The Broncos have a pretty long history of undrafted players not only making the final 53-man roster, but they’ve also got guys making significant contributions.
Naturally, you could understand why the UDFA period is an exciting one for Broncos fans across the board, especially those who love the draft. I want to take a closer look at each player the Broncos have picked up, who can make an impact and how, and what guys are bringing to the table as young prospects.
Shaquil Barrett, LB/DE, Colorado State
Here is my favorite UDFA prospect so far, Colorado State utility defensive front seven stud Shaquil Barrett, who is officially listed on the Broncos website as a linebacker.
Barrett started his college football career at the University of Nebraska-Omaha before they cut the football program there, after which point he transferred to Fort Collins and the Colorado State football program.
Wt: 251 lbs.
Bench: 16 reps
Broad Jump: 9’5″
2013 MWC Defensive Player of the Year
20.5 tackles for loss
4 forced fumbles
6 QB hurries
- Versatility (played DE, ILB, OLB)
- Pass rush ability
- Hand use
- Arm length
- Array of pass rush moves
- Hard worker
- Team captain
- Solid tackler
- Flies to the football
- Decent straight line speed
- Doesn’t have ‘elite’ athletic measurables
- Didn’t play (always) against top flight competition
- Not great in coverage as ‘tweener’ LB/DE
- Strictly a pass rusher?
There are times when you see why Barrett might have fallen into day three of the draft. He doesn’t look like an NFL pass rusher physically. He’s a shade over 6’1″ and 251 pounds, built pretty ‘blocky’ as the previously linked scouting report states pretty spot on. He’s not a burner but he’s pretty fast at 4.73. He’s not going to be dunking basketballs like Cody Latimer with a 29-inch vert. He put up just 16 reps of 225 on the bench press.
But this guy simply makes plays. He was lightly recruited coming out of high school in Maryland and wound up signing on to play at Nebraska-Omaha where his brother was a wrestler. When UNO moved to D1, they cut both the football and wrestling programs and suddenly Barrett had colleges clamoring for him.
He wound up signing on with Colorado State and doing a little bit of everything for them, playing as a down lineman at end, standing up as an outside linebacker and rushing the QB, playing inside linebacker, and dropping into coverage.
He is clearly at his strongest when playing up close to the line of scrimmage, and has a wide array of moves to get into the backfield and make plays. You wouldn’t know it just by looking at him, but he’s extremely quick. He uses his hands like an NFL defensive end, and like I said can use a variety of speed moves to make his way to the quarterback.
Barrett seems to understand defensive concepts that should help him make the Denver Broncos’ roster, ultimately. I feel like the fourth round pick the Broncos traded to take Cody Latimer would have been well spent on this kid after watching four of his games from this past season and reading up on him.
At 21 years of age, he’s already got a wife and two kids. He was a team captain at CSU and improved every year he was there. He turned his raw talent into star ability as a senior, and after watching these games I’m personally shocked that he wasn’t selected.
For the Broncos, he will play a hybrid DE/LB role, and he spoke to that per the Coloradoan.
“They don’t have a lot of depth at the position I play. They have a really good No. 1 (DeMarcus Ware), but that’s about it.”
Barrett’s college coach Jim McElwain had this to say about him: “He’s a great person, a great father, and he plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”
With a shot to make an NFL roster, I’m putting serious stock into this player.
Shaq Barrett vs. Alabama (2013) via Draft Breakdown
Shaq Barrett vs. Colorado (2013) via Draft Breakdown
Shaq Barrett vs. Utah State (2013) via Draft Breakdown
Shaq Barrett vs. UTEP (2013) via Draft Breakdown