Bradford relieved, ready for NFL career

Carl Bradford has no problem admitting that Friday night at the culmination of the NFL draft's 3rd round, was one of the toughest times he had ever experienced. The former Arizona State linebacker skipped his senior year with the Sun Devils believing he would get selected in the second or third round. As it turns out, that wasn't the only unpredictability taking place in his draft process.

"Compared to other teams I talked to, I barely talked to the Green Bay Packers," Bradford said of the NFL team that picked him in the 4th round as the 121st overall in the 2014 draft. "It was completely random to me. I talked to them at the combine, but other than that I didn't have workouts with them or anything like that. Last night (after the 3rd round ended) the Packers were one team who told my agent that they could pick me in the 4th round. <\P>

"But some teams also told me that they were going to pick me 2nd or 3rd round. It was tough waiting and watching…I'm just happy to be a Packer and prove my talent. I'm blessed to be employed." <\P>

The 6-1 250-pound Carl Bradford was one of the leaders of an Arizona State defense that was a dominant force in the Pac-12 in the last two seasons. During that span, the two-time All-Pac-12 selection, including First Team in 2013, posted 40.5 tackles which is tied for the fourth most in the nation in that span. He also added 21.5 sacks, 10 pass deflections, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions. In 2012, he and Will Sutton became just the first duo in school history to post double-digit sacks in the same season since 1994 and the tandem's overall 44 tackles for loss in 2012 were the most for a duo in ASU history. <\P>

As the Devil backer for ASU, Bradford played a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker role in a scheme that has a lot of 3-4 alignment elements to it. This fact naturally played a big part in the Packers' efforts to pursue him. <\P>

"I love their defense and the way the run it," Bradford remarked. "It fits my personality and play style perfectly. Playing next to a great linebacker like Clay Mathews…I just love showing my versatility on that defense."

Last night when he realized that he wasn't going to be selected prior to the 4th round, Bradford tweeted out that his patience will ultimately pay off. The linebacker did admit that looking back at the pre-draft process that notion was certainly was much easier said than done. <\P>

"It was a roller coaster of emotions," Bradford confessed. "I just tried to take it all in and live in the moment. I'm just happy that today I'm on an NFL team and the whole process was an exciting time in my life that I would never forget. I'm glad I was in a position to be drafted into the NFL." <\P>

You would be hard pressed to find any player in the Sun Devil program that made such a quantum leap from obscurity to stardom in the last two seasons, as Bradford did. The linebacker credited head coach Todd Graham and the coaching staff for bringing out the best in him and perhaps even causing him to be surprised about his own abilities. <\P>

"These last two years with Coach Graham have been tremendous," Bradford noted. "It really opened my eyes to how versatile a player I can be, what kind of athlete I am. They took a chance on me and I think I really opened a lot of eyes with my play and what I can do. I really thank Coach Graham for that. <\P>

"I enjoyed all my four years at ASU and I'm definitely going to go back there and support them." <\P>

Bradford is elated to be playing in the same division as his former teammate Sutton, who was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the third round, but first and foremost, the linebacker is pleased to be part of such a storied franchise as the Packers. <\P>

"It's a legendary organization," Bradford said. "Great players, great coaches, Lambeau field…hopefully I will get to do the Lambeau leap (laughs). I can't wait to play for them and represent their organization."

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