Bradford, Goodson not ready to be factors

August, 20, 2014
8/20/14
7:30
AM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Nearly a month into training camp, it is apparent that at least two healthy members of the Green Bay Packers' recent draft class won't be able to help them much -- if at all -- this season.

So what does general manager Ted Thompson do with linebacker Carl Bradford and cornerback Demetri Goodson?

He might be willing to hang onto the fourth- and sixth-round picks, respectively, anyway.

When asked this week whether he's more inclined to give a draft pick a little longer to develop than he would a player off the street, Thompson admitted: "Maybe a smidgen."

Thompson has cut ties with only one fourth-pick pick as a rookie, receiver Cory Rodgers in 2006, and he has kept 11 of his 14 sixth-round picks as rookies.

However, a realistic look at the depth chart at both positions would indicate that Bradford might be no better than the eighth outside linebacker on the roster. The Packers likely won't keep more than 10 linebackers combined counting both inside and outside backers. It goes without saying that Bradford ranks behind Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Mike Neal and Nick Perry. Based on playing time, Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer also rank ahead of him. And based on production, undrafted rookies Jayrone Elliott and Adrian Hubbard might be as well.

"I believe in the kid," Packers linebackers coach Winston Moss said Tuesday. "He works hard. He's a great guy. He has a skill set that can help us out. It's only a matter of time before he shows up, and what you're going to anticipate seeing is a guy that can play the run very, very well and a guy that can be an effort-determined rusher to get to the passer. I think that's going to show up before it's all over."

From the moment the Packers drafted Bradford at No. 121 overall out of Arizona State, it seemed he might be better suited to play inside linebacker. At 6-foot-1 and 252 pounds, he is the shortest outside linebacker on the roster and the second lightest among those he's competing against for a spot.

To date, however, Bradford has not taken a single snap at inside linebacker.

Still, that could end up being his eventual position. Moss would not rule it out.

"I can't judge what position he's going to be playing, I'll leave it at that," Moss said. "He's working hard. I think we've done well in the past being able to convert outside backers to the inside, but we'll see what happens."

And then there's Goodson, who played three years of college basketball at Gonzaga before he transferred to Baylor to play football. The Packers picked him at No. 197 overall knowing full well that he will need time to develop, but he might be further away than they thought.

"He has a ways to go," cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said. "He's still a young player. We're in the work phase with him, teaching him the defense, teaching him just the base parts of it."

There are at least five cornerbacks -- Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Davon House and Jarrett Bush -- ahead of Goodson. It's possible a sixth, Jumal Rolle, might be, too.

"But the great thing is we don't need him to play right now," Whitt said. "He has time to grow."

Still, Thompson will have to decide whether he can afford to let players develop while taking up a spot on the 53-man roster. Other than sixth-round pick Jared Abbrederis, the receiver who will be placed on injured reserve because of his knee injury, the Packers likely will keep the rest of their draft picks on the roster.

It might be a risk to cut Bradford or Goodson with the hope of getting them back on the practice squad. The other 31 teams would have a chance to put in a waiver claim before the Packers could do so.

"Most of the people outside this building are going to care if we win or lose," Thompson said. "So we better keep the best ones."

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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