So What’s Up with Carl Bradford?

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Carl Bradford

Carl Bradford

Of all of the Green Bay Packers 2014 draft picks, linebacker Carl Bradford is the most intriguing, at least to us.

The Packers grabbed Bradford in the fourth round and frankly, there are all kinds of questions about him.

The ASU product had plenty of production on the field, tallying 8.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss in 2013 and 11.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss in 2012. He did that while playing a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker role.

At 6-1, 240, one of the knocks on him is that he’s too small. His arms (30 1/2) are apparently too short too. And then there’s the question of whether he’s capable of operating from a two-point stance or covering anybody.

So like I said. All kinds of questions.

What we do know is this. Bradford isn’t going to be playing any defensive end in the NFL.

The real question is whether he’ll be playing outside or inside linebacker.

A lot of scouts have suggested that Bradford is better suited for the latter and the thought of an inside linebacker with Bradford’s explosiveness absolutely makes us drool.

When the Packers drafted him, we were giddy because it felt as if we were one step closer to our life-long dream of a Packers defense without A.J. Hawk at inside linebacker.

Well, unfortunately, there’s been no indication from the Packers that they plan to move Bradford inside. It appears they’re going to try him at outside linebacker and see what happens.

That doesn’t mean they won’t make a move later on. Consider both Brad Jones (6-3, 242) and Jamari Lattimore (6-2, 230) started their careers on the outside only to be moved inside.

Also, remember that Hawk (6-1, 247) was an outside linebacker when the Packers ran the 4-3.

Bradford’s size would suggest he’s better suited to the inside.

Clay Matthews is the Packers smallest outside linebacker and he’s 255. Nick Perry comes in at 265 and Mike Neal weighs a hefty 285.

So if Bradford is going to play the outside, he’s going to have to bulk up. Of course, the sooner the Packers make the logical choice and move him inside, the sooner he can take Hawk’s job.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

19 Comments on "So What’s Up with Carl Bradford?"

  1. Shawn Iltarion

    The Packers won the Super Bowl with Hawk at inside LB. So, it is a strange dream you have.

    I think a better dream would be one in which someone besides Hawk can stay healthy for 16 games!

    • Chad Lundberg

      Hawk was a fifth overall pick, yet he has never even been in a pro-bowl consideration. He is a MASSIVE underachiever, who consistently underplays while getting overpaid. That’s changed a little bit in the last couple years, but overall it’s still quite the same. I’d rather take Desmond Bishop or Clay Matthews who are consistently injured over him. And Patrick Willis is proof that stellar play at ILB doesn’t have to sacrifice health.

      • Phatgzus

        Nice argumentum ad Willisum-sure not all ILBs get hurt, but the dude is a once in a generation player, at the least. Bowman’s pretty dam good as well, but he just had a (I believe his first) major injury. Bishop struggled to make the ‘Queens roster. Yes, Hawk had not lived up to his draft spot, but that’s not just on him. He is a very serviceable ILB who’d be starting for half the teams in the league. Sorry, but I’d rather have Hawk than a bag of flesh, bones, and potential wasting on the sidelines in street clothes (Bishop).

        • Shawn Iltarion

          It is actually a myth that Hawk “did not live up to his draft spot.”

          Look up every 5th overall selection since 1990. There are 24 of them. Right now AJ Hawk is easily within the top 12 of that list.

          If you are above average among the last 24 players picked at your spot, then you’ve lived up to your spot.

          Hawk’s numbers last season – 118 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 FFs- are very similar to Bishop’s 2010, and yet Bishop’s 2010 is constantly cited by Monty as being the holy grail of inside linebacking.

        • Chad Lundberg

          Both Bishop and Bowman’s injuries were freak accidents, not sure if they actually relate to their style of play.

    • TyKo Steamboat

      Amen, Iltarion.

      I remember how everyone wanted us to trade Hawk for a Running Back which would have upset the whole space-time continuum. No thanks. Also, A.J. could have taken more $ elsewhere but he remains with a top-notch organization like Green Bay to “Win Superbowls”

  2. Icebowler

    Maybe he’ll play “elephant”? From what I’ve read all offseason, everybody else is. The elephant position is going to be the savior of our defense. Peppers is going to be the elephant. Perry is going to play elephant. Neal is a natural to play elephant. Why not Clay as well? Our sub-packages will be the 6-0-5 “ears” defense and the 5-0-6 “trunk” defense.

  3. Zwoeger

    I think that’s exactly why they drafted Bradford.
    To take over Hawk’s place.
    Sort of penny wise pound foolish the other way around. Have to see it first but very probably an upgrade

  4. Another writer to put on my irrelevant, football ignorant list.
    I would hope Bradford can show he has real talent playing OLB, The Packers are gonna need him on the field when Clay and the others are standing on the sidelines healing from their latest injury.

  5. K.L.

    Moot article. Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, and Brian Gutekunst all stated that Bradford will be pass-rushing as an outside linebacker, according to Vic Ketchman. I assume that’s the truth since a packers.com employee can’t really lie about that sort of thing.

  6. John

    Giddy to replace Hawk?? I just don’t understand that! His stats are outstanding and he’s only missed I believe one, maybe two games his entire carreer

  7. Richard

    No question about it. The league will have no answers when Capers unleashes his 10-Elephant-Dix package in 2015

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