Arizona State’s Carl Bradford is one of the more interesting and versatile players in this draft class. Last year Bradford was asked to fill multiple roles such as rushing the passer, dropping into coverage and playing the run. The fact that he was able to show promise accomplishing each of those tasks is what makes him so versatile.
While he showed promise as a pass rusher, Bradford appeared to be better suited for a traditional linebacker role. He possesses the instincts to quickly diagnosis a play and work towards the football. His quickness allowed him to make plays from sideline to sideline. Bradford is a balanced athlete which helps him hold up in coverage.
This year Bradford took an important step forward as a pass rusher. Arizona State has asked him to rush the passer more often and it has helped Bradford develop a better feel. He has improved his snap awareness, hand usage and ability to dip his shoulder to flatten out around the edge.
While he possesses pass-rushing ability, it’s a stretch to say that he’s a potentially elite rusher. His value at the next level will come from his ability to be a jack of all traits with the added dimension of a pass rush.
Bradford doesn’t have the size to play defensive end at the next level, but he has shown the skills needed to make a quick transition to linebacker. It’ll be important for Bradford to continue to show his versatility throughout the draft process.
He has a chance to make himself a fit for any defensive system which will put him on the draft board of every NFL team. This is why you can’t rule Bradford out as a first-round pick and at the very least he won’t make it past the second day of the draft.