- Attended Charlotte Christian High School, Charlotte, NC
- Father, Tim, played football at Eastern Washington
- 6-foot-2, 224 pounds
- Played tight end and defensive end
- Three-star recruit coming out of high school
- Won two state championships, including a 12-0 record in 2013
- 2018 Rimington Trophy Winner awarded to the best Center in college football
- 2018 Walter Camp First Team All-America Honors
- 2018 AP All-American 1st team
- Recruited as a tight end; moved to guard then center
- Co-winner of the team’s Earle Edwards Award for top GPA as a junior (2017)
- Earle Edwards Award for highest GPA, and Independence Bowl’s scholar-athlete award (2016).
- Battled minor injuries during redshirt/first year on campus
- 2019 Senior Bowl
- Georgia St
- Arizona St.
- Wake Forest
- Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6′ 2 7’8″
- Weight: 304 pounds
- Arms: 32 1/2″
- Hand size: 10 5/8″
Bradbury has one of the more fascinating journies for an offensive lineman. He played both ways in high school — at tight end on offense and defensive end on the dark side — but he was recruited to play tight end for the Wolfpack. After floating the idea of moving Bradbury to the offensive line after his redshirt season, head coach Dave Doeren, citing a depleted offensive line group, told Bradbury, “Listen, I’m not asking anymore. We’re moving you to O-line.” First, Bradbury got reps at guard, but then, in 2017 he was moved to center. That sort of downgrade from a skilled position to the interior offensive line is often due to a lack of athleticism, but not for Bradbury. In fact, it’s a testament to his versatility and the athleticism that he possesses. His athletic ability is his core trait. It’s what stands out and helped him with the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s best center.
Bradbury is easily one of the quickest offensive linemen, let alone centers, I have ever seen off the snap. Whether he is executing his bucket steps in the Wolfpack’s base zone blocking scheme or scooping to the second level, he does it with the type of quickness that will stand out, even on Sundays. Here State is faced with a 3rd-and-1, and somehow Bradbury is able to fire out of his stance with a deep first step to gain ground horizontally. That first step quickness is everything because his second step can get down the midline with his helmet across the face of the defender, which allows him to ‘turn out’ the defensive lineman. This is one of the quickest and most difficult reach blocks I have ever seen, especially considering the short yardage situation where the defenders are simply shooting gaps as fast as they can off the snap with VERY low pad level.
You could literally make a highlight reel of all of his zone blocks, but what makes Bradbury so great is his ability to solve problems when asked to execute this blocking scheme. The purpose of outside zone runs is to move the gaps horizontally and force the defense to remain disciplined in their gap assignments as the gaps move. As a result, a lot of the time the offensive linemen are essentially trying to get the defensive linemen ‘running’ horizontally. There are times they won’t be able to reach block a defender, so the linemen will simply run that defender wide and force the back to make the cut. That’s what happens here. Bradbury gets the play-side defensive tackle, who is lined up over or just outside the guard running wide. As he makes contact and runs with him wide, it doesn’t appear that Bradbury is going to be able to reach him, at least until the defender slows up as he is about to bump into the adjacent guard. That gives Bradbury the opportunity, with his hands in place, to swing his hips through to finish the reach block and finish.
Bradbury is constantly working to get his hand placement in the perfect spot so that he can lock on and use his athleticism to seal off defenders. He isn’t known for his strength, but once he gets his hands in place, he has the coordination to get his body in position to execute. Here, the three-technique defensive lineman wins initially with power, but Bradbury gets his right hand in place, gives a little ground while getting his hips in position, then pulls with his right hand and torques to turn the defender. The movement gives the back an entry point into the line of scrimmage.
Bradbury knows the blocking tags and assignments like the back of his hand. He knows when he is supposed to help adjacent linemen or when to immediately scoop to the second level. On this play, he fires out of his stance, chops down the backside defensive lineman’s hands, causing that defender to fall (which helps is teammate), then, as usual, climbs with the perfect angle to the second-level defender. He locks on, keeps his feet moving, and finishes him off.
In the passing game, his athleticism is again front and center. He fires out of his stance quickly with good pad level and with his hands in position to fight. Bradbury is very quick and smooth in his kick slides and gets to his set points in a heartbeat.
Bradbury always had his eye on the prize by making sure to protect his gap when in slide protection. His head was always on a swivel if he needed to help out a teammate. Versus stunts, he does a good job of maintaining the same level as his adjacent teammates, lessening the chance of a looper sliding through and making any pass-offs cleaner.
His play speed is consistent from rep to rep and game to game, and his football IQ flashes a lot. Here, Virginia only sends a three-man rush, but the defensive tackle aligned over Bradbury slants hard into the boundary, which typically signifies some sort of stunt coming. So he quickly peeks to his left, and with no one showing as a possible looper, he plants his hands inside the frame of the rusher and takes him where he wants to go.
The Charlotte, North Carolina native is a gamer. He can play the chess game with the best of them. When matched up against the talented front seven of Clemson, he didn’t back down. There were times when the long and athletic pass rushers used power moves to bully Bradbury back, but he adjusted. Rather than remaining passive and letting the defenders dictate the rush, he got aggressive. He used fake punches and fired his hands early to force the rushers to declare their plan or attempted to land early blows to stunt rushes. Here, he lands an early strike, but the 354-pound Dexter Lawrence counters. With the initial rush stunted, Lawrence then chooses a side to rush, so Bradbury is able to use some of his athleticism to sort of wall off the rusher. Overall, he is more of a finesse, mirror-the-man sort of blocker than a stout, anchor pass blocker.
Bradbury is going to be a very good player both in the run and pass game, but his issues on both sides really fall into the same category, and that is average play strength. He is always one of the quickest off the ball, but if defenders are aware of his reach block and possess good use of hands and strength, they are able to stack and disengage. Here, he tries reaching the three-technique, but the defensive lineman sees it from a mile away and is able to lead with his hands, transfer power through them, and re-establish the line of scrimmage against Bradbury. At the NFL level, defensive linemen will recognize blocking concepts quickly and counter just like this.
Hand speed and placement are critical in pass blocking, especially when slide protecting or executing play-action pass blocking. Bradbury moves well laterally, but there are times his slow hands allow defenders to gain control of him and catch him mid-slide or with his feet outside of his frame. This is something you will see with lighter linemen compensating for the lack of power, and it can lead to them easily being thrown off balance.
As is often the case with smaller-statured offensive linemen, Bradury’s anchor ability is not as consistent as I would like. I thought versus top elite talent on the Tigers’ defense he did a solid job, but he will be facing premier talent every single Sunday from here on — guys who will have scouting reports on his weaknesses, professionals who can string moves together or just bring the power to the party.
Bradbury is still quite new to the position, and we can see that at times when he is snapping. Among the games that I watched, I saw a couple of snaps that were off target, one versus Boston College and one against Clemson. Against the Golden Eagles, Bradbury had a defender in a zero tech right over him and he just sailed it over QB Finley’s head. Against the Tigers, Kendall Joseph bluffed a blitz and Bradbury appeared to snap it too soon. I don’t think it’s a major issue, but seeing it more than once is enough to note.
In the end, Bradbury is one of my favorite prospects thus far. He is as athletic as an offensive lineman can be. He displays the ability to utilize that athleticism and quickness to win out of the gate or as a counter to his adversary. While he often wins with quickness and lateral agility, he is going to see a lot of power moves in the run and passing game due to the lack of the proverbial ‘bubble butt’ needed to anchor. Bradbury graded out to a 5, which puts him in the late first round or early second round range.