Denver Broncos: Justin Strnad gunning for starting job

Denver Broncos LB Justin Strnad #40. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos LB Justin Strnad #40. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Justin Strnad is one of the Denver Broncos eager to play ball and is in line for a spot on this defense.

When the Denver Broncos selected Justin Strnad in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, there was no question regarding his potential as a developmental player at linebacker. Some scouts even wondered if Strnad would have been drafted earlier had there not been a biceps tear in his final year of college.

The talent jumps off the page with the Wake Forest product that begged the question of what a possible role could be for him since he is very athletic. That was quickly changed when the Broncos viewed him strictly as a linebacker.

Between the athleticism of both Strnad and Baron Browning at linebacker, the position is in good hands for potential starters down the road if the Denver Broncos view them as such. Josey Jewell certainly can not be counted out as a player who still might have a place on the roster.

Both Jewell and Alexander Johnson are scheduled to be free agents in 2022. Depth may not be a total loss currently but in the future, but this is a side story. Strnad’s potential spot on this team very well could see light due to his instincts showing up in the film room along with his quick reactions in coverage.

Denver has a few options to neutralize options in the passing game. Strnad can be a piece of that puzzle and help take this defense to new heights. There is a ton of quickness to go along with the instincts that do beg the question if he should have been drafted earlier.

Due to his exceptional quickness and instincts, it’s created some potential controversy in camp with Jewell. Jewell is an underrated player for this team at linebacker, but there is no denying what Strnad can bring to the table more than Jewell.

Since Jewell’s injury, Strnad has come right in and done an incredible job filling gap immediately in Jewell’s absence. So much so, there’s beginning to be thoughts of Strnad as a starter over Jewell. Jewell is not as gifted as Strnad, but his tremendous instincts make up for the deficiencies in speed and quickness.

One area Strnad will need to get better is making tackles or missing tackles. Strnad led all linebackers in tackles which is a great sign. There are caveats with missing tackles. When someone misses a tackle it could be due to redirecting the runner back inside of the defense.

For instance, there was a play against the Minnesota Vikings where Strnad filled his gap exceptionally well got to the backfield but did not make the tackle. However, that missed tackle moved the running back inside to the teeth of the defensive line. It was a really impressive play.

If Strnad can keep this up, it would not surprise me to see him be a starter in some capacity.