Brady Breeze confident of NFL future
Brady Breeze capped his college football career in style, playing a significant role in Oregon wins in the Pac-12 championship game and the Rose Bowl.
Breeze was named the defensive MVP of Oregon's 28-27 win over Wisconsin on Jan. 1, 2020, scoring a touchdown, making nine tackles and forcing a game-defining fumble.
But that game culminating the 2019 season was the last time the Central Catholic High grad played a competitive football game. For players such as Breeze who sat out the 2020 season, it remains to be seen how time away from the spotlight impacts the NFL Draft.
He was prepared for a big senior season before the Pac-12 pulled the plug because of COVID-19. Breeze's frustration about that decision remains, as he explained during a virtual media conference following the Oregon football pro day, when former Ducks went through a series of drills for NFL scouts.
"We were ready to play, we were on pace, we were doing all the protocols that they asked us to do," Breeze said. "Then, the Pac-12 really handled it in a terrible way and canceled."
When the season was called off in August, Breeze moved back to his parents' home in Lake Oswego and turned his frustration at the loss of his senior season into motivation as he began preparing his body for pro football.
By the time the Pac-12 decided in late September to play an abbreviated season, Breeze was "mentally checked out" of college football. When he was told he had one day to get to Eugene for the start of practice, he declined.
"It was such short notice. Six games. I didn't really see the point of it. I felt like I was mentally and physically ready for the NFL," Breeze said.
The NFL Draft begins April 29. Oregon's pro day took place April 2 and reportedly was attended by representatives of 31 NFL teams. With no NFL combine this year because of the pandemic, college pro days are the place for NFL teams to assess draft-eligible players.
Eleven players took place in Oregon's pro day, headlined by projected first-round pick Penei Sewell, the star left tackle who, like Breeze, sat out the 2020 Ducks' season.
Breeze understands that — unlike Sewell — his name isn't likely to be heard early in the seven-round draft. But he expressed confidence that he is as prepared as he can be for his first rookie camp and NFL training camp, wherever he lands. He is looking forward to proving he can follow the path of former Ducks' safeties T.J. Ward and Patrick Chung who've had long NFL careers
Breeze landed the best vertical jump at Oregon's pro day at 38 inches, according to reports. He said he was happy with his marks, including (according to reports) 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 20 repetitions on the bench press and a 10-foot broad jump.
He said he's ready for the challenge ahead, including covering big and speedy NFL receivers. Breeze also said the success for former teammates quarterback Justin Herbert, the NFL rookie of the year, and Troy Dye who played in 11 games and started five as a rookie linebacker for Minnesota, helps his confidence as he pursues his own NFL dream.
"I truly believe I'm a good enough safety to play in the NFL," he said.
Though he missed out on another Pac-12 championship and on one more bowl game, Breeze said he has no regrets about sitting out the abbreviated 2020 season.
"I feel like I made the best decision for me and my family," he said. "Still happy, and glad that I made that decision, for sure."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.