RENTON, Wash. – Bradley McDougald is hoping to be the next in a long line of great Seattle Seahawks who had a terrible experience in the NFL draft.
The fifth-year safety traveled a long road from undrafted free agent to the guy who started every game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the past two seasons.
“It’s definitely a great feeling to know that I was counted out, and I wasn’t expected to be here this long and make some of the plays I did and some of the things I’ve done,” McDougald said during an exclusive interview with the home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX. “It’s definitely kind of surreal, for lack of a better word.”
McDougald came to Seattle hoping to take the next big step by learning from perhaps the best defensive backfield in the game. He’ll play some special teams, fill in at both safety positions, and could occasionally find the field in a three-safety scheme if the coaching staff decides to get creative.
He’s already happy he decided to make the move.
“It lives up to everything you could expect,” McDougald said. “Outside looking in, you think ‘those guys are all-stars that work really hard – they’re true professionals that show up to work.’
“And I get here, and that’s exactly what happened.”
McDougald said there’s a kinship among players who weren’t high draft picks – a group that famously makes up the backbone of the Seahawks’ defense. Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor were both fifth-rounders, and Michael Bennet went undrafted.
“There’s camaraderie all over the place, but you just have that much more respect for a guy who was undrafted,” McDougald said. “Once you go through the process, you’ve been in the league three or four years and you see the difference in expectations for a drafted guy and an undrafted guy and how hard it is for him to get reps and actually fall in line in the NFL is pretty remarkable.”
McDougald said his struggle to breakthrough showcases the tenacity he plans to bring to the Legion of Boom.
“Expect a guy who’s just ready to work,” he said. “He’s gonna scrap, he’s gonna fight. He’s just here to make the guys better.
“This is a great team and a great organization, and I’m just here to make them better.”