Name: Garrett Bradbury
Position: Center/Interior Offensive Line
School: North Carolina State
Possibly the most mobile lineman in the class, Bradbury drew eyes at the combine with his athleticism following an award-winning run at North Carolina State. Though a bit undersized, he has emerged as one of the top center prospects.
We will start with the area of weakness. While Bradbury’s height is only a tick below average for NFL interiors, his length and overall mass are a minor concern. Even when fully extended, longer defenders can get inside him and control him. He comes in at over 300 pounds, but still appears to be on the leaner side. His upper body strength and quickness mitigate this issue much of the time, but there were a handful of reps where he was manhandled.
From the waist up, Bradbury has excellent power. When he locks in the hands, he can control his man with his exceptional arm, chest and core strength. His feet are quick and effective, so at the very least he can force standstills when his power does not match up. However, he does have occasional anchor issues. When knocked back off the snap, Bradbury at times struggles to regain his control. He is able to dig in and set his base the majority of the time, but there a few more reps were he loses his anchor than one would like. Usually when he overpowers his man, it is due to his elite quickness catching them off-guard, rather than overwhelming strength.
The best asset of Bradbury’s game. His ability to move in space, in small areas, vertically and horizontally are unusual for a lineman. He is fluid and explosive, able to fire into good position on reach blocks or at the second level and can slide with all manner of pass rush. To put it simply, there is a reason Bradbury was originally recruited as a tight end. Some combine numbers to note:
- Fastest three-cone time among linemen
- Third-fastest 40 time among linemen
- Second-most bench reps among linemen
Here are good examples of how N.C. State utilized Bradbury’s quickness. They ran this misdirection play a lot where Bradbury starts out with a quick zone step one way, then pulls the opposite way to handle the end.
Cool play design…— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) January 22, 2019
Starts as outside zone, then center peels out as a counter action! Sneaky!
Center is Garrett Bradbury… Nice finish!! pic.twitter.com/lPVm7jSk61
This counter-pull block from Garrett Bradbury (@Gbradbury_11) is absurd.— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) March 1, 2019
Garrett shows zone right, changes direction quickly to pull around and get in front of the play-side EDGE and drives him 5+ yards down the field… I mean, come on. pic.twitter.com/9vboRwTH5f
Zone schemes will be Bradbury’s bread-and-butter in the NFL, but he shows plenty of ability to succeed in any system. His quick first step is going to be his meal ticket, and the main reason why his occasional anchor issues are not a significant concern. When reaching especially, Bradbury’s explosion gets him in position early and establishes leverage advantage. From there, his choppy feet and upper body strength do their work to finish the job. These zone plays are the overwhelming majority of Bradbury’s run blocking reps.
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As far as power and gap concepts go, Bradbury may struggle a bit more initially. His upper body is considerably stronger than his legs, so he can get caught leaning a bit when engaged. Plus, as a center, he may have issues holding his anchor against some of the massive noses in the NFL, at least early on. Bradbury’s best situation is one that utilizes his athleticism to its fullest potential with zone- and screen-heavy offenses that allow him to move in open space. If he lands in a system like this, he can start right away and excel.
It is clear that Bradbury’s quickness in both his feet and his hands will make him a solid pass protector inside. But more interestingly, while power run blocking is a mixed bag in terms of Bradbury’s projection, his pass blocking film against power is strong. Against Christian Wilkins in particular, Bradbury showed that he can bow up and take on powerful rushes head on with a strong initial punch, a good dropping of anchor and exceptional core strength to maintain upper body control. He possesses tremendous ability to leverage against power, something he does not show as much in the running game.
Against speed and/or blitzes, Bradbury is quick to react and slide where he needs to be. His hands are quick and heavy, even though his arms are on the shorter side. His quick feet allow for adjustments when caught off-balance, and his lateral quickness leads to quality mirroring.
NC State C Garrett Bradbury with the takedown in the North practice today at the Senior Bowl. pic.twitter.com/uqFeYMVnN1— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) January 24, 2019
The only time he gets caught by a speed rush is when he hurries his commitment one direction, leaving himself open to a counter. This happens in the clip below, though Bradbury also shows how quickly he can recover from a mistake and rides Wilkins upfield.
Bradbury could fit in any interior line spot, but his best spot seems to be at center. This would put him in better position to maneuver in space, get to the second level, work upfield, lead block on screens and serve as a helper in pass pro more often. His quickness could also serve him well at guard where he would be more inclined to pull, but the Vikings do not run much power. They have been, and figure to remain, a primarily zone running team. That fits Bradbury perfectly, as his lateral blocking skills are among the best in the class.
Of course, the Vikings have a young center in Pat Elflein who has started most of his first two seasons in the league. Though Elflein is coming off a rough sophomore year, there is no reason to think the Vikings are looking to replace him in the lineup. Rather than bumping Elflein out, Bradbury’s addition could move Elflein over to one of the guards. Elflein has about as much experience in high competition football at guard as he does at center, given that he started two years at guard for Ohio State.
But regardless of what the Vikings do with their lineup, Bradbury brings them options inside. A likely second round pick, he is an exceptional athlete who fits their scheme to a T.
–Sam Smith is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Vikings and Deputy Editor for Full Press NFL. Like and Follow @samc_smith.
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