EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings used their first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft to bolster their offensive line.
From the 18th overall spot, Minnesota drafted N.C. State center Garrett Bradbury.
The Charlotte native started the final 39 games of his career, including 13 in 2018. He earned First-Team All-ACC honors in response to a senior campaign that also included the big man scoring a rushing touchdown.
Bradbury won the Rimington Trophy, an award given to the nation’s best center. Vikings center Pat Elflein, drafted 70th overall in 2017, also was a Rimington Trophy recipient.
Here are five things to know about the Vikings newest offensive lineman:
1. Versatility is key
Interestingly, Bradbury actually enrolled at N.C. State as a tight end. He made the transition to guard in 2015, but that season he contributed mainly on special teams.
When given the starting opportunity in 2016, Bradbury seized the opportunity, playing 87 percent of the Wolfpack’s offensive snaps. The following season, he shifted inside to center and received the program’s Bo Rein Award for a “vital contribution in an unsung role” and helped N.C. State rank second among Power 5 schools with just 13 sacks allowed in 13 games.
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and Head Coach Mike Zimmer refrained from committing to a position for Bradbury in Purple.
“The most important thing right now is getting the best football players we can get in,” Spielman said during a press conference with Twin Cities media members.
“The one thing I know is that he doesn’t play corner,” Spielman added with a laugh two days after joking that his wife had told him not to come home if Minnesota drafted a corner in the first round this year.
2. Protecting the passer
Over more than 900 snaps in 2018, Bradbury didn’t allow a single sack of quarterback Ryan Finley. He was charged with just two pressures allowed on 457 pass attempts during the regular season.
Bradbury anchored an offensive line that helped Finley rack up 3,789 passing yards, and receivers Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers each surpassed the 1,000-yard mark.
3. Bradbury as a blocker
Bradbury helped Wolfpack running back Reggie Gallaspy II rush for 1,091 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.
“In the run game, he uses his quickness to consistently reach and cut off defenders. He takes good angles up to the second level, and he can adjust in space,” Jeremiah said. “Overall, Bradbury will be a steady, reliable starter, and I see very minimal risk.”
Jeremiah moved Bradbury up 13 spots from 35th to 22nd overall in his post-combine listing of top 50 draft-eligible prospects.
4. Standing out in Indy
In addition to participating in the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl, Bradbury garnered attention in the timing and testing drills at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Bradbury clocked in at 4.92 seconds in the 40-yard dash, good enough for third-fastest among offensive linemen. He also showed his speed in the 3-cone drill, topping his position group with a time of 7.41 seconds.
Bradbury’s 34 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press ranked second among offensive linemen.
View photos of the Vikings first round draft pick N.C. State C Garrett Bradbury.
5. Team-first mentality
Bradbury went from a redshirt freshman to team captain and the top center in FBS.
When asked about individual accomplishments, however, the linemen illustrated his humility.
Bradbury credited his comrades in the trenches, nicknamed the “Band of Brothers,” for his success when accepting the Rimington Trophy.
“Individual honors for the offensive line are kind of any oxymoron,” Bradbury said in December. “Everything starts and ends as a group. It’s weird to take credit for an individual award.”