The Denver Broncos already added to their offensive line earlier in the draft. In the third round, they added offensive tackle Michael Schofield to the roster. He’s a player who can play inside at guard if need be, but nevertheless they felt compelled to add another player inside.
With the 207th pick, they drafted center Matt Paradis out of Boise State.
The last time the Broncos drafted a player from Boise State, it was left tackle Ryan Clady in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft. On a conference call with the Denver media, Paradis talked about following in Clady’s footsteps.
“He’s obviously one of the best to ever play at Boise State, and you always wanted to be like him, trying to strive to be how good he is. So I watched him. He graduated from Boise before I was here but I always followed his career.”
Like any player coming to Denver, he is excited to be around quarterback Peyton Manning.
“Peyton is one of the best in the game, and I’m looking forward to getting in there and making adjustments and everything. I consider myself up to the challenge.”
It has to be a dream come true for a player who originally began his college career as a walk-on. He remembers the journey from then until now.
“It’s pretty surreal. I came from a really small town as a walk-on, and it’s just kind of a situation you never think can happen and it happened. It’s pretty amazing.”
At the scouting combine, Paradis measured in at 6’2”, 306 pounds. He ran a 5.34 40-yard dash and recorded an 8’7” broad jump. He did a good job of showing off his athleticism at Indianapolis. Those measurables matched what he showed on film during his college career.
One of his best attributes is his initial quickness. He does a great job of snapping the ball and quickly getting his hands on a defender.
He’s a tough player, and that should not come as a shock since he was originally a college defensive lineman. Paradis was converted to a center during his sophomore season at Boise State.
“Once I converted and bought into the tradition and bought into becoming an offensive player which is kind of a different mindset—it’s been working great for me and I enjoy it tremendously now.”
There’s a chance that Paradis could develop into an eventual starter. He talked about his role as a rookie this year.
“I’m just coming in there, and I’m going to compete and do everything I can to help the team. Whatever role they decide for me, that’s what I’m going to do.”
The team added free agent Will Montgomery earlier this year. He will compete with last year’s starting center Manny Ramirez for the top job. Both have the experience edge over Paradis, but the rookie is going to get a chance to move up the depth chart.
We’ll see a battle in training camp for the starting job, and most likely Montgomery will win it. If that happens, we could see Ramirez move back to his more natural position of guard.
There’s a small chance that Paradis could win the job, but most likely he’ll work as depth at the position. He has the upside to be a decent starter, and the Broncos are interested in developing him at a position that hasn’t had a quality starter since the days of Tom Nalen.
The Broncos showed interest in Paradis before the draft, as they had a private workout with him at Dove Valley. Paradis didn’t know if that meant they would take him in the draft.
“Things went well. I didn’t know that they were going to take me, but I watched film with the O-line coaches and it went really well, so I was excited about the visit.”
Paradis will begin his pro career competing with Ramirez and Montgomery to establish a pecking order on the depth chart. Even if he has to begin his career as a backup, he has the upside to eventually develop into a decent spot starter.
Cecil Lammey can be followed on Twitter @CecilLammey.
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