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Packers finally give Bradford at shot inside

8/25/2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In perhaps a last-ditch effort to see if Carl Bradford is worth keeping on the roster, the Packers moved the fourth-round pick to inside linebacker on Monday.

It was the first time the rookie has lined up anywhere other than outside linebacker since the Packers picked him at No. 121 overall in May.

But after an unproductive training camp and three unimpressive preseason outings at outside linebacker, this could be Bradford's best way to find a role on the team.

"He's been able to pick up the playbook, but what we're looking for is just being able to transfer that on the field as far as production," linebackers coach Winston Moss said Monday. "I know there's a high concern for that. I'm pretty sure he's aware of that, and I'm pretty sure he's had to address it as well."

A former defensive end at Arizona State, Bradford seemed more suited to play inside given his size (6-foot-1, 252 pounds) than as an edge rusher in the NFL. So perhaps the only surprise in seeing him line up at inside linebacker during Monday's practice was that the Packers waited this long.

"I liked it," Bradford said. "I like coming downhill and opposing those tackles and guards and smashing those running backs."

It's crowded group at outside linebacker, especially with the emergence of undrafted rookie Jayrone Elliott (who is tied for the NFL lead in preseason sacks with four), and Bradford is likely no better than seventh or eight on the depth chart at that spot.

But the inside linebacker spot is much thinner behind starters A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones. The top backups are Jamari Lattimore and Sam Barrington. After that, it's wide open. Not only did Bradford take snaps there on Monday but so did second-year outside linebacker Nate Palmer.

"When you look at Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore … these guys all started outside and next thing you know they're our inside linebackers," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "And those guys have been productive for us inside."