Let’s take a look at one of the big back prospects the Lions brought to their facilities leading up to the draft:
Allen Bradford, RB, USC
Weight: 242 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 1/8 in.
Hand Size: 9 3/8 in.
40-Yard Dash: 4.58 sec.
Vertical Jump: 29 in.
Bradford has linebacker size at the running back position and could be an effective player between the tackles at the next level. He is a strong runner with very good balance that excels in short yardage situations, but he does not have the speed, agility, or receiving skills to be a featured back in the NFL. Also, he thinks he is a finesse back at times and tries to break big runs to the outside which usually result in losses. Overall, Bradford has the strength and vision to be a weapon on third and short and he should be a mid-to-late round pick.
Allen Bradford may be back that makes Jerome Felton expendable. Felton has been vocal about his desire to carry the ball, too bad he hasn’t been particularly productive in short yardage situations when given the chance. At 242 pounds, Bradford is a tweener running back/fullback. He is primarily a ball carrying back but he did line up at fullback at times while at USC. Speed is certainly not part of Bradford’s game although that should not be a problem considering the Lions’ needs. His role will be to come in and get that tough yard or two to keep a drive alive, or cross the goal line at all costs. Scouting reports note his ability to deliver a blow to defenders and run with a very physical style.
Some knock Bradford for not living up to his potential as a five star recruit coming out of high school. Hip injuries and a crowd of talent at USC limited his opportunities to become the number one running back. Teams might look to the example of Matt Cassel who never started at USC but is now a starting quarterback in the NFL as proof that talent doesn’t always show itself as production at the college level. Bradford was regarded as a good teammate and did not display the kind of entitled attitude some former five star guys might after facing adversity at the college level. That is important to consider given the limited role that Bradford will likely have as a pro.