Garrett Bradbury, IOL, NC State
… Garrett Bradbury… I’m not going to lie to you BGN: This is not the player I expected to be writing about. Throughout the picking process I thought to myself “Bush, Gardner-Johnson, Wilkins, Bush, Gardner-Johnson, Wilkins.” Like a chant, I repeated their names. One of my draft targets would fall to me, surely! In reality: Devin Bush was sent to a divisional rival at pick 17, Wilkins was conscripted to take his talents to Nashville, and when Gardner-Johnson left the board at pick 21 I felt deflated. I prepared to spend my golden chance to pick for the Eagles bemoaning about how bad of a draft spot 25 is. How if only I could have traded up… How now the only sensible option is to trade down. Maybe I’d take Josh Jacobs just to watch the comments section burn. But then… something surprising happened. The dark clouds went away when the Ravens passed on Garrett Bradbury, whom I surely thought would go to Baltimore, at pick 22. Shortly after that the Texans and Raiders elected to address their leaky secondaries. That’s when I ran to the metaphorical podium. Garrett Bradbury is not who I expected to pick… But that’s because he wasn’t supposed to be here. He was supposed to go to Baltimore or maybe even earlier to Minnesota.
Before discussing why I’m going back to the N.C. State well for my 2nd consecutive year participating in the mock draft (#WolfpackBias?), there is an elephant in the room that needs to be discussed. By the nature of this pick being Garrett Bradbury certain players won’t be coming off the board here at pick 25. Players that some of you in the BGN community are certain to like.
Players that you are going to go into the comment sections to defend (most likely by attacking both myself and Bradbury). I understand, and I’m sorry. So unfortunately for those of you who this applies to: No, Adderly, Risner, Lawrence, Tillery, Josh Jacobs, and insert your favorite prospect here (Trace McSorely, really?) are not the pick. Without being too dismissive, but also not wasting anymore time discussing players I’m not picking,, it’s because they weren’t the best player available (IMO). Simply put: Bradbury is better at what he does than they are at their respective positions.
Where’s the Need?: (Hey Genius, We already have Jason Kelce!)
Championships are built through the trenches. The Super Bowl 52 Lombardi Trophy was certainly won in the trenches. We’ve heard time and time again that building up the offensive and defensive lines are at a level of importance just below finding a franchise QB. Teams always need to be adding talented youth to their pipelines if they want to compete in the foreseeable future. The Eagles already have Hal Vaitai, Jordan Mailata, and Matt Pryor as developmental pieces at tackle. While it’s not certain that any of those guys will ever be ready to start, and truly the Eagles know more than we do in regards to the viability of those players as future starters, early signs indicate that the Eagles are happy with what they have seen from their young offensive tackles. The development of Mailata and return of Jason Peters alone warrants at least one more year without drafting a sure fire blue chipper at that position high in the draft. Even if you disagree with that sentiment, the offensive tackle of your dreams is not on the board here. The Eagles roster does however need more talent at the G/C position. “But we have Kelce on the roster”, you yell at your monitor! Yes, this is true, but the Eagles don’t know how much longer Jason Kelce is going to play professional football. Heck, Jason Kelce doesn’t really know how much longer Jason Kelce is going to play football. Sure, he’s signed through 2021, but don’t let that fool you: retirement in the near future is still very much an option for the king of parade speeches.
On top of that, Brandon Brooks is coming off a torn achilles. He could be out for a couple of weeks early in the season and even when he comes back there is a (knock on wood) very real possibility that an injury like that changes the type of player he is forever. I like Seumalo: but who knows if the guy has what it takes to be an above average starter in this league? When you really stop and look at it, the interior O-line is one of the positions with the most question marks next to it for this team. This is especially true after the departure of steady veteran Stephen Wisniewski. The Eagles need to select a player who can not only play, but play well, at one or both of those positions in the upcoming draft. Enter Garrett Bradbury.
THE PICK IS IN-- Who is Garrett Bradbury?
So that’s convenient right? I’m telling you that the Eagles need help on the interior of the O-line and that an interior lineman is the best player available. It would, however, be stupid of me to ask you to just take my word that Bradbury is BPA. Instead, Let’s talk about why you should be downright ecstatic that this prospect is going to be calling Philly home for at least the next five years.
Firstly, when talking about Garrett Bradbury you have to recognize his elite athleticism. In the mold of the great Jason Peters, Bradbury is a former tight end who has made the transition to the O-line. After bulking up to play IOL, Bradbury has retained much of his athleticism as shown by this spider graph:
The transition was prompted by Garrett Bradbury when he realized it was his best chance to play every snap in the game (much like he did in high school). His competitive and team-first attitude, coupled with his genuine love of the game, is another aspect of his make-up you simply love to see. As proof of his character look no further than his comments on switching positions in college: “I just wanted to play as many snaps as possible. So I wanted to move to D-Line, and then that transitioned to O-Line. I knew I was going to get a ton of reps on the O-Line, so that was the deciding factor for me. I just wanted to play, I didn’t care where I was going to play or where I was going to play the most.” Does that not sound like a Philly player? He’s basically the anti-Danny Watkins.
Outside of athleticism and character, Garrett Bradbury has surprisingly refined technique for somebody who is relatively new to the position. I’m not going to pretend to know the ins and outs of how to judge offensive line technique and play, so instead I’ll defer to Joe Marino of the draft network who had this to say on the matter: “GARRETT BRADBURY IS IOL1… A converted tight end in 2015, Bradbury’s technical refinement is highly impressive given his relative newness to the position. What really pops on film is his movement skills. His lateral mobility that leads to hitting reach blocks on three techniques is unbelievable. I love his range and ability to work in space. And while he isn’t the most powerful blocker, he has a knack for finding leverage points on defenders and creating movement.”
Based on his athletic and technical make-up Bradbury has drawn comparisons to many different NFL players. I think the best way to think of him would be combining the technique of Weston Richburg with the athleticism of Forrest Lamp. At the end of the day, Bradbury would fit like a glove in the Eagles blocking scheme and locker room. Fulfilling the shoes of a legend like Jason Kelce would no doubt be challenging, however Bradbury has all the tools necessary to do just that.
The Fit: (What’s the plan?)
With Bradbury in the fold you have have a young, athletic, technically-refined player, with all-pro potential who is ready to step into a spot on the interior of the O-line at a moments notice. Not only does the future look brighter at those positions by virtue of this pick, but Bradbury can contribute to this team in year one. While training as the heir-apparent to Kelce, Bradbury would be able to compete for a role as the guard position. This could break down in one of two ways. The first option would be the Eagles deciding that they want to commit to Bradbury spending his career as a good NFL guard and he starts at LG in place of Seumalo. The second, and more likely scenario, is he would be used as a key depth player. This would involve the rookie contributing in spot roles as injuries nag the starters. He would likely pick up at least a few games worth of experience in replacement of injured starters, all while accumulating a year of first-rate tutelage from all-star mentors such as Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks. Either way you slice it Bradbury makes this football team better. Here is your opening day lineup in the second scenario:
Peters, Seumalo, Kelce, Bradbury, Johnson
(Pryor and Vaitai/Mailata as the first men off the bench.)
And when Brooks returns:
Peters, Malo, Kelce, Brooks, Johnson.
(Bradbury and Vaitai/Mailata as the first men off the bench)
In summary, the TL;DR if you will, the selection of Bradbury nets the Eagles at future top 3 center who could step in and offer good guard play if asked to do so.
Some closing thoughts:
If you want to know more about Bradbury I’ve compiled a sort of collection of highlights and articles about him below. His combine and senior bowl testing testing can be found right here:
I’ve left a link to some general highlights at the end of this sentence:
If you want a more complete breakdown of Bradbury’s game from a more technical/detailed standpoint than I’ve provided a well-written Stephen White article on SB Nation: [click here].
I’ve also recently come across a fantastic breakdown of Bradbury’s college journey in the Charlotte Observer and I’d recommend giving that a read as well.
Before voting, remember that no D-lineman on the board warrants this selection, and very good players at the running back and safety positions will be available when we are back on the clock later in the draft.
If this pick proves unpopular: so be it. If I’m metaphorically run out of town, and fired from my cushy fictional job selecting players for the Eagles: that’s fine. because this is a player I’m comfortable going to bat for. I’m okay with my legacy being tied to this guy, because he won’t fail. And when Kelce retires, Brooks breaks down, or Seumalo can’t keep up: you’ll be glad the Bradbury can step up and anchor our interior. It’s been an honor to pick for our birds, Fly Eagles Fly!
Do you approve of this pick?
This poll is closed
2019 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Cardinals (Philliesandthebees): Kyler Murray
2) 49ers (SakPrescott): Nick Bosa
3) Jets (thealien2696): Quinnen Williams
4) Raiders (SisyphusNoMore): Josh Allen
5) Buccaneers (EAGLESBSU): Montez Sweat
6) Giants (ablesser88): Dwayne Haskins
7) Jaguars (20Safety_Hazards): Jawaan Taylor
8) Lions (89Tremaine): Ed Oliver
9) Bills (drc242): Jonah Williams
10) Broncos (ItownBallers22): Devin White
11) Bengals (Phoenix X Maximus): Cody Ford
12) Packers (Palaniappan K M): Brian Burns
13) Dolphins (wildcatlh): Andre Dillard
14) Falcons (Happy24): Rashan Gary
15) Washington (roberticus01): D.K. Metcalf
16) Panthers (JALupowitz): Clelin Ferrell
17) Giants (KevinDont): Devin Bush
19) Titans (Big Schmoopie): Christian Wilkins
20) Steelers (J. Wil): T.J. Hockenson
21) Seahawks (NickfoleonDynamite): Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
22) Ravens (GMinTraining): N’Keal Harry
23) Texans (EaglesRock94): Byron Murphy
24) Raiders (SummersInVA): Greedy Williams
25) Eagles (I Need a Username): Garrett Bradbury
26) Colts (Nolo0oo):
27) Raiders (SLC Eagle):
28) Chargers (LBCeaglesFan!):
29) Chiefs (Boxer Madness):
30) Packers (Kephas):
31) Rams (Matthieuck):
32) Patriots (Zett_66):
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think the Eagles should pick in the 2019 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the Eagles draft at No. 25?
This poll is closed
2019 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft
1) Cardinals: Kyler Murray
2) 49ers: Nick Bosa
3) Jets: Quinnen Williams
4) Raiders: Josh Allen
5) Buccaneers: Montez Sweat
6) Giants: Dwayne Haskins
7) Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor
8) Lions: Ed Oliver
9) Bills: Jonah Williams
10) Broncos: Devin White
11) Bengals: Devin Bush
12) Packers: T.J. Hockenson
13) Dolphins: Andre Dillard
14) Falcons: Rashan Gary
15) Washington: Drew Lock
16) Panthers: Clelin Ferrell
17) Giants: Brian Burns
18) Vikings: Noah Fant
19) Titans: Christian Wilkins
20) Steelers: D.K. Metcalf
21) Seahawks: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
22) Ravens: N’Keal Harry
23) Texans: Cody Ford
24) Raiders: Greedy Williams