James Bradberry, Carolina Panthers

Grading the Panthers' Selection of James Bradberry

In the second round of the draft, Carolina surprised a bit with the selection of cornerback James Bradberry out of Samford.

For this draft pick by the Carolina Panthers, and all selections from this point forward, we will be breaking the move down into four categories. Each category is worth up to 25 points and a final grade will be handed out based on the total score. These are the definitions of each category:

Player- How has the player produced to this point in his career? Where does he rank among other players at his position?

Team Fit- How does he fit within the offensive or defensive scheme?

Team Need- Is this position a weak spot on the roster? Does this move strengthen the position?

Draft Value- Where did the player get drafted? Where was he projected to go?

 

Player

Grade: 20 out of 25

In the second round the Panthers went with their replacement for Josh Norman at cornerback with the selection of James Bradberry out of Samford who comes in as a relatively unknown prospect.

Bradberry was a four-year starter at Samford and racked up four interceptions and 15 pass breakups in the his final two years while also being named to the All-Southern Conference team.

His measurables are what make him a truly enticing small-school product. With a 6-foot-1, 211-pound frame with 33-inch arms and a 4.5-forty time, Bradberry has ideal size for today’s NFL and has a lot of traits similar to Norman. He’s more of a zone corner – perfect for Carolina – and uses his length to his advantage in both coverage and with his ball skills.

 

Team Fit

Grade: 25 out of 25

Fitting into the Panthers’ zone scheme should be no issue for Bradberry. He is generally been seen as a zone corner and has proven – albeit at a small school – to thrive and uses his abilities and physical traits to his advantage, much like Norman did.

NFL.com’s draft analyst Lance Zierlein described Bradberry’s strengths as being almost a perfect fit for Carolina in that he thrives in zone, makes plays on the ball and uses the sideline to his advantage in coverage.

 

Team Need

Grade: 25 out of 25

Cornerback was already a top need for the Panthers to address in the draft and became arguably their greatest one after the departure of Norman.

As it stands, Bene Benwikere and Robert McClain are set to man the outside spots with the newly signed Brandon Boykin handling nickelback duties – clearly a bunch that could use some assistance.

Adding Bradberry – essentially Josh Norman 2.0 – should greatly benefit this Panthers defense now and into the future as he’ll likely wind up starting opposite Benwikere once he adjusts to the NFL.

 

Draft Value

Grade: 15 out of 25

Clearly, Dave Gettleman and the Panthers had Bradberry high on their draft board but it remains to be seen if anyone else had the same on theirs.

Many draft experts saw Bradberry as a mid-round prospect likely to be taken in the fourth or fifth round of the draft.

If he was this high on their board to receive a grade worthy of second round selection, it really can’t be argued. But in terms of other possible talent that was available that could have been drafted while still securing Bradberry with a later pick, the value simply isn’t there.

 

Final Grade

Grade: 85 out of 100

85 out of 100 isn’t a bad final grade by any means. Bradberry’s play-style and physical traits make him a perfect fit at a position of desperate need for the Panthers, and that cannot be argued with.

With some time, solid coaching and the benefit of a terrific front seven and defensive scheme, Bradberry should develop just fine into a starting cornerback for Carolina. But the value of the pick simply isn’t there and for that the grade gets knocked.

Twitter: @TheKenanGoyette


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