The Green Bay Packers have spent the last two offseasons adding versatile, athletic pass rushers and that trend continued on Saturday in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft when the team selected Arizona State defensive end/outside linebacker Carl Bradford.
Bradford, a 6-1, 250-pound outside linebacker, who also played on the defensive line for the Sun Devils, is a physical, aggressive player, who will add even more toughness and athleticism to the Packers front seven.
Even though Bradford moved around and played at a few different spots while at Arizona State, the one he did consistently was make plays. As a sophomore in his first full season as a starter, Bradford racked up an impressive 20.5 tackles for loss as well as 11.1 sacks, five passes defensed and three forced fumbles.
Then in 2013, his junior season, Bradford followed that up with 19 tackles for loss, eight and a half sacks, four passes defensed and three more forced fumbles. That shows his consistency and because he left college early he still has room to grow and develop.
The downside of Bradford and probably the biggest reason why he was available in the fourth round of the draft was his height and relatively short-arms. Those areas where he is lacking can limit his ability to make an impact as a pass rusher. However, he has a tremendous motor and is a very good athlete.
Therefore, it seems plausible that the Packers may move him to inside linebacker. Green Bay needed one coming into the draft and with Bradford running a 4.76 forty-yard-dash, coupled with his explosiveness and experience in coverage, it makes sense.
Another idea for Bradford is to play him at inside linebacker, while also giving him opportunities to rush from the outside as an edge rusher. Versatility has become a priority for Mike McCarthy when it comes to the front seven and the selection of Bradford is just another example of it.