ASU Football: Carl Bradford's role with the Green Bay Packers

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bradford was taken with the 121st pick in the fourth round by the Packers.

Carl Bradford's time at Arizona State saw him play both linebacker and the hybrid defensive lineman and linebacker position called the "devilbacker." If he wants to see any success in the NFL, Bradford will most likely have to adapt his game to play inside linebacker, a position he never played in a Sun Devil uniform.

The Packers play a 3-4 base defense which defensive coordinator Dom Capers brought with him to Green Bay. It's been a roller coaster in his time there so far. The Green Bay defense finished fifth in total yards when the team won the Super Bowl in 2010, they were last in the league in total defense in 2011 then finished 11th in the NFL in total defense in 2012. The team then fell back down to 25th during the 2013 campaign.

Rumors swirled about his departure as the Packers fell to an 8-7-1 record last season with injuries to Clay Matthews and Aaron Rodgers but nevertheless Capers remains in his position. Head coach Mike McCarthy stated in February that he wants the defense to become more versatile and he will take a larger stake in coaching on defense next season but for the time being, Bradford comes into a franchise very unsure about its defensive future.

Capers was one of the originators of the zone-blitz alongside Dick LeBeau in the early 1990's. It's a very safe way to play defense and isn't very aggressive which doesn't match up well with Bradford's playing style at all. Capers is more likely to blitz the outside linebackers than the inside linebackers where Bradford would most likely play.

However the Packers have struggled against mobile quarterbacks such as Colin Kaepernick, losing to the 49ers twice last season including the wild card round of the playoffs, so Green Bay drafting Bradford might be a sign that things are changing up North. It's a lot easier to stop a mobile quarterback by blitzing inside linebackers because it's a more direct path to the quarterback and forces the signal caller to step out of the pocket laterally. If the outside linebackers blitz, then all the quarterback has to do is step up in the pocket in order to run the ball. If this is the case, then Bradford may see a lot more time on the field because of his pass rushing abilities.

Bradford's size really limits him from playing outside linebacker at the next level. Not to mention Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk anchor the left side of the Packers defense and Brad Jones did a solid job last season as well so Bradford's ability to earn a starting role right out of camp will be slim to none.

The athleticism that he so often exhibited on the field for the Sun Devils could place him on Lambeau Field as a significant role player against more mobile quarterbacks. If nothing else, he adds to Green Bay's stable of physical players on the defensive side of the ball and could easily step in if the injury bug were to bite the Packers again this season. It all hangs on Bradford's ability to conquer the steep learning curve that comes with learning a new position, especially in the NFL.

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