best)
- 23 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press
- 37.5-inch vertical jump
- 7.25 three-cone drill
- 4.30 20-yard shuttle
Bradford shows great athletic ability on this play against UCLA. He makes initial contact, gets inside leverage on his man, and then shows great leaping ability and soft hands as he picks off the swing pass to the running back and takes it back for a touchdown.
(Close your eyes Wisconsin fans.) Bradford shows a quick burst on this play, gets to the edge before the left tackle, and gets to the quarterback to break up the two-point conversion. Bradford may not be a jack-of-all trades in terms of pass rush moves, but he is able to turn his hips, set the edge, and blow by offensive tackles frequently despite that flaw.
On this play, Bradford reads the option perfectly, forces the quarterback to commit, and then chases down the ball carrier before the play ever gets going. Bradford saw heavy doses of read-option play in his career in the Pac-12 with teams like Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona. Stanford's offense is as close of a resemblance to the San Francisco 49ers as you'll get at the collegiate level, so to see Bradford continually play well against them is a plus.
On this play, Bradford attempts to bull rush the left tackle and gets stalemated at the point of attack. Instead of attempting a swim or rip move, Bradford spins in place, and essentially takes himself out of the play. One knock on Bradford is that if he isn't able to cross the lineman's face off the initial burst, he doesn't usually get past that lineman.
On this play, Bradford gets bullied at the line of scrimmage, isn't able to get to the edge, and gives up a touchdown run directly through his lane. He also throws out an arm tackle that barely even slows the ball carrier down. This is just an example of something Bradford has to work on in terms of hand movement and getting off of the initial block. His frame makes it hard for him to disengage bigger linemen, but he needs to combat that with quick hands and more pass rush moves.
Bradford plays with urgency and takes great angles to the ball carrier. He Is effective at stunting and looping from a three-point stance, and can also play on his feet off the ball. He times up the blitz well, and wraps up when making contact. Bradford also has good hands in pass coverage, and has a knack for swatting passes down at the line of scrimmage. He is athletic enough to cover running backs and tight ends in the flats on screen plays and wheel routes. He also has solid instincts that allow him to locate the ball quickly.
Bradford isn't very big at 6-foot-1 and has a compact frame with average arm length. This often results in Bradford getting hung up on blocks, and locked down by bigger offensive linemen that are able to get their hands on him. Bradford also doesn't seem to have a large arsenal of pass-rush moves, and his hand use as an edge-rusher could use some work.
Bradford reminds me of a poor man's Clay Matthews. He doesn't posses the elusiveness and pass-rush moves that Matthews had coming out of USC, but he plays with a similar high energy and is an excellent blitzer off the edge. He will have to work on his hand movement and learn some more pass-rush moves, but Bradford could potentially turn into the edge rushing specialist opposite of Clay Matthews that the team has needed in recent seasons.