The Denver Broncos seem to be the gold standard in the NFL when it comes to consistently picking good UDFAs, and Kyle Kragen can continue the tradition…
The Denver Broncos waived TE Richard Gordon the other day, opening a spot on the roster for undrafted rookie free agent Kyle Kragen out of California…
While the rest of the eyes at the Cal Pro day were on Bears QB Jared Goff (the eventual top pick) and other offensive weapons, the Broncos saw something in Kragen that they felt it was worth opening up a roster spot to bring him in after the initial wave of UDFAs came aboard.
I noticed Kragen, who wears number 57 with the Broncos now, in some of the pictures and had no clue who he was. He wasn’t listed on the roster, but Andrew Mason confirmed to me on Twitter that it was indeed him.
The Broncos hit another home run with this one.
Kragen is described as a high motor player who plays with great leverage, and because of his listed 6-2, 255 pound frame, he appears to be destined more for an outside linebacker role with the Broncos than the traditional 4-3 DE position he played while at Cal. It’s clear to see in this lengthy highlight reel why the Broncos might have pursued this guy.
With three sacks and a dominant week of practice at the NFLPA bowl this offseason, Kragen opened the eyes of scouts and ran a solid 4.83 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day to go along with a 37-inch vertical jump. Athletically, he doesn’t jump off the tape, but it’s clear to see that he has a motor that never stops, and he’s just an instinctive player.
He was a big time playmaker at the junior college level before coming to Cal, racking up 28.5 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, and eight fumble recoveries in two seasons. He had a nice rookie campaign with Cal as a junior, but had to sit out the entire 2014 season due to illness.
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As the story goes, Kragen dropped 20 pounds after getting mono in the offseason, and his coach decided to give him a redshirt year to get his body back into playing shape. That turned out for the best, as Kragen came back with a breakout senior season, racking up 73 tackles, eight TFL, seven sacks, two forced fumbles, and six QB hurries.
His father, Greg Kragen, had a 13 year NFL career and spent 1985-1993 with the Denver Broncos organization. I wonder if he knows the guys in charge of the Broncos today…
Kragen seems to have a lot of legit qualities. The small sample size and the year off might have turned teams away at first, but he has the pass rush potential to make an impact this offseason. We’ll see if he takes advantage with some other solid young pass rushing prospects coming into camp this year.