Undrafted Millard Bradford Has Chance To Steal A Spot In New Orleans Saints Secondary

A closer look at undrafted S Millard Bradford and his opportunity to swipe a spot in the Saints secondary
Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
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The scouting department of the New Orleans Saints has done a fine job at finding collegiate talent at safety in various rounds of the NFL Draft. Malcolm Jenkins (1st Round, 2009), P.J. Williams (3rd, 2015), Vonn Bell (2nd, 2016), Marcus Williams (2nd, 2017), and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (4th, 2019) have all made significant impacts with the team.


Jordan Howden, a fifth-round choice last year, looks poised to join this list after a promising rookie year. Even J.T. Gray, undrafted in 2018, has been a two-time All-Pro as one of the top special teams contributors in the NFL.


The Saints did not select a safety in this year's draft. However, one of their undrafted signings should have an opportunity to earn a spot at a position of questionable depth for New Orleans.


Millard Bradford, S - TCU

TCU Horned Frogs safety Millard Bradford (28) breaks up a pass against the Texas Longhorns
TCU Horned Frogs safety Millard Bradford (28) breaks up a pass against the Texas Longhorns / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Bradford was a playmaking safety for the Horned Frogs that had a growing impact in each of his five years with the program. Over his last three seasons, Bradford had a combined four interceptions, 14 passes broken up, and over 150 tackles.


A downhill defender with versatility, Bradford can contribute to a defense in multiple ways. He'll aggressively attack running plays from the secondary, often sacrificing his body to take out blockers to free up teammates to make a play.


In coverage, Bradford has the agility and athleticism to play the slot effectively. He sees the field fairly well in deep coverage and has a good closing burst to the ball. His instincts in zone and overall coverage ability showed vast improvements over his last couple years at TCU.


Bradford shows excellent ball skills, tracks downfield throws well, and will bait quarterbacks into bad throws. He'll undercut routes effectively to make a play for his defense and has excellent change-of-direction fluidity in off-ball coverage or zones.

TCU Horned Frogs safety Millard Bradford (28) intercepts a pass against the Iowa State Cyclones
TCU Horned Frogs safety Millard Bradford (28) intercepts a pass against the Iowa State Cyclones / Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

At just 5'11" and 191-Lbs., Bradford's size creates some scheme limitations. He most likely won't be effective as an in-the-box defender in base formations. As a tackler, he'll miss a lot of opportunities because of poor angles to the ball.


Bradford needs to show a better feel for off-ball coverage responsibilities. He'll often give up too much cushion to receivers, allowing easy throws underneath. He has not shown consistent read-and-react skills when employed as a single-high safety.


Millard Bradford will have an opportunity to earn a role in the New Orleans defense. The Saints released veteran safety Marcus Maye this offseason, leaving Howden as the starter by default alongside Tyrann Mathieu. New Orleans signed former Lions safety Will Harris, but otherwise have limited depth with Ugo Amadi, Johnathan Abram, and Gray.


Bradford will face stacked odds, so will have to turn heads by making plays in coverage and on special teams. If so, his versatility could steal a spot over a more limited player like Abram, Amadi, or Gray.


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Bob Rose

BOB ROSE

Covers the New Orleans Saints as a senior writer for the Saints News Network.  Co-Host of the Bayou Blitz Podcast.