During the offseason programs, the Denver Broncos will be trying to find their best group on the defensive line. The Broncos have two starters in place, but that third starting spot is up in the air, at least from the outside.
There are multiple guys in play for that last starting job, but the projected winner is none other than McTelvin Agim. Let’s break down why that is by rewinding first.
Agim is entering the third year of his NFL career and will turn only 25 years old after the season starts in September. His freshman year of high school football was in Texas, but he then moved to Arkansas, where he became the top recruit in the state for college football.
While only being a freshman, Agim got to see the field and played some good football right away. With only 306 total snaps, Pro Football Focus handed him a 74.9 overall defensive grade with 11 total pressures and four sacks. His 13 stops also helped him earn an 81.3 run defense grade from the site.
Agim picked up 15 total pressures and 18 stops on 609 snaps in the second year. So despite the increase of snaps, he didn’t make a huge jump in production, and his defensive grade even dropped to 67.6 overall. He also batted down three passes at the line of scrimmage.
Agim’s third year is when he took a significant step forward, picking up 24 total pressures with five sacks and 24 total stops. His final year at Arkansas had 29 total pressures, seven sacks, and 30 total stops. He really started to develop as a defensive lineman in his last two collegiate seasons and became a disruptive force — just in time to head to the NFL.
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Agim started his draft process with the East-West Shrine Bowl and then the Senior Bowl. After that, it was getting ready for the NFL Scouting Combine.
Agim didn’t participate in all the testing at the Combine, and what drills he did take, it wasn’t the best. He did the 40-yard dash and bench press along with the measurements, which were in the 45th and 65th percentile, respectively.
At the Arkansas Pro Day, Agim completed the testing he didn’t do at the Combine. He did alright on the other tests, and his relative athletic score ended up at 8.62 out of 10, which is good.
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His college career and the pre-draft process were enough to hear his name called with the 95th overall pick by the Broncos.
Through two years of his career, Agim has only played 231 total snaps on defense and earned a 47.1 and 43.4 overall grade. While he has been fine as a pass rusher with 16 total pressured on 131 total pass-rush snaps, he has had issues as a run defender.
In 100 snaps against the run, Agim has picked up five stops and has missed four tackles. That has led to his highest run defense grade being 39.7 from his rookie season. That has been the biggest obstacle he has had to overcome and still has to as he enters his third season.
While Agim had a limited role in 2021 with 61 snaps as a pass rusher, he led the Broncos’ defensive linemen in pass-rush win rate and pass-rush productivity. It was a small sample size and would likely decrease with more action, but his play as a pass rusher isn’t the issue.
With a new coaching staff and likely some changes upfront, Agim could benefit. It isn’t hard to argue that he got in the doghouse with the old coaching staff and could not get out of it. Going off what was on the field, his run defense would be what landed him there.
If Agim wins the starting job for the 2022 season, it will likely revolve around his growth as a run defender. Projecting him as the starter is happening because of his third-round draft pedigree and his ability as a pass rusher, but GM George Paton has mentioned how the Broncos have to improve their defense against the run.
So, while Agim is projected to be the starter, it isn’t his job or even his job to lose at this point. There is a clear competition, and if Agim is going to win it, his run defense will need to improve drastically.
The good thing for him is that there’s plenty of time this offseason to make strides and win the starting job.
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