Yahoo Sports' top 2019 NFL draft prospects, No. 27: NC State OL Garrett Bradbury

Yahoo Sports

Leading up to the 2019 NFL draft, which starts April 25, Yahoo Sports will count down our top 100 overall prospects. We’ll count them down 10 at a time, followed by profiles on our top 30 overall players.

Previous entries: Nos. 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30. Drew Lock | 29. Deandre Baker | 28. Taylor Rapp

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27. North Carolina State OL Garrett Bradbury

6-foot-3, 306 pounds

Key stat: Bradbury received an overall grade of 84.4 from Pro Football Focus last season, which was the third-highest among all centers (minimum of 300 snaps played). The entire Wolfpack offensive line allowed only 13 sacks in 13 games.

The skinny: After arriving as a 6-3, 240-pound tight end (three-star recruit), Bradbury spent a redshirt season there before the staff moved him to the offensive line. He suffered an injury in spring ball in 2015 before becoming a backup guard (11 games played) in the fall. In 2016, Bradbury started every game at guard but eventually found a home at center.

Starting there the past two seasons, Bradbury was named honorable mention All-ACC (13 starts) and won the team's 2017 award for vital contribution in an unsung role as a junior in 2017. And in 2018, he earned widespread national praise in being named first-team All-ACC and winning the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation’s top center.

Bradbury, who turns 24 years old in June, was a standout at the Senior Bowl and NFL scouting combine.

Upside: Outstanding movement skills for an interior lineman, befitting of a former tight end. As laterally quick as 300-plus pounders get – can reach-block not only nose tackles but also defenders in wider alignments, and he works beautifully up to the second level. Movement is not at all labored or out of control – smooth and fluid. Very flexible and quick to strike and steer.

Keeps his head up and his hands ready to punch. Beautiful pass-protection sets with feet in balance underneath him and base maintained throughout. (The Clemson game is a great demonstration of that, working against perhaps the best pair of college defensive tackles last season.) Still flashes explosion and the ability to anchor. Hand work – good punch, even with one hand – looks finely tuned. Good-sized hands (10 1/2 inches) as well. Has experience at guard and center and might be able to play either spot in the NFL.

Bradbury has aced the postseason evaluation process. He had an excellent Senior Bowl week and game, earning Senior Bowl Offensive Practice Player of the Week (only one offensive lineman was chosen) and was named one of three team captains for the North squad (coached by the Oakland Raiders). He had a great scouting combine – outstanding testing numbers, terrific interviews with teams and very clean in the positional drills (especially the mirror and wave drills). Then to top it off, Bradbury had a banner pro day as well.

Also a cerebral player who has been praised for his toughness (not missing a game since his freshman season because of injury), commitment and football IQ.

North center Garrett Bradbury of North Carolina State at the Senior Bowl (AP Photo)
North center Garrett Bradbury of North Carolina State at the Senior Bowl (AP Photo)

Downside: Size is below-average for center or guard – short height, narrow wingspan and lacking in great bulk. Not a true power blocker and will give ground against stout nose tackles in straight-up battles. Has a few reps on tape where he’s shocked with an initial pop and knocked off balance.

Might not be a perfect fit in a man-blocking or power-running system. Still could use some overall work in the weight room, even though he’s well-proportioned.

Can be grabby and handsy at times. Is too aggressive at times in his technique and over-lunge. Wasn’t asked to sustain blocks in offensive system that favored quick passing game. Some teams believe he’s a center only. Still new to the position and learning finer points. At nearly 24, he’s a bit of an older prospect.

Best-suited destination: There are few sure things in this draft, but it’s hard to imagine Bradbury being a failure in the NFL, short of injuries plaguing him. Fitting best in a predominantly zone-blocking system, we feel, Bradbury could be a rookie starter and remain there for a decade at center and perhaps even at guard. Among the teams that could be especially interested in Bradbury’s services include the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Rams.

Fun fact: Garrett’s father, Tim, played football – as a tight end – at Eastern Washington in the early 1980s. His teammate and roommate there? None other than future Colorado State and Florida head coach Jim McElwain, who has said that Bradbury was his “go-to guy” there. (They remain friends to this day.)

Bradbury has become a media mogul based in the Charlotte area. He’s now the president of Survey.com and was one of the primary donors for the Eastern Washington football program’s installation of their famous red field back in 2010.

They said it: “Half of my gameday [at center] is pre-snap,” Bradbury said. “It’s understanding what the defense is doing [and] communicating that to the coaches so we can put ourselves in the best position to win a ball game. In pass protection, it’s sliding the calls, reading the defense where the pressure’s coming from.

“I love the responsibility of it. There’s four other guys that need me to give them a call, and they’re all trusting me to put them in the best position possible.”

— Bradbury, via PFF

Player comp: At his peak, he could be Jason Kelce. Rodney Hudson is another comparable player, size- and style-wise.

Expected draft range: First-round pick, perhaps even sneaking into the top 20 picks

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