Brendan Radley-Hiles transferred to the Washington Huskies before the start of this season and immediately inserted himself into the starting lineup taking over the role of Elijah Molden from the season before. Radley-Hiles was one of the hearts and souls of the defense and it was easy to see that his energy was infectious. Even when things were looking bleak for the team he was always playing with a high level of energy and always gave his heart to every play.
It is not easy to project “Bookie” to the next level, he played a role that does not easily translate. His effort, energy, and leadership are extremely valuable traits that will likely make him a favorite of some coaching staffs. He should at least receive a shot to make a roster (whether that is on the practice squad or the 53-man remains to be seen) if he is not drafted.
Brendan Radley-Hiles is a former four-star recruit who started his career at Oklahoma after playing for the prestigious IMG Academy in Florida. He was named a US Army All-American after his senior year. He was ranked as the 17th best player in the country by Rivals and the 38th overall player by 247sports.
In his three years with the Oklahoma Sooners, Radley-Hiles played in 37 games and start 32 of them, including 11 starts as a true freshman. After transferring to Washington for his final year of eligibility, Radley-Hiles started nine games and played in 11.
Height: 5’7 7/8”
Weight: 183 Pounds
Arm Length: 30 1/4”
Hand Size: 8 1/2”
40-Yard Dash: 4.64 seconds
Bench Press: 11 reps
Vertical Jump: 31.5”
Broad Jump: 9’5”
Radley-Hiles plays with infectious energy, he plays hard on each and every snap and it is very evident in his tape. He is routinely around the ball and wants to be involved in the running game. In Washington’s scheme, last season Radley-Hiles was tasked with mostly slot work and was asked to make his presence felt around the line of scrimmage and in the box. He is a hard hitter who can crash down as a blitzer and make plays in the backfield. His processing is very quick, which allows him to make plays from more of a box alignment rather than a traditional cornerback alignment. His effort and hard work may allow him to latch onto a roster as a core special teamer while some of the other areas of his game continue to develop. Is solid when asked to drop into short and intermediate zones, and has solid recognition of what is in front of him.
The issues with his game mostly stem around him not being the traditional cornerback. There will have to be a degree of creativity in a coaching staff if Radley-Hiles is to see any meaningful snaps in the NFL. He struggles in coverage and should not often be tasked with any true man-to-man snaps due to limited deep coverage skills, slow click and close, and smaller frame that limits his ability to impact passes. He could end up making a move to safety where some of his limitations would be negated, but due to a lack of deep coverage skills, this may not be feasible either. The lack of a clear fit and well-rounded skillset is what will likely limit him going forward. Radley-Hiles is also hindered since he is not a high-level athlete, giving him a lower margin for error.
Final Grade and Summary
Ceiling Grade: 5.5 (Depth Player)
At this point, it is hard to see Radley-Hiles working his way into a starting role but there is definitely a path for him to stick around on a team’s roster. NFL squads are always looking for players like him who play hard no matter where they are on the field. He could work his way into becoming a core special teams player or potentially a rotational safety/cornerback who specializes in run defense if he is able to develop substantially.
Floor Grade: 3.8 (90-Man Roster Candidate)
It seems unlikely that Brendan Radley-Hiles ends up getting drafted, he will likely have to find a home as an undrafted free agent and then work to earn a spot however he can. If he ends up going to a team that does not value the potential special teams ability alone or does not have the patience with him to let him develop he could find himself as an early roster cut before the season starts. His lack of pure coverage skills is going to put him at a disadvantage early on as coaching staffs may not see a realistic path for him to get onto the field.
Round Grade: Undrafted Free Agent
Summary: In a season that was marred with disappointment for the Huskies, Brendan Radley-Hiles was a bright spot, he always seemed to be enjoying the game even when the team was in some of its darker spots. He made sure to always help get his teammates involved in the game and it was easy to see that his attitude and love for the game rubbed off on those around him. That is an invaluable tool for a guy who is likely going to have to battle to stay on an NFL roster. If he ends up in a good landing spot with a coaching staff that has a vision for him he could end up as a long-term depth player who could thrive on special teams. Even if he doesn't end up getting drafted Radley-Hiles can never be counted out.
Injury Risk/Character Concerns: None