While the likes of Anthony Barr, Dee Ford, Marcus Smith and Jeremiah Attaochu remain on the minds of most Eagles fans, one likely-second round pick has gone a bit under-the-radar in the linebacker discussion. Arizona State's Carl Bradford is currently projected as a Day 2 pick, but has yet receive the same hype as his peers. The lack of noise is unfamiliar to a talent like Bradford, who starred on a Sun Devils defense that was known for exciting its home crowd and making plenty of plays.
Despite the lack of media awareness, the underrated prospect has been drawing attention from several teams in the league. A tweener in any scheme, Bradford can play every linebacker position on any defense. While he is only 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, Bradford stood out as a defensive end as well as an inside and outside linebacker at Arizona State. He had 152 tackles, 21.5 sacks, two interceptions and eight pass breakups in just three seasons as ASU's "Devilbacker."
The talented native of Norco, California is ready to make his mark in the NFL and he recently sat down with BGN's Mike Kaye to discuss his college career, his preparation for offseason workouts and his future in the league.
Mike Kaye: Coming from California, what made you choose to go to Arizona State?
Carl Bradford: Well, coming for Norco, [California], I had a couple [of friends] that attended ASU. A couple of my coaches were friends with [former ASU head coach] Dennis Erickson, so it just kind of fit. Also, I played on the offensive in high school and coach Erickson was one of the only ones looking at me at linebacker. That was why I chose [ASU]. I committed to them my junior year and did the camp they had and did the linebacker drills. They offered me a scholarship shortly after that and I have been committed to them ever since then.
MK: You were a highly-rated fullback in high school. Can you talk about how your experience on offense helped you stand out on defense at linebacker?
CB: Yeah, it helped me, especially because when you're a fullback, you're blocking and need to be aggressive and take guys out of the hole. That helped me fill gaps and learn the gap schemes of the running backs and where they are trying to go. I would mostly say the physical play of [fullback helped me convert]. On both sides of the ball, fullback and linebacker are very critical positions on every down.
MK: You played all around the defense at ASU, but 6-foot-1 is a bit short for a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 defensive end. Can you talk about your best fit on a defense in the NFL?
CB: I would say either the outside backer, kind of like what I played in college, only standing on two feet. That or middle backer. Getting in the box and scraping and shedding blocks. I think either one of those would be a good fit.
MK: Would you say you are more of SAM linebacker?
CB: Yes, I would say I am more of a SAM. I think that position would fit me really good.
MK: You played in a pretty aggressive scheme at ASU. Can you talk about going from that scheme to a bit more of a passive one or a "bend, don't break" defense?
CB: I think I'll adjust well. Just growing up and playing in [head coach Todd] Graham's defense, you got to be aggressive. Another thing you have to be is a smart player. You can't just go out there and run around and not know what's going on. So I think coach Graham brought that smartness to our defense as well. I think that part of it will transfer to the NFL. Understanding coverages, understanding gaps and blitzes and alignments. I think [the knowledge] along with playing aggressive all the time and what [Graham] taught me will help me at the next level.
MK: What went into your preparation for the NFL Combine?
CB: I trained in Irvine, California with a great group of guys and we worked [on speed]. We were working on starts and just getting ready for [the Combine]. Also, we [got] ready mentally, understanding the Combine and what was to come of it and prepare for the questions that would be asked. I had a good preparation for [the Combine] and my Pro Day.
I just felt comfortable and went and did it. I had a great workout staff at Proactive Sports and they got my body right for [the workouts].
MK: You were part of a defense that has produced tons of talent over the last few years. How did that prepare you for the NFL and have you been able to get advice from them?
CB: I haven't talked to them in a while but when everything was going on, they would kind of give me feedback and tell me how things were going to come very fast. So yeah they gave me a good amount [of advice]. Whenever I would text them or call them, they had all positive things to say and helped me prepare for what was coming next.
MK: You played the "Devilbacker" position at ASU. Can you explain what that position is?
CB: It's an attacking position. It's someone who is smart and you have to be very physical. A guy that can play middle backer and attack any gap. It's a 'go get it' position. Go make plays and disrupt the backfield and get quarterback sacks and get that momentum swinging. It was a fun position to play.
I'd definitely play that position again and it's somewhere where you feel free even though you have responsibilities, but you go rushing in and get a sack and change the momentum of the game. I love playing the Devilbacker position.
MK: Have you talked to 3-4 teams and 4-3 teams? Have you had a wide mix of defenses talk to you?
CB: Yeah, mostly the 3-4 teams. I've got a lot of them but I have also gotten some 4-3 teams as well.
MK: You're expected to go on Day 2, so what are you going to do for the draft?
CB: I am just going to have something back in Norco. Just friends and family, nothing to crazy because you never know what could happen. It's for the people who helped me and those who continue to support me.
MK: If I am the Eagles, what am I getting if I select Carl Bradford in the NFL Draft?
CB: I will bring a character guy, who is willing to help a team on-and-off the field. A smart player that understands the scheme of a defense and an offense. [I would also] sell out and sacrifice my body for a play, do whatever I can on special teams and [even] hand out water. [I want to contribute in] just about any way I can to help a team go to the playoffs and go to the Super Bowl.