CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – The Denver Broncos traded out of the first round last year to draft defensive end Derek Wolfe in the second round.
It’s quite possible they hold onto their first pick this year. The opening round of the NFL draft is this Thursday night with the Broncos picking 28th.
Diehard fans and analysts have familiarized themselves with most of the first-round prospects and some of the second and third. But what about the players who fly under the radar? — Players from Division II schools like Colorado State University-Pueblo? CBS4’s Gary Miller found one such player – offensive guard Ryan Jensen.
Jensen has spent the past few months doing everything he can to raise his draft stock. He didn’t exactly go to a football factory school. The Fort Morgan native played his college ball at CSU in Pueblo. But a player as good as Jensen can’t hide; the scouts found him.
“Every single team was in Pueblo this year to see him either in a game or practice,” Jeff Legwold with The Denver Post said. “Eleven teams saw him on game day, which is pretty rare for a small school guy. So there’s a lot of interest in him.”
Jensen knows the scouts have been watching. He also knows he’s getting closer and closer to his dream. It’s not uncommon for offensive lineman from smaller schools to find a job in the NFL.
“My offensive line coach Chris Symington down at CSU-Pueblo coached T.J. Lang at Eastern Michigan, who’s the starting left guard for the Green Bay Packers,” Jensen said. “Coach Symington always kind of compared me to him … I’ve been watching him for the past two or three years; and I feel like I play quite a bit like him.
Trainer Loren Landow works with pro athletes and those who hope to be pros all the time. He thinks Jensen has the right stuff.
“Boy, he’s a unique athlete. He reminds me of a lot of great offensive linemen. He reminds me Kris Kuper and Tom Nalen – real gritty, tough, plays a lot bigger than he is,” Landow said. “The biggest thing for Ryan was getting him to slow things down a little bit and work more technically.”
Jensen said he’s projected as a guard or a center.
“A lot of scouts have been talking to me about moving me into guard, center,” Jensen said. “(My) arms are a little bit short to play tackle, but I’ve played it for the past four years, so it’s one of those things that comes natural. So think I can play all three positions if need be.”
Jensen won’t hear his name called on the first day of the draft and he’s going to have to be patient. But chances are a team will like him enough to call his name before the weekend is over.
“I really think he could be a final day pick, an awful lot of teams have interest in him. I think what will be key for him is if some of those teams believe somebody else is going to take him if they wait,” Legwold said.
Jensen is expected to get drafted. Even if he doesn’t, he will make an NFL roster. So many players fall through the cracks and go onto enjoy long NFL careers as undrafted free agents. It’s almost a badge of honor. And the Broncos will draft a lineman — they always do.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft