The New York Jets’ historic trade of Jamal Adams netted them McDougald, who has built a solid NFL career out of Kansas.
For better or worse, Bradley McDougald is already a part of New York sports lore, forever the answer to the final trivia question involving Jamal Adams.
Until next April’s draft, McDougald, 29, is the only name attached to the New York Jets’ compensation for Adams, who was dealt to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a trio of picks, two of which reside in the first round. The safety is an experienced veteran who entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2013. After some time as a reserve in Kansas City and Tampa Bay, McDougald made a bit of a name for himself in Seattle, stepping up in the secondary when Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor dealt with injuries.
McDougald, an alum of Kansas University, celebrated his New York arrival on Twitter and was warmly welcomed by fellow green newcomer Mekhi Becton.
LETS WORK BRO!!! 😈😈 https://t.co/WRPe0JHiM2
— Trending Topic 🤫 (@BigTicket73) July 25, 2020
What should Jets fans know about the man filling Adams’ lofty cleats? ESM has you covered…
He Has More Interceptions Than Adams
Perhaps lost in the relative glory of Adams’ Jets career was the fact that he only earned two interceptions in green (one last season). While McDougald has had the advantage of far more NFL service, he has earned a respectable 10 interceptions over the last six seasons, one of only 32 NFL safeties to earn double-digit interceptions in that span. McDougald also has a multi-interception game under his belt, doing so in 2018’s season opener in Denver. The first interception in his career came against Drew Brees in a 2014 season finale. His propensity for “receptions” should come of little surprise. McDougald emerged from Dublin, Ohio as a receiver, but opted to fully transition to safety after his sophomore year in Lawrence (going both ways over his first two seasons). The only career receiving touchdown McDougald earned turned out to be a big one. It was a 20-yard score that served as the Jayhawks’ first points in an upset win over ranked Georgia Tech.
He’s Another Multi-Sport Athlete
Does Sam Darnold have a new partner in the perimeter? McDougald starred on Saturdays at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, but he wouldn’t have been so out of place at the more renowned Allen Fieldhouse on the Jayhawks’ campus. Over at Dublin Scioto High School, McDougald was an all-district selection on the hardwood (in addition to the gridiron) while starring for the Fighting Irish. It was a basketball coach, in fact, that first discovered McDougald’s athletic potential. Elementary school mentor Robert Jefferson, affectionately referred to by McDougald as “Coach J”, remains an influential figure on the defender’s life, even setting him up on a path for life after football.
“He was a very influential person in my life,” McDougald said in a 2010 feature on Kansas’ athletics website. “If I could do for someone else what he did for me, I would be happy. I am majoring in communications, but when I graduate I want to do the Teach For America program.”
He Has a Special Source of Inspiration
Bradley plays with the strength of two McDougalds out on the field, as he plays the game in honor of his brother Brandon. The elder McDougald had his left leg amputated during a fifth grade battle with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Brandon now serves as an inspiration to his younger brother, as Bradley was happy to reveal to the Seattle Times in a January 2019 feature.
“His situation definitely changed my outlook at an early age,” Bradley McDougald expounded to Mike Vorel. “Take nothing for granted. Just go out there and enjoy it. Don’t get lost in the days. Make all the days count. All those cliché things you hear all the time, really apply them, because it really hits close to home when I have a brother who’s not able to go out there and enjoy the game that I love playing.”
“I really live through my little brother,” Brandon added. “He played football, basketball all through high school, middle school. Just being able to go to his games and see him compete at this level is just really a blessing. It’s just amazing even to live through him and see him play and be doing so well right now.”
He Came Up Big Last Postseason
McDougald was a major factor behind the Seahawks’ 17-9 win in Philadelphia during January’s NFC Wild Card playoffs. He led all defenders with 11 tackles, including a sack of Carson Wentz. His biggest plays of the afternoon came in the second half, first sharing a third-down tackle for a loss with Poona Ford in Seattle territory (leading to one of Philadelphia’s three field goals) and later stopped Dallas Goedert short of a crucial first down on Philadelphia’s penultimate possession, leading to an unsuccessful fourth down try. McDougald would later earn four tackles (one for a loss) and pass breakup in Seattle’s unsuccessful Divisional playoff trek to Green Bay.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags