Carl Bradford takes down Nick Foles (Photo: ASU)
It's no secret that the best pass defense is not a stifling secondary, but a fierce pass rush.
Armed with that knowledge, it's not surprising then that Arizona State has gone from the 26th best pass defense in 2009 down to 108th in the nation (out of 120 teams) last season, surrendering over 273 yards-per-game.
Over that stretch, the Sun Devil pass rush has been mostly anemic, never ranking higher than 58th in the country. The team's leaders in sacks over that stretch haven't exactly posted fearsome numbers: Lawrence Guy had just 4.5 in 2009, Junior Onyeali only a slightly better 6.5 in 2010 and Vontaze Burfict's five led last year's team, but three came in the season opener against FCS patsy UC Davis.
In a conference like the Pac-12, where five teams ranked among the top 25 in passing last season, such an inability to pressure the quarterback has and will spell disaster.
It's no surprise then that the adding that attacking element to this year's defense has been a top priority for the new coaching staff, and leading the charge will be the new Devilbacker position and current starter Carl Bradford.
The 6'0, 237-pounder has all the tools to flourish in this aggressive role, and the team will need him to deliver on that potential for the defense to have a chance.
The primary mission will be in the pass rush, and that is an area in which Bradford believes he can succeed.