#31 Garrett Bradbury, Center, NC State
The Remington Award winner (best center in college football), Garrett Bradbury, is the first and only center in the Raider Ramble Top 32. The former high school tight end showed off his athletic ability at the combine, running a 4.92-second 40-yard dash (ranked third) and 7.41-second 3-cone drill (ranked first). This athleticism is a large reason why Bradbury projects as a first round pick.
Bradbury has excellent feet, which can be attributed to his background as a tight end. What’s a little surprising about Bradbury’s game is his ability to pull. Typically, centers struggle to and don’t pull because they have to snap the ball, but not only does he pull, but also he excels at it. Surprisingly, his athleticism doesn’t show as much when blocking the second level. You would think someone with the combine numbers above excels at blocking the second level, but he leaves something to be desired. In pass protection, Bradbury looks for work and picks up stunts very well, but against the bull-rush, he could use a little more strength and a better base. A better base will help him maintain ground on outside zone blocking as well. When blocking outside zone, defensive linemen would often push him back and that takes away running lanes for the ball carrier. He did show aggression and the ability to finish plays with defenders on the ground, but he needs to improve his conditioning as his aggression seemed to wear down quickly. Ultimately, Bradbury can start right away, but as you should expect with a late first round pick, he will have a lot of ups and downs.
Fit for the Raiders
Unless the plan is to move Bradbury to guard, it would make zero sense for the Raiders to draft him. Rodney Hudson is regarded as one of the best centers in the NFL and has four years left on his contract. Oakland has plenty of needs, but center is not one of them. With Hudson’s pedigree and contract, it’s very unlikely that Bradbury will be a Raider.
Center Justin Britt struggled for the Seahawks last season and team can save $8.75m in cap space if they cut him next year. Drafting the best center in this draft class and letting Bradbury develop for one year could give Seattle a younger, cheaper and potentially better starting center in 2020. The Rams are in need of a center and currently just have one on their depth chart. With a young quarterback like Jared Goff, it’s never a bad idea to invest in the offensive line and especially if that lineman is the best player available. The same logic applies to the Cardinals regardless of who the quarterback is after tonight.