A year from now, Jackie Bradley Jr. may well be right where Jacoby Ellsbury is today, preparing to play center field for the Red Sox on Opening Day.

But six years ago, it was Ellsbury who walked in Bradley’s shoes.

In fact, when Ellsbury reported to Fort Myers for his first major league camp in the spring of 2007, he most recently had played 50 games at Double-A Portland, where Bradley spent the final 61 games of last season. Ellsbury was 23, the age Bradley will turn on April 19. And only two years earlier, Ellsbury had been the Red Sox’ first-round pick, drafted 17 spots ahead of where Bradley went in 2011.

That’s where the similarity of their experiences ends.

Ellsbury’s first camp wasn’t particularly notable. While a Japanese sensation named Daisuke Matsuzaka hogged the headlines, Ellsbury went 3-for-12 with three RBI and two stolen bases in eight Grapefruit League games. And when he opened the season back in Portland, nobody batted an eye.

This year, Red Sox camp has been gripped by Bradley-Mania. In 22 games, he’s batting .429 (21-for-49), impressing Sox talent evaluators and opposing scouts with his approach at the plate, instincts in the outfield and overall maturity.

Forget about Bradley returning to Portland. The final week of camp will be dominated by will-he-or-won’t-he talk about Bradley’s odds of claiming a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Looking back, Ellsbury can’t imagine being in that situation.

“That first big league camp, it’s always exciting,” Ellsbury said yesterday after the Red Sox’ 5-3 loss to the Pirates at JetBlue Park. “You just want to see how everybody goes about their business and just watch. But usually, you look back and it’s just part of the process. It’s another step along the way.”