In case you missed it last week, the Seahawks were awarded RB Allen Bradford off waivers from Tampa Bay. Word is after they released him, the Bucs were hoping to stash him on their practice squad but the Seahawks foiled that plan. The fact that the Bucs released him is a little bit concerning - they only have two healthy running backs and according to Sander of Bucs Nation, they signed a special teams specialist to take Bradford's roster spot so they must not have been entirely sold on his running back or special teams abilities. That being said, we've seen guys go from one program to another countless times and have success where they'd otherwise had failure so I'm not discounting Bradford, a sixth round pick last year.
He's a former USC tailback and Pete Carroll is doubtlessly very familiar with his abilities. The Seahawks aren't particularly running back needy at the moment with Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, Leon Washington, Michael Robinson, and even Vai Taua still on the practice squad so Bradford must represent a lot of value to this coaching staff in some way.
I checked in with a couple of Field Gulls' writers, and I love this, that have quite a bit of scouting knowledge on Bradford and here are some things they said:
Scott Enyeart, as you know, is a beat writer for USC and has seen Bradford's entire career first hand and probably watched every snap he took as a Trojan. These are the thoughts he had on the pickup:
"Allen Bradford brings a number of desirable qualities to the table for Seattle, the main one being his versatility. Bradford was recruited as one of the top defensive players in the country as a LB coming out of high school. Once in college at USC, he moved from safety to RB during fall camp of his freshman year, where he was a part of both Pete Carroll and then Lane Kiffin's "Tailback by committee" rotations. He also was a special teams staple during his time at USC, and that is likely where he will be utilized in Seattle. He is a physical player who even saw starts at fullback during his time at USC.
Frustrated over a lack playing time at the tailback position he nearly transferred, but as a junior and senior he went on to become USC's most dominant ball carrier
He did develop some ball-security issues as a senior, which won't be tolerated as a Seahawk."
Derek Stephens, as you also probably know, does extensive scouting for Lindy's and NFLDraftScout.com, and had this scouting report on the Seahawks new roster addition:
Thick powerful back with great lower body drive. Keeps his weight forward and moves the pile with constant churning legs. Impressive initial burst to the line and accelerates well through the opening. Surprisingly light feet to evade oncoming defenders laterally, and flashes decent stop start and cutback ability. Doesn't rely solely on his power and shows good recognition of when to lower the shoulder or make a tackler miss. Good pass blocker who sets his feet and bends at the knees maintaining a flat back. As a lead blocker, is decisive and instinctive in angling and turning his opponent out of the hole.
Won't pull away from secondaries if he breaks through the second level. Accelerates briefly then will lose steam and is easily catchable from behind. Rarely looked to in the passing game at USC and is untested as a receiver. Doesn't show consistent vision to spot cutback lanes. Is pretty much a one-cut, straight-ahead back for the time being despite possessing the agility to be more. Inconsistent hand placement in pass protection. Lacks the speed to consistently beat NFL linebackers to the edge.
Bradford possesses power, balance and foot quickness that lead us to believe he could succeed carrying the football at the NFL level. It's the questionable instincts and lack of a second gear that may limit him to being a short-yardage contributor out of the backfield. Luckily for him, the NFL's growing trend toward running back-by-committee ground schemes could make for a late-round or UDFA grab and a legitimate shot at making an NFL roster. There's too much ability here to ignore. A year on the practice squad may help Bradford to explore some of the upside that he clearly has.
Here's what Pete Carroll had to say about Bradford on his USC bio page:
"You can see his explosiveness, the great hand-eye coordination he has and the big plays in him...He's really a stud. He's tough, he's physical, he plays hard every day, he won't back down from any challenge. The players respect him because they know he's hard as nails and brings it. It's a quiet toughness."
We'll see if he can work his way into the rotation for Seattle this year.