The Denver Broncos made several additions to the defensive line during free agency and the draft. After drafting a defensive lineman in the fourth round, the Broncos chose another in Round 6.
Matt Henningsen was praised for his wisdom on and off the field. There’s no doubt he has the IQ to be a long -time NFL player, but what does he bring to the field?
Henningsen just turned 23 on May 1. He played college football in Wisconsin.
Henningsen has worked hard to make it to Wisconsin and is the first walk-on to start a season-opner since 1990, starting in the 2018 season. That 2018 campaign saw him play the most snaps in a season with 573 on defense. His production was poor, with six pressures and 11 stops.
During his college career, Henningsen faced several injuries that limited the amount of time he could spend on the field. As a result, he played 1,522 snaps in four seasons, showing 41 total games. In 41 games, he has 29 starts.
In his four-year stint on the field, Henningsen has scored 31 total pressures and 53 stops. He has played many areas on the line of defense and various roles. Throughout his career, he has only been punished once, and his technical discipline, and not being caught, can be seen in the analysis of his college tape.
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Henningsen was not invited to any pre-draft bowl games, nor an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine. There were many, myself included, who felt he was a snub, especially compared to the other defensive linemen invited.
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However, Henningsen showed up at Wisconsin Pro Day with a chip on his shoulder and had a good showing. His relative athletic score was 9.33 out of 10, mostly thanks to good jumps, short shuttles, and 3-cone drills.
It was enough for the Broncos to pick him as the 207th overall pick in the sixth round.
Henningsen hasn’t gotten a snap yet because he’s a pro less than a month. There was concern that he was facing an injury that had already sidelined him, that injuries were a college concern.
Henningsen has a chance to make the Broncos ’53 -man roster as one of the interior defensive linemen. Right now, the Broncos probably have four ‘cemented’ to make the roster – DJ Jones, Dre’Mont Jones, McTelvin Agim, and Eyioma Uwazurike. Denver is likely to remain sixth in position, and Henningsen is part of that fight.
DeShawn Williams and Mike Purcell are Henningsen’s toughest competition. If Henningsen wants to stay in the race, he needs to stay healthy and show up there on the field. Even if he’s a draft pick, a sixth round pick is not a guarantee to make a roster like the first picks can.
While Henningsen seems set to make the roster this season, there is a lot that could change in the coming months.
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