Former Fremont Star on NFL Draft Board
Like most of the nation’s top football players, Mark Bradford is anxious to hear his name called at this weekend’s NFL Draft.
“It would be huge to me,” Bradford said in a humbled, understated tone.
The Stanford senior wide receiver and former high school All-American at Fremont High School discussed his future as well as his past during a brief interview where he immediately set the tone with how he presented himself.
Unlike most potential draft picks, Bradford walked in with no jewelry and no visible tattoos, his appearance reflecting his humble upbringings where he had to raise his younger brother after their mom passed away when both were young.
With no father in the picture, Bradford was forced to grow up quickly and had to cook, care for and watch after his brother at an age when most of his peers were concerned with less important matters.
It motivated him to be a more responsible individual and spurred him on to success at Fremont where he was also an All-City performer in basketball as well as football.
While he ended his Stanford career as third all-time in receiving yards (2,431) and fifth in receptions (169), he’ll long be remembered for catching the game winning touchdown in the Cardinal’s 24-23 upset victory over then No. 2-ranked USC at the Coliseum last October.
Bradford said that was one of the highlights of his career, which also included two years on the Cardinal basketball team. But more importantly, he graduated with a degree in political science from one of the most prestigious academic schools in the country.
He plans on watching the draft amongst friends and family here in Los Angeles and he expects to either go in the second round or try to make a roster as an undrafted free agent
Bradford said that he had no preference to which team selected him, although he joked that he’d “like to play somewhere with no state tax,” which includes Florida or Texas.
His advice to younger kids is to stay focused and added, “There’s a time for everything so if something is important to you, you’ll make time for it.”
Bradford isn’t the only local player to watch for this weekend. USC junior offensive lineman Chilo Rachal (Dominguez) is projected to go in the third round according to one website.
The most touted local product is Trojans defensive end Lawrence Jackson (Inglewood), a projected late first round/early second round pick according to several mock drafts.
Also projected to be a first-round pick is Cal wide receiver/punt returner DeSean Jackson (Long Beach Poly). The speedy Jackson is arguably the most explosive playmaker in a deep wide receiving class this year.
In addition to Rachal and Jackson, the Trojans have two potential Top-10 picks in defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis and linebacker Keith Rivers
As for UCLA, All-American defensive end Bruce Davis is projected to be at highest a third round pick while defensive backs Dennis Keyes and Chris Horton could be selected on the second day of the draft.
All of them and more will be dreaming of hearing their name called this weekend in New York and if not, they’ll look to prove every team wrong by working hard in some NFL team’s camp to make an impression.