Troy Andersen could be ideal Denver Broncos target in 2022 NFL Draft

Denver Broncos mock draft; Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen (LB02) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos mock draft; Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen (LB02) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

As we await the 2022 NFL Draft, we examine Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen as a potential fit for the Denver Broncos.

While the Denver Broncos have satisfactorily settled the quarterback issue for the first time post-Super Bowl 50, there is now the matter of addressing the rest of the team’s needs via both free agency and the draft.

So far, the Broncos have had arguably the most significant offseason out of any ball club in 2022, between the Russell Wilson and Randy Gregory acquisitions alone. However, the team still has holes that need to be filled. Adding Wilson alone puts the Broncos in a much more favorable position than they have been in years, but of course, teams will always aim to improve every need.

One of the needs the Denver Broncos may take a look at in the 2022 NFL Draft is the linebacker position. Although the Broncos extended Josey Jewell in the offseason and still boast guys such as Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed, and have young up and coming talent in guys like Justin Strnad and Baron Browning, it certainly would not harm the team to bring in more depth at the position for a competitive edge.

This is where the team may look to one of the biggest surprises of the NFL Combine–Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen. Andersen drew national media attention with his dominant Scouting Combine performance. Andersen was one of just five linebackers at the combine to earn the “elite” score. Looking at his Combine metrics, it is easy to see why.

Andersen finished with the fastest 40 yard-dash time out of all linebackers, clocking in at 4.2 seconds, also the fifth-fastest by any player over 240 pounds since 2003 (per 406 Sports). He also boasted strong marks in the vertical leap and broad jump.

If people weren’t paying attention to Andersen before, they sure are now.

Troy Anderson and a few of his teammates also hoping to have their names called at the NFL Draft had another opportunity to show off their talents at Montana State’s Pro Day in Bozeman, Montana, held on Monday, where scouts from 20 organizations were in attendance.

When looking at Andersen’s scouting profile (per NFL Draft Buzz), some of the qualities that may jump off the page most to fans are his speed and his ability to be dropped back in coverage. He is commended for his ability in stopping the run and for his “ball hawk” tendencies. Overall, his strengths far outweigh his weaknesses.

One of his most notable “weaknesses” is his general inexperience at linebacker. One may be surprised to learn that for as successful as Troy Andersen’s draft campaign has been alongside his success at Montana State, he has only played about two years as a linebacker.

Initially, Andersen was recruited to play for the Montana State Bobcats as a runningback, which landed him Big Sky Freshman of the Year accolades. Jump forward a year, and Andersen once again found himself earning All-Conference First Team Honors for the Big Sky Conference.

The plot twist? He earned those honors as a quarterback.

Once football finally resumed for Montana State due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Andersen made the choice to convert to linebacker, as he felt it was his best chance to get to the NFL. So far, it seems to be working out pretty well for him.

Our only question is—where was Troy Andersen when the Denver Broncos needed a quarterback in 2020 against the New Orleans Saints? (No disrespect to the legendary Kendall Hinton, of course).

Another weakness the experts have identified is the size of the conference that Troy Andersen plays in and that playing in the NFL would be a monumental jump for him to make. Montana State is in the Big Sky Conference, along with North Dakota State University among others. This is often listed as a weakness with prospects from the Big Sky.

However, Andersen was pitted up against some of the top-performing athletes from the biggest and best college football programs at the Scouting Combine and more than held his own against some of the most highly touted talent. Being born and raised in Montana, I could get into the stigma of smaller schools often being overlooked by scouts, but I won’t.

When Andersen’s name is called, he will be the first Bobcat since 2016 to be drafted into the NFL, and if he is drafted within the first three rounds, will be the first Montana State alum to be drafted as high since 2004.

Here is a fun fact–Denver Broncos’ defensive line coach Bill Kollar is a Montana State alum and is the program’s highest-drafted player, as their only first-round pick (1974). Newly signed linebacker Alex Singleton is also an MSU alum.

So, what makes Troy Andersen such a good fit for the Denver Broncos?

Reading above, it is evident that Andersen is a very versatile player, the definition of the commonly used term, a “Swiss Army Knife” style of player. His assignment in 2021 was middle linebacker, but he has played all over the field, an asset that could be pivotal to the Denver Broncos come training camp this summer. It is also worth noting that Andersen has also played some reps at safety.

Though the Broncos do not have a shortage of young linebackers, Troy Andersen brings the potential to bring competition to every linebacker spot on the field. While it is unlikely he will be unseating guys such as Bradley Chubb or Malik Reed, he has the ability to put some heat on Browning or Singleton.

With the Denver Broncos allowing Alexander Johnson to walk in free agency, realistically, the possibilities for this linebacker corps are endless, and that is the kind of environment Troy Andersen may thrive in.

As for the newfound attention Andersen is receiving, he has stayed humble: “I just do the best I can in everything I do. Next opportunity’s there, give it your best. I don’t really care what many people say other than the teams that I’m talking to” he told 406 Sports.

It is unclear if one of those teams is the Denver Broncos. It is worth noting that the Broncos were not one of the 20 teams in attendance at Montana State’s Pro Day on Monday. However, this certainly does not mean the interest is not there.

Right now, Troy Andersen is projected to be a day two or three pick. While the Broncos could select him with the 64th overall pick (their first pick of the draft), their need for a cornerback may supersede linebacker, so the 75th or 96th picks may be where his name could be called if he is still available.

Of course, we will have to wait and see what George Paton and the Denver Broncos do at the 2022 NFL Draft, but Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen should be on their radar.