Allen Bradford was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2011 6th-round pick. (If you need help remembering here are his college highlights.) But so far this preseason Braford has been playing great at his backup and starting linebacker role with the Seattle Seahawks. When I first heard his name watching a replay of the San Diego game, I was shocked because I had no idea that he was even still playing. I was even more shocked when he was dominating the game and lead the Seahawks in tackles with 8.
At 5’11” tall, and weighing 242 pounds, Bradford was a LeGarrette Blount-type running back who had a good first cut and could hit a hole strong. At the time, another strong but slow running back was not needed in Tampa and Bradford was released by the team. On October 17, 2011 Bradford was claimed off waivers by his old USC coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks. Although he was waived two days later, Carol saw potential in Bradford and converted him into a linebacker. On December 28, 2012 Bradford was signed to the Seahawks 53-man Roster and is the first drafted running back to backup linebacker I’ve ever heard of. The most amazing part of this transformation is that the last time Bradford started a game on defense was when he was 17-years old and a senior at Colton (Calif.) High School. Also in an ironical twist it was Pete Carroll who recruited him to USC and moved him to running back.
This story makes me really curious of how the linebacker competition would be like if the Buccaneers tried to convert him to a different position like they did with Cody Grimm (linebacker to safety) or Erik Lorig (Defensive End to Fullback) or Keith Tandy (Cornerback to Safety). I feel like Mark Dominik usually gives his draft picks more a chance too, best example of that is Myron Lewis. Mark Dominik usually has a good knack for finding great role players too and Bradford could have been huge for us.
Under Schiano the Buccaneers are a run stopping team first who try to force long passing situations second. For this reason I think Bradford would have been a better fit for our scheme than our current backup middle linebacker Najee Goode. But in Goode’s defense, he has been equally impressive in the snaps he’s been given. But I still like to imagine how cool it would be to see Bradford running back an interception in a Buccaneers jersey with all the running back experience he has.