Oh Yeah, Carl Bradford is Still Around…
You would be hard pressed to find a fourth-round or higher Ted Thompson draft pick that wasn’t injured that the Green Bay Packers got less out of than linebacker Carl Bradford.
The Packers grabbed Bradford in the fourth round in 2014. He was an edge rusher at Arizona State that pretty much everyone projected as an inside linebacker in the pros. Everyone except the Packers, that is.
The knocks on Bradford as an outside rusher were simple — not big enough, arms too short.
And guess what.
The Packers quickly found out Bradford couldn’t get off or around blocks because… wait for it… he wasn’t big enough and his arms were too short. Although he was a complete non-factor in his first training camp, the Packers kept Bradford on the roster. Hard to part with a fourth-round pick less than a year after you drafted him.
Bradford was inactive for every game during the 2014 season.
It was a little different in 2015. Now Bradford was an inside linebacker and had a full offseason to learn the position.
That didn’t really make a difference. Bradford didn’t make the final roster this time around and spent the season on the practice squad.
So now what?
Frankly, we expect nothing from Bradford. If it finally clicks and he shows he’s capable three years in, we’ll be surprised. More likely, he’ll fail to make the team and will be looking for another career in September.
You can tell the Packers aren’t expecting anything either.
“Obviously now he’s had a year at the position, so we would expect him to be able to take that step,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “We probably won’t really know until we get into the preseason games.”
Assistant inside linebackers coach Scott McCurley said pretty much the same thing.
“It will sort its way out this fall, I think, and we’ll really get a feel for where he’s at compared to the rest of the guys in the group. Like we’ve seen in the past in certain glimpses, he has some ability. We’ve just got to get it out of him, and he’s got to get it out of himself.”
Clearly, expectations are not high for Bradford.
At this point, it would gravy if he demonstrated the ability to be a solid backup and special teams player.
The Packers have a history of injuries at the inside linebacker position — Nick Barnett, Desmond Bishop, D.J. Smith, Brad Jones, Sam Barrington. Some of those injuries were catastrophic. The Packers need depth at inside linebacker.
After their top three of Jake Ryan, Blake Martinez and Sam Barrington, we really have no idea what the Packers have on the inside.
That fourth slot is wide open.
So what do you got, Carl Bradford? Fight or flight?