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Cory's Corner: Job interview time for Carl Bradford

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Cory's Corner: Job interview time for Carl Bradford

Carl Bradford was taken as a promising fourth rounder in the 2014 draft. It’s hard to believe that one pick later, the Packers found their center of the future in Corey Linsley.

Bradford might be the most invisible man on the team. After making the 53-man roster last year, he didn’t play at all. Granted, he moved from outside linebacker to inside during the final week of preseason last year.

That’s the reason he made the roster last year. The Packers wanted to make sure he knew and understood just what he was doing before introducing a new position and responsibilities before handing out his pink slip a few days later.

But now, Bradford is staring down the barrel of being cut. He needs to raise some eyebrows and show that he can easily motor from sideline-to-sideline while also being able to make a difference in stopping the run.

“Now in camp, I feel way more ahead of where I was,” said Bradford. “Just from spring until now, I understand the defense pretty easy and I don't do too much thinking now. It's just playing and reacting.”

Bradford played 35 snaps at New England and didn’t jump off the page. Even though he was one of nine defenders to tally a sack, Sam Barrington and Jake Ryan are much better fits. They’ve played with more energy and have displayed a willingness to learn.

You could make an argument that Barrington is having the best training camp of anyone so far.

Bradford isn’t in the same zip code. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand the importance of the next few weeks.

“Since spring ball, I feel like I’ve gotten to really know the defense to where I understand it,” said Bradford.

The Packers must cut down to 75 on Sept. 1 and trim the roster to 53 on Sept. 5.

There’s also that gut feeling from general manager Ted Thompson. He’s a proud guy. He has made some mistakes in the past, but he has done a remarkable job of assembling the roster since 2005.

The moment Bradford gets cut, that’s a signal that Thompson made a mistake. The whispers will turn into roars and then questions. Was Bradford worth a fourth rounder? Would a guy like former Wisconsin running back James White have been a better fit?

Either way, Bradford needs to make up for lost time. Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh is paramount to not only winning a job with the Packers but also getting a foot in the door elsewhere around the league. Right now, I would imagine that most NFL teams don’t have much of a need for a middling inside linebacker that hasn’t grasped his assignments yet.

He must brainstorm new pass-rush moves while not sacrificing power or speed. He also must shed blockers quicker or else opposing offensive coordinators are going to keep running right at him, which will make him find the bench very quick.

And when you find the bench in the preseason, it’s only a matter of time before you are out of a job.

The Packers just need to see if Bradford can give them anything else. If the answer is no, he’s as good as gone. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (38) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Tarynfor12's picture

So the guy who is reputed to play with 'hair on fire' is actually a self dousing 'bucket of water'.

LeagueObsrvr's picture

LOL. It's sure starting to look that way! ;-)

The TKstinator's picture

So disappointed so far!
Is it too late?
It's getting later all the time!

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Not impressed with Bradfords play, a few others guys look better not named Barrington.

WKUPackFan's picture

I honestly don't think TT's pride has anything to do with who gets cut. Draft choices get some preference, as the team has an investment, and experience shows that some players need a couple of years to develop. However,when the time is right they're gone, a la Worthy.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Or McMillian...DJ Smith...

FrozenTundra's picture

At the risk of sounding like cows cousin, TT can do a lot of fine things, but finding a good front seven defensive player is not one of them.

lebowski's picture

+1

croatpackfan's picture

You mean like B. J. Raji, Mike Daniels, Clay Matthews, Mike Pennel, Julius peppers, Letroy Guion, Sam Barrington, Nate Palmer, Mike Neal, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, Josh Boyd, Jake Ryan, Jayrone Elliott... Add to that complete O line and back ups with very often drafting at the end of the list in every round all those who challenging TT's picks I have to say, are little arrogant! Packers has the roster lot of teams are looking with envy to... Calm down or RELAX!

Evan's picture

Really stretching the definition of "good" with many of those names.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Lol @Evan. I agree. I was reading the list like,"oh,okay. He may have a good point here. Wait. Ummm. Where's he going? Oh nooo."

lebowski's picture

Justin Harrell, Jerel Worthy, and Khyri Thornton were terrible picks. Mike Neal, Nick Perry and Datone Jones have all massively underachieved. Jake Ryan's a rookie, no idea what he'll be yet. Josh Boyd only plays on this D line because of the aforementioned underachievers. You may want to revise that list of impressive front seven players.

croatpackfan's picture

Answer to all of you. I have to admit that I'm wrong. Because all 31 GMs in NFL picking 7 to 10 starters every draft on every position. Only TT has 5 mistakes in 5 years... He really do not know what he is doing... And we are busted. This year with that roster, we will have No 1 pick next draft. It would be nice if we will win a game or two... All because of TT who does not know to pick the right guys... Let see last year NFCCG. Seattle offense showed us how bad D we had from the very first moment of the game... They were leading all time...

Since '61's picture

Croat - overall I would agree that TT has done an excellent job, however, our defensive front 7, except for CM3, has been this team's weakness for 3-4 seasons. Raji has actually been bad since 2010, not including 2014 on IR. Perry and Datone Jones have not measured up even as late 1st rounders and they are often injured. Neal has had some moments but nothing consistent, Boyd is JAG. Now we have an article on Bradford who may not even make the team. Let's not forget Brad Jones who thankfully is gone but never met a penalty he did not like while he was here. Ryan and Palmer are both too soon to tell. Pennel is another player who we need to see more snaps before we can make an accurate assessment. Guion, also had some moments last season but he lacked consistency. Our front 7 has lacked consistency, especially late in games when the score is close and we need to make stops. We can make the playoffs with this defense because our offense will score often. However, when we get to the playoffs, the defense, especially the front 7 needs to step up and take over a game. In the playoffs, given the quality of the opponent's defense and weather conditions our offense may not be able score 24 or 30 or more points per game. Hopefully some of these players will improve this season. As I mentioned in a post to another article, we'll know where we stand with this defense after the first four games of the season. Thanks, Since '61

Evan's picture

Yea...cuz that's what we're saying. Moving on....

NewNikeShoes's picture

I'd say D-Line instead of Front 7.
LBs are pretty stacked

The TKstinator's picture

I have heard many times over the years that defensive line is one of the most difficult positions to project from college to the NFL. Seems true here.
TT has invested early picks in d-line (and front 7) with mixed results.

Phillthy's picture

Forgot my password, did the email thing, signed in, just to upvote this comment.
Thinking of front 7 guys TT has drafted ... Matthews ... Jenkins?....
It's not Teds specialty let's give it that.

Handsback's picture

I always hear that investment term thrown around, but I think what it means is this:
The coaching and scouting staff saw some skill set that could or would translate to the pros. The question is how long do they wait for that skill set to show itself or determine if that skill is there after all. I can't answer that and right now, the coaching staff will have to answer that pretty soon during roster cuts.
I just don't think draft position is what they care about....only that skill set and some players find it quicker than others.

Since '61's picture

WKU I agree with you. The purpose of training camp and the preseason games is to get down to the best 53 players to put on the field. Draft pick or not if Bradford is not one of the best 53 after 2 training camps it's time to move on. Nothing against him or any other player, but with the margin of victory as narrow as it is in this league no team can afford to carry a player in the hopes that "someday" will arrive. I wish Bradford well this week against the Steelers, we'll see. Thanks, Since '61

Bear's picture

Since 61, I agree also. I'm an oldie that remembers when Lombardi use to state, I know what the veterans can do, the preseason is to play the younger guys to see if they will improve the team. He said a win or loss in preseason meant nothing......It was about evaluating young talent.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I note that GB believes in development, too much in my opinion. I hope I can rely on TT to be a cold, humble hatchet man on cut down day.

But can I do the same thing?

Soon, I will have to put aside my own past enthusiasm for Bradford (I raved about this pick when it was made) and decide whether he is worthy of a roster spot. If he doesn't play well soon, I'll be eating internet crow.

AgrippaLII's picture

Many say he's a cold hatchet man during free agency. I have no doubt he will cut players who haven't shown improvement after two years.

AgrippaLII's picture

Many say he's a cold hatchet man during free agency. I have no doubt he will cut players who haven't shown improvement after two years.

Dan Stodola's picture

I'm fairly sure Thompson will have no qualms releasing Bradford if he doesnt pick it up considerably. I think its highly likely Bradford gets released, but i also think it's pretty likely Bradford lands on the Packers PS.

Never been a big fan of the Bradford pick but thought if he could succeed in the NFL, it would be at ILB. Like to see him given another year to learn ILB before moving on from him.

J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

Another guy from last year's draft that may get cut this year is Demetri Goodson. I just can't see him developing into anything more than a semi- serviceable ST player. He's been hurt all camp, plus he's like 40 years old, already.
GPG

Allan Murphy's picture

Time to make the team rookies win the game .

Allan Murphy's picture

who makes this team Gunter,Ty,Jake ?

Allan Murphy's picture

Don will do good Chillax.

FITZCORE1252's picture

You are my favorite person on the internet. You do you, Allan, you do you.

Point Packer's picture

Agreed.

Point Packer's picture

......

Evan's picture

What's incredible is even with Bradford, Thornton, Goodson and Abby all very much at risk of being cut after 1 season, it was still an excellent draft.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

3 starters = a very good draft is the old saw. Dix, Adams, Linsley and Rodgers so far. Yup - excellent draft.

Still have a decent amount of hope for Janis despite a bad drop in Thursday's practice, and some faint hope for Bradford + very faint hope for Thornton.

Nick Perry's picture

Agree 100%

It took Donald Driver until his 4th year before he became relevant in the Packers offense. Years 1 - 3 DD had 37 receptions and 3 TD's. In year 4 he had 70 receptions and 9 TD's. I'm not comparing the two other than they were both small school players and 7th round picks. Like Driver Janis just needs time and eventually it will be Look Out! I don't think the Packers are letting Janis go anywhere. Just keep getting better young man!

Bradford being down to one ST unit really needs to show something these last 3 games. Thornton seems like a complete bust and will probably be among the first players cut.

FITZCORE1252's picture

100%.

Dan Stodola's picture

It certainly helped to find Elliot and hopefully Pennel as udfa. They help make that draft class even better. Given the Packers good rotational and ST players for now w/ the ability to possibly develop into starters.

AgrippaLII's picture

Draft players with the raw talent you are looking for...give them time to develop that skill set...evaluate their improvement and keep the ones who show promise. Barring a rash of injuries during the preseason I think we will see a number of 3rd year players let go.

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