Has a certain Philadelphia Eagles rookie made you think of a 76ers bust yet?
If you’re like the average Philadelphia Eagles fan, the recent signing of sixth-round pick draft pick Shaun Bradley might have made you think of another player drafted by another Philly team. In 1993, the Philadelphia 76ers drafted the other Shawn Bradley out of Brigham Young University with the second-overall selection of that year’s NBA Draft.
Bleacher Report’s Mike B. reports that the Sixers’ front office was intrigued by the seven-foot-six-inch center which is why the team passed on prospects like Penny Hardway and Jamal Mashburn. Bradley was a giant on the court which, in the 76ers eyes, probably meant they were getting a shot-blocking machine. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.
The Sixers put in a lot of time developing Bradley but he never lived up to expectations as a first-round draft pick. The former NBA center would go on to play for the New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks before retiring in 2005. He also appeared in the movie Space Jam in 1996.
First-round busts? The Philadelphia Eagles have had a few.
Being a first-round draft choice is what every collegiate athlete dreams of being, but only a select few will be able to live that dream each season. They’re guaranteed the most money of the incoming draftees, but they also have the most pressure on them to perform right away. Over the course of the last decade, the Eagles swung and missed on two first-round draft picks, defensive end Marcus Smith and offensive lineman Danny Watkins. Smith posted 23 total tackles in his three years. Watkins only lasted two seasons as an Eagle.
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The NBA Draft works a little differently as there are only two rounds, as compared to the NFL’s seven-round system. There was enormous pressure on Bradley to deliver right away. The Sixers took a big risk, especially after seeing him miss his final two seasons at BYU while serving as a missionary in Australia.
The Sixers believed Bradley could be one of the best centers in the league, and the training staff worked hard to add bulk to his seven-foot-six-inch frame. He’d average 10.3 points per contest and three blocks per game as a rookie which would have been decent had it not been for the fact that he was a second-overall selection. To his credit, he did get selected to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team at the close of his first full-season campaign with the team. Unfortunately, he never improved.
Bradley was never consistent enough in his play to justify the faith Philly placed in him, and after three seasons with the Sixers, he got traded to the Nets. As stated, the pressure on the second-overall selection is enormous, That’s especially true in the NFL, but while high draft picks are expected to contribute immediately, the late-round selections aren’t even guaranteed spots on the roster. Newly-added Eagles linebacker Shaun Bradley will be playing with a chip on his shoulder all season.
Expect to see some fire from the new Shaun Bradley on this Philadelphia Eagles team.
Unlike Shawn Bradley the NBA but, Shaun Bradley the former Temple Owls linebacker won’t have the extra pressure of having to perform at an All-Pro level immediately. The Eagles’ Bradley will have extra motivation to play at a high level as he’ll want to prove to all of his doubters that he should have been drafted higher than the sixth round.
Bradley has never had any problem proving how talented he was, He started on special teams during his freshman season at Temple before taking over as the starting middle linebacker as a sophomore. Bradley’s play over the course of the next three seasons would show him to be both consistent and tough.
The newest Eagles linebacker could compete for a special teams roster spot and reserve role, but in a year or two, he could be a solid role player for this team. It’s also common knowledge that this team has been bitten by the injury bug a lot, so that could also open an opportunity for Bradley. He’ll need to stay ready. Hey, look at it this way. Jason Kelce was a sixth-round draft choice, and look at how that turned out. If Bradley winds up being anything close to Kelce, no Eagles fan is going to complain.