The Bucs have selected USC running back Allen Bradford in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Bradford has the ability to also play fullback and special teams.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected USC running back Allen Bradford with their sixth-round pick, the 187th overall pick. Bradford will compete for a roster spot to backup starter LeGarrette Blount.
Bradford’s best season came as a senior when he ran for 794 yards and five touchdowns last season with an average of 7.2 yards per carry. He caught three passes for 74 yards and a score. For his career he ran for 1,585 yards on 267 carries (5.9 average) and 16 touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 242-pound Bradford has a surprising burst for a running back of his size. Like Blount, Bradford is a physical running back that tries to punish tacklers.
“We both are very punishing and run aggressive and we run with a chip on our shoulder,” Allen said. “I’m not looking to juke anybody, make any moves, or make any stutter-steps. I’m a one cut and go and gain a couple yards [kind of running back].”
Bradford has played some fullback in the past, and Tampa Bay could use him at either position. He sees himself as more of a tailback than fullback, but Bradford says he will play anywhere the team needs him including special teams.
Bradford played special teams for Southern Cal and recorded 14 stops on kickoff coverage during his collegiate career.
“[I] play running back, but I’m going to see [what my role is] when I get there,” Allen said. “I’m willing to do anything to help my team win.”
Bradford was recruited to USC as a safety.
“Coming out of high school I was the number one linebacker and came to USC to play safety,” Allen said. “They moved me to running back because their big backs got hurt and they saw that I played running back in high school. My offense in high school was a double wing [backfield], so I really had to make the transition and learn how to run in a pro-style offense. Years and years coming up I did a good job and I still have room for improvement. I still have a lot to learn about the position.”
The Bucs could have gotten some good insight into Bradford from two former Bucs coaches currently on the USC staff. That includes legendary defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and linebackers coach Joe Barry. Both were key assistants on the Buccaneers Super Bowl championship team.
“Coach Monte [Kiffin] was there at USC this year and last year,” Allen said. “He’s a very respectable coach. When I went to the combine, I met with the whole coaching staff. I felt that they liked me. I fell in love with the coaching staff and I’m really fired up. There are a lot of players on the team that I know already and I’m ready to go to work. Me and LeGarrette [Blount] are going to be a good combination.”
At the running back position Bradford figures to compete for a roster spot with holdover Kregg Lumpkin. Veteran Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams is a free agent and may not be re-signed. Running back Kareem Huggins is still working his way back from a knee injury, and his return to the field is uncertain. Tampa Bay could also move veteran Earnest Graham back to fullback.
Bradford said he was excited to go to a high-powered offense like the one Tampa Bay possesses.
“They really improved from last year,” Bradford said. “They have a real good quarterback. LeGarrette came in with the receivers and I just feel like adding me to the offense just adds another weapon to make it even more explosive.”
Bradford comes to the Buccaneers already knowing a few of his teammates.
“I know Kyle Moore and I trained with Da’Quan [Bowers] and I trained with Mason [Foster],” Bradford said. “I played with [Josh Freeman] back in the All-American game back in high school. I’m so excited I’m just ready to go.”
The USC running back butted heads with Pac-10 enemy Foster, who was a linebacker at Washington, and is excited to have him as a teammate.
“He’s going to come in and play,” Bradford said of Foster. “To sum it up, I respect him and he respects me.”
~ by Charlie Campbell, Scott Reynolds, and Andrew Scavelli
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.