Denver Broncos: Andre Minzte cracks the 53-man roster

Denver Broncos UDFA edge rusher Andre Mintze. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos UDFA edge rusher Andre Mintze. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

As of August 31, 2021, the Denver Broncos have now continued an impressive run on undrafted free agents.

Andre Mintze, undrafted free-agent out of Vanderbilt is officially a member of the Denver Broncos. Dating back to 2003, the Denver Broncos have brought an undrafted free agent on to the initial 53-man roster 17 out of the past 18 seasons.

Joining players like Chris Harris Jr., and now fellow outside linebacker Malik Reed, Mintze looks to continue to build on what has been a strong offseason. Right out of the gate, Andre Mintze had been turning heads.

Working in the favor of the 6-foot-3, 249 pound outside linebacker is the leadership that sits atop him on the depth chart. Having future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Von Miller, in your camp can benefit a young player like Mintze.

Before his first preseason action, Mintze uploaded a video on his YouTube channel, Dre Mintze TV. This video provided a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at what the trip to Minnesota was truly like. One of my personal favorites from this video was when he, Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, and the rest of the pass rush group were eating dinner.

After watching the video, you can’t help but to want to root for this guy. Mintze seems so humble and positive, which is where greatness begins. His vibe is contagious along with his positivity. He talked about how excited he was, how humbled he was for this dream to be coming true for him.

In his preseason debut, Mintze had a strong outing. He produced one sack in what could have been the biggest moment of his life. Playing in the NFL comes with immense pressure, I think Mintze is prepared for that.

Miller was talking with the pass rush group, Mintze included and was pushing a positive mindset on his teammates. One thing that really turned Von Miller’s career around was the arrival of another Hall of Famer, DeMarcus Ware. Miller has now taken that role upon himself and has become a strong leader for the rookies.

Andre Mintze is not expected to come in and contribute a massive amount in 2021, but what he can do is soak in everything possible from the likes of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Even Malik Reed, another undrafted gem of the Denver Broncos.

Mintze will likely head into the season as the fifth guy on the depth chart, but that is the ideal situation right now. Fellow rookie, Jonathon Cooper, should be a part of the second unit along with Malik Reed.

His debut was indeed his best performance of the preseason, but his overall body of work is what seems to stand out to this coaching staff. During training camp and OTA’s, Mintze constantly popped out on the practice field.

One thing that I am excited to see with Mintze is his growth in a defensive scheme that allows him to play standing up. At Vanderbilt, Mintze was typically playing with one hand in the dirt. I’ve noticed that some outside linebackers are more comfortable rushing the passer standing up rather than a 3-point stance.

There are multiple ways a pass-rusher can line up, a 2-point stance, a 3-point stance, and a 4-point stance. Rushing from a 3-point stance is when you have one hand in the dirt, basically three points of contact with the ground. Rushing from a 4-point stance is similar, but with both hands in the ground instead of one.

If you watch Von Miller and Bradley Chubb rush the passer from a 2-point stance, which is just standing straight up, it seems like this gives them an advantage from a get-off standpoint. Elvis Dumervil, former Denver Bronco, saw a massive spike in production when shifting from a defensive end, when he had his hand in the dirt, to a stand-up outside linebacker.

Some people find this more natural and allow them to have a much more effective burst, I think Mintze will follow. Letting Mintze see some garbage time action, as the Denver Broncos will be kicking butts and taking names, will be beneficial to his growth.

Learning a strong dip from Von Miller add to Mintze’s arsenal. Mintze was a strong anchor in college and even against the SEC, he was able to hold the edge. Mintze has also shown to be an artist with his hands, a vital attribute for pass rushers.

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He is a relentless defender and you can see that from his collegiate tape. There were many screen plays to the running back out of the backfield that when Mintze realized what was happening, was able to shed his blocker and get parallel and make a play. He has the awareness that you want out of a young guy.

He is nowhere close to a polished prospect, but he is one with a high upside. His upside was obvious, but not only to the Denver Broncos. He garnished $85,000 in guarantees, which is pretty substantial for an undrafted free agent.

If Mintze can sit back and learn, play in minor moments, and let his ability shine, he can contribute when called upon. That said, I wouldn’t expect major production from Mintze in 2021, but in 2022, I certainly expect him to play a much bigger role for this team.

He could be the next Malik Reed, as his contract is up after this season. Reed has an important role on this team. In the NFL you need to have a strong starting unit, but you also have to have quality backups behind them. Preparing Mintze to be this team’s rotational pass rusher in the upcoming years will benefit this defense tremendously in the years to come.

Congratulations to the entire 53-man roster, especially to the undrafted guy, Andre Mintze.