Broncos sleeper undrafted player now has legit shot at making the team

The Drew Sanders injury may have paved the way
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Jason Allen/ISI Photos/GettyImages

An offseason injury to Drew Sanders might pave the way for the Denver Broncos' latest undrafted free agent success story. Although there are a couple of undrafted players to really pay close attention to because of what the Broncos invested in them financially (OT Frank Crum, RB Blake Watson), the linebacker position might be the one on paper that looks the most likely to welcome an undrafted player in 2024.

Especially after Sanders' injury, the linebacker position as well as core special teams standouts are worth watching among this year's undrafted free agent crop, and that's where the attention turns directly to former Fresno State captain and linebacker Levelle Bailey. Bailey racked up 277 total tackles in his time at Fresno State, 26.0 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, and 5 forced fumbles.

He filled up the stat sheet as a Bulldog in college, but can he break through and make an NFL roster in 2024?

Levelle Bailey might have a strong chance of making Denver Broncos roster

It's still not going to be an easy task, but let's take a quick look at the Denver Broncos' off-ball linebacker position group without Drew Sanders in the mix (if he was even in the mix to begin with).

  • Alex Singleton
  • Cody Barton
  • Jonas Griffith
  • Justin Strnad
  • Levelle Bailey
  • Alec Mock (another UDFA)

The Broncos scouted Bailey at his 2024 pro day which wasn't exactly earth-shattering by any stretch in terms of his overall workout numbers. Listed at 6-foot-2, 217 pounds, Bailey ran a 4.70 in the 40-yard dash and had a 31.5-inch vertical jump with a 7.23 in the three-cone drill.

But as we know with the linebacker position, it's not always about athleticism first -- it's about instincts.

Bailey continually came up with clutch plays in his time at Fresno State, including three interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles in his final season. He was impressive in coverage for most of his college career with 22 total passes defensed. He attacks the line of scrimmage with aggressiveness and can be used as a blitzer.

There are obvious reasons why Bailey didn't get drafted in the first place despite a lot of production at the collegiate level, but the fact of the matter is -- guys who can play will play when it comes to the NFL. The Broncos have a history of overlooked players stepping up and carving out significant roles with the team, even if you just want to look at someone like Alex Singleton, who went from having to play some pro ball in Canada to becoming a big-money linebacker in the NFL.

You just never know when guys are going to hit.

And the opportunity is there for someone like Bailey to step up after Drew Sanders' injury. It will be fascinating to see what he can do over the course of the offseason program and preseason.