Pro Position: OLB/ILB
Bench press: 225x23
Power Clean: 330 pounds
Vertical jump: 37 1/2 inches
Broad Jump: 10 feet, 2 inches
Times (10/20/40 yards): 1.66, 2.78 and 4.76 seconds
Arm Length: 30 1/2 inches
Hands: 9 1/2 inches
Wingspan: 74 1/2 inches
20-Yd/60-Yd Shuttle: 4.30/11.75 seconds
Three-Cone: 7.25 seconds
2013 Best Games: Stanford, USC, Notre Dame, Colorado, Washington, Washington State, Utah, UCLA, Arizona, Texas Tech
2013 Worst Games: Wisconsin
2012 Best Games: Illinois, Utah, California, Colorado, UCLA, USC, Washington State, Arizona, Navy
2012 Worst Games: Oregon
Bradford might lack ideal height to play on the outside, but he is a broad-shouldered athlete with a thick chest, well-developed arms, tight waist, good bubble, thick lower body muscle development and knotted calves. He has a solid build with even more room on his frame to carry additional bulk without having it affect his overall quickness. He has a firm midsection and a strong lower body frame that helps him hold ground firmly vs. double teams.
Bradford has adequate playing speed and change of direction agility, but he shows an explosive straight-ahead burst and good plant-&-drive skills to come out of his breaks cleanly. He keeps his pads down and arms extended to take on and shed blocks in attempts to push the lead blocker back into the rush lanes. His knee bend allows him to recover and mirror tight ends covering in the short area and he uses his hands well to attack the outside leg of the ball carrier to impede the runner’s forward progress. His burst and acceleration moving forward will generally surprise a lethargic lineman. He plays with good body control, doing a nice job of keeping the activity in front of him and demonstrates excellent avoidance skills to generate good backside pressure. With his ability to stay low in his pads and slip blocks getting through trash, he is capable of making big plays from the weak-side, but with his frame and straight-line burst, I feel he is ideally suited to be an inside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment rather than as a classic MLB or playing on the front wall as an edge rusher. He demonstrates very good quickness closing on the ball, as he has the agility and balance to close in a hurry.
Bradford seems to always be around the ball. Quarterbacks can’t fool him with pump fakes or misdirection and he’s made a nice living of sniffing out the activity in the backfield. He is alert to blocking schemes and knows that it is best to avoid the bigger linemen rather than try to combat them in the trenches. He is aware of his surroundings and does a nice job of lining his teammates up. His peripheral vision is evident by the way he digests action on the field and moves with no hesitation to close. He is capable of handling the mental aspect of the game and will have no problems making all the calls at the professional level.
Bradford is the type of kid you hope your daughter brings home for dinner. He is a very good character, a personable sort who has a calming effect over his teammates, as he takes pride in his role as the squad’s leader. He is a determined athlete who puts in the extra hours to train and is a natural self-starter that the staff never needs to monitor. He has no known off-field issues and is the type that a team can build around, confident that he will become a valuable performer on the field and a strong presence in the locker room.
You have to tear off his jersey to get Bradford off the field. Relentless in pursuit, determined in his quest to make the play and playing with emotion are some of the infectious traits that have made him a respected team leader. He keeps the entire team in check, as he has complete control of the locker room and huddle. The success the team experienced the last two years is the result of the younger players being mentored by Bradford. He simply refuses to give up on plays and will run a long way to deliver a hit. He is a violent hitter with no hesitation when it comes to selling out in order to make the plays.
Bradford is not a rah-rah type, preferring to let his actions speak for him. He is the type of player the staff wants the other athletes to emulate. He is a perfectionist who is also his own worst critic, but you like that never-ending desire to improve that he displays. Like the Ravens’ future Hall of Famer, Ray Lewis, the other players feed off how their leader acts and Bradford is keenly aware of that, striving to set a good example with his work ethic. He will not hesitate to put a teammate in his place, but does it with good criticism, so as to not alienate a player.
Key and Diagnostic Skills
Bradford is quick to see the play develop and flow to the ball. He might out-run a few plays when he gets over aggressive, but will generally stay with the flow of the ball. He is alert to blocking schemes and doesn’t bite on play action or misdirection. He plays with natural linebacker instincts – flow to the ball, maintain position, extend his arms, wrap and secure. He can track the flow of the play with his range and has very good vision, reads hats well and rarely hesitates in attempts to make the play. With his experience playing up front at the line of scrimmage (ASU uses a hybrid called Devilbacker-a cross between a weak-side outside linebacker and rush end, depending on the type of offensive play), he has a very nice feel for blocking schemes, as he attacks the line with shoulders squared, using his lower body strength to hold ground at the point of attack. He moves quickly and decisively and even when he overruns some plays, he has the body control, balance and sense of urgency to recover. He is generally in position to make big impact plays in the traffic (see 2013 USC, Colorado and Arizona and 2012 Illinois, Utah and Navy games). He has excellent instincts and vision to spot misdirection and locate the ball. He does a very good job of avoiding blocks and can see through blockers and get to the ball.
Playing Strength and Explosion
Bradford has a good hand punch to defeat isolated blockers and the leg drive to push the fullback into the rush lanes. He plays low in his pads to defeat double teams and shows good hand placement and counter moves to shed. Even though he lacks great height, it is very hard for bigger linemen can engulf him and wash him out of the play, as he is too quick with his counter moves and generates too hard of a punch for any linemen to manage to get their hands locked on to his jersey. He shows nice explosion on contact to make up for those size issues and is a slippery tackler who stays square when reacting to block pressure. Even when he gets pinned by the lineman, he is very active with his hands to prevent the opponent from sealing him off. While some concerns about his size arise, he has proven to be perfectly capable of shedding blocks and was much tougher for a blocker to knock him around as a junior, thanks to his improved overall strength.
Bradford has an explosive closing burst, but is just adequate when changing direction to give chase along the perimeter. He plays low in his pads, but must work on his balance when trying to redirect improved (sometimes feet stop and he will cross-leg a bit). He can scrape and sift through trash well in attempts to close on the ball in front of him, and has greatly in attempts to avoid traffic along the perimeter. He pursues hard and shows improved knee bend slipping through inside trash in 2013 and proved that he was able to collide and drag down the outside runner (see 2013 USC, Colorado, Washington, Arizona and Stanford/Pac 12 title games)
Use of Hands
Bradford has natural hands in attempts to pick off or deflect the ball. His excellent leaping ability and hand extension lets him get to the ball at its high point. He keeps his hands active in attempts to keep blockers off him and has developed efficient counter moves to defeat blocks. He has the ability to look the ball in over his shoulders and secures the pigskin well before heading upfield (see 2013 Notre Dame and UCLA and 2012 USC games).
Bradford is a solid wrap-up tackler whose low center of gravity, hand extension and leg drive prevents most ball carriers from slipping off his tackles. He is very good at attacking the runner’s outside leg to impede forward progress. He is an equally effective tackler inside the box and along the perimeter (sometimes, change of direction issues will prevent him from making some of those plays on the outside, but he showed much better hip flexibility his junior year). He breaks down and fits well when tackling opponents in front of him. The thing you see on film is his ability to hit the ball carrier with a good thud. As a junior, he is showing much better control when playing in space than he did in the past (see 2013 Notre Dame and UCLA games)
Bradford is known for his ability for stuffing the lead blocker back into the rush lane. His size allows him to stay stout vs. the inside running game, as he uses his hands effectively to shed. His vision and awareness lets him be very quick to fill the tackle-to-tackle holes, getting a lot of success making plays in-line (on 43 running plays directed at him in 2013, the opponent managed only one first down). Because of size issues, he is more apt to slip past the bigger blockers rather than engage them. He lacks the second gear to give chase for long around the corners, making him a bit of a liability covering from sideline-to-sideline. He keeps his feet well getting through traffic, but needs to improve his overall speed to make plays along the boundaries. Don’t get me wrong, he demonstrates good urgency in his outside pursuit, staying low in his pads to take out the outside leg of a runner to prevent them from falling forward. It is just that I feel as an inside linebacker, he will do an outstanding job of keeping leverage on the lead blocker, as he works hard to keep containment on plays when aligned on the weak outside. He is very decisive when reading the run and has that strong first step to take on the offensive guards or lead block to stack and control (40.5 tackles for loss during his last two seasons). He shows good consistency squaring his shoulders (very rare to see him turn them) and is surprisingly stout at the point of attack. Even though he gives up some bulk to interior linemen, he is physical when taking them on and shedding. This is a player that puts every ounce of effort and strength behind his frame to plug the gaps. He is quick to locate the ball working inside and will hold his ground firmly at the point of attack to make negative yardage tackles. He also shows the functional burst and speed to close and cut off the ball carrier on the outside.
Bradford has the functional hip snap to come out of his backpedal cleanly. He gets good depth taking on slot receivers and tight ends in the short area, but has just average fluidity when having to change direction in an instant. Still, with his vision, he does a good job of keeping the action in front of him. Even with average COD skills, his depth on his drops are the result of taking a good drop angle. He is quick transitioning from the draw read and gets good depth when handling play action. Yes, he does have some hip stiffness and might sometimes look tight in his turn, but is quick to recover, as he has a very good understanding for angling and a good feel for underneath coverage (see 2013 Wisconsin, Washington, Notre Dame and UCLA games). Most college defensive linemen making the move to the classic linebacker position need some pass coverage refinement, but Bradford appears to have good awareness on passes with a quick break to the ball. He does a nice job of adjusting his feet to cover backs in the flats. He also has the quickness to mirror and ride the hip of the slot receivers. His best asset in pass coverage is the way get gets depth after reading the quarterback.
In the short area, Bradford is capable of handling the switch-off or rerouting the receivers in front of him. He just lacks the second gear and change of direction fluidity to recover when beaten in the deep zone. He has very good awareness to look up the receiver and shows a nice feel for the route developing. When he keeps plays in front of him, he will strike the opponent with authority and makes some nice plays on the ball thanks to his hands. He has a good feel for plays in his area, showing the shadow skills to stay on top of the ball as the route extends. On 36 pass plays he was involved in during 2013, the opposition was pressured by Bradford into throwing five incompletions, including two that resulted in interceptions, along with picking off one toss and deflecting four others.
Pass Rush and Blitz
If given a clear lane, Bradford can be efficient applying pressure (see 2013 Stanford, USC, Colorado, Washington, Washington State, UCLA and Arizona games). He shows good determination in backside pursuit, but does not have the blazing speed to simply give long chase in the backfield. He is slippery on the blitz, doing a nice job of avoiding blocks and has decent pass rush moves. The thing you see on film is his ability to bring on the heat when he finds the rush lane. He might get hung up on some blocks due to his size at the NFL level, but if he doesn’t get to the quarterback, it is not because of a lack of effort. He is not the type who comes at the QB on a one-way track, as he shows good timing on the blitz and enters gaps with his shoulders properly squared.
TEDI BRUSCHI-ex-New England: Many compare Barnett to the former All-Pro and they have taken similar paths, as both made their names playing close to the line of scrimmage in college. Bradford will likely be tried at weak-side outside linebacker first, but I liken that to having the Mona Lisa hanging up in your garage (great piece of work that no one will appreciate it). Move this Sun Devil inside in a 3-4 scheme and you will unleash the next Bruschi on NFL quarterbacks (just look at their similar pass rusher and tackle-for-loss figures). He is more effective on the bull rush than coming off the edge, any way. The emotional leader of the Sun Devils’ defense, Bradford has an exceptional work ethic that rubs off on his teammates. He compensates for a lack of ideal size with keen field vision and awareness, as he always seems to be in position to make the big play.