Atlanta needs a pass-rushing edge player to complement its current core group of players. Arizona State’s Carl Bradford is a unique prospect due to his athleticism, instincts and raw aggression that the Falcons are missing from their current pass-rushing corps.
As reported by Brad Denny of AZ Family.com, Atlanta visited with Bradford in a private workout to gauge how well he fits their scheme. Bradford played primarily 4-3 defensive end in college, but the Falcons would look at him as a hybrid end/linebacker.
Arizona State University
Height: 6'0-3/4" Weight: 250 pounds
Arm Length: 30-1/4 Hand Measurement: 9-1/2"
40 yard dash: 4.76 sec. 10 yard split: 1.66 sec.
20 yard shuttle: 4.30 sec. 3-cone Drill: 7.25 sec. Bench Reps: 23 reps
Vertical Jump: 37.5" Broad Jump: 10'2"
2013: 14 Games Played, 61 Tackles, 19.0 Tackles for Loss, 8.5 Sacks, 5 QB Hurries, 1 Interception, 3 Fumbles Forced, 4 Pass Deflections, 1 Defensive Touchdown
2012: 13 Games Played, 80 Tackles, 21.5 Tackles for Loss, 11.5 Sacks, 1 QB Hurry, 1 Interception, 3 Fumbles Forced, 1 Fumble Recovered, 4 Pass Deflections
2011: 12 Games Played, 12 Tackles, 3.5 Tackles for Loss, 1.5 Sacks
Bradford is a great pass-rusher and a top-level athlete for a front seven player. He's someone who gets great pressure even against mobile quarterbacks because he understands how to track them down like a heat-seeking missile.
He's solid as a run defender and has violent hands that give him the ability to throw around blockers to get to the ball carrier. He's also extremely versatile, as he can play defensive end or outside linebacker effectively and could be a good fit for either scheme.
As good as Bradford is in the pass rush, he still needs a lot of work on his hands and developing some pass-rushing moves at the line. Bradford excels because of his speed but lacks the bulk and raw power to play defensive end full time in the pros.
He's going to have to switch positions, at least on the first two downs, to linebacker. However, he's limited in coverage due to the fact that he was rarely asked to play there by the Sun Devils. He's a work in progress and a bit of a project right now.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
He's another one of these guys who has never been arrested nor suspended. He's a hard-working, high-football IQ type that the Falcons would absolutely love to have. He’s also academically advanced because he finished his degree in just three-and-a-half years.
Bradford is a true hybrid defender who will be able to impact early on in his career. He’s someone his teammates would love to play with on the field. In the locker room, he’s shown that he can lead by example and fire up his teammates with his demeanor.
His ideal fit is in a defensive scheme that allows him a ton of free shots at the quarterback and takes advantage of his top-level athleticism. He needs some coaching, but he could be an impact player early in his career like Elvis Dumervil was for the Broncos.
How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
If Atlanta wants to bring in Bradford, they will likely have to select him in the third or fourth round of the draft. He should be an extremely viable option if they happen to ignore defensive ends until then by bringing in an offensive lineman, a tight end and a safety to start their draft out.
Bradford could play a similar role to what Kroy Biermann played in 2012 as an edge player who drops deep in coverage sometimes when he finally develops in coverage. Until then, he’ll take on a role similar to Osi Umenyiora and John Abraham, who played with limited coverage responsibilities.