During his junior season at Missouri, when he set a single-season SEC record with 44 touchdown passes, Broncos quarterback Drew Lock also threw 13 interceptions.
New teammate McTelvin Agim, a third-round draft pick by the Broncos last month, should have added another to Lock’s total on a play that showed the rookie defensive lineman’s intriguing athleticism.
In a 48-45 win against Arkansas, Missouri faced a third-and-7 from its 17-yard line late in the first quarter. Agim, in a three-point stance, was a defensive end in the Razorbacks’ 3-4 front.
At the snap, Lock looked to throw a screen pass to a receiver on the right side of the field. Agim took several steps toward Lock, recognized a screen developing behind him and showed good instincts to retreat directly into the throwing lane.
The only thing Agim didn’t do? Catch the ball. With nobody in front of him, Agim would have had a clear path toward a defensive touchdown. Instead, he was left to slap his helmet after the pass sailed between his hands.
What can Agim bring to the Broncos defense? The 6-foot-3, 309-pound lineman is expected to compete with Dre’Mont Jones and DeMarcus Walker for a role as a reserve defensive end. His strong initial burst and fluid movement bode well for his chances.
“We’ll see how (Agim) develops and where exactly he could fit in,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “He’s a guy that needs developing. He’s not a complete player at this point, obviously. But we do like some of the tools that he has.”
Agim fit in just about everywhere along the defensive line at Arkansas, moving from a 3-4 defensive end early in his career to a 4-3 defensive tackle during his senior year. It wasn’t uncommon to see him lined up across opposing centers, guards and tackles as he played various techniques.
The constant was his production. Agim totaled 31 tackles for loss, 14 1/2 sacks and six forced fumbles in 42 games for the Razorbacks.
Regardless of where Agim was slotted, his quick first step was always a factor. It stood out against Missouri and even more in games last season against Texas A&M and Kentucky.
As a sophomore, Agim played almost exclusively at left defensive end in the 3-4 front Arkansas ran against Missouri. He showed a promising swat-to-rip combo that helped him maneuver in tight spaces, particularly against the right guard, but the rest wasn’t especially pretty.
On several plays, Agim was washed out of the action by right tackle Paul Adams, who consistently cleared running lanes for Missouri’s tailbacks. At other times, Agim simply failed to hold up at the point of attack. His only solo tackle came near the goal line with under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. Two plays later, the Tigers kicked a short field goal to win.
Two years later, Agim looked bigger, stronger and faster as the best player on the Arkansas defense. (The only other Razorbacks defensive player to be drafted last month was safety Kamren Curl, who was taken by Washington in the seventh round.)
In a 31-27 loss to Texas A&M, Agim had three tackles (two solo) and one sack while mostly playing 4-3 defensive tackle with a few snaps as a 3-4 nose tackle mixed in. And he made an impact from the start.
On Texas A&M’s first possession, Agim used his swat-and-rip move to beat the right guard and pressure quarterback Kellen Mond. However, Mond stepped up in the pocket and scrambled for 12 yards. On the next play, Agim used a quick first step and well-timed swim move to bust through the center and right guard and swallow up Mond for a seven-yard sack in 1.8 seconds.
In the second quarter, Agim was lined up as the nose tackle in a 3-4 front and pushed the pulling left guard to the ground on a run to the right and wrestled down the running back after a one-yard gain. Agim wasn’t dominant against the Aggies, but his ability to knife through gaps and disrupt plays was impressive.
Two weeks later, Agim had five tackles (three solo) and one sack in a 24-20 loss at Kentucky, again mainly playing 4-3 defensive tackle.
Part of Agim’s development will involve improving his ability to shed blocks. He has a curious habit of losing sight of the ball-carrier, partly because he focuses so much on getting upfield, almost at all costs. However, he made a nice play against Kentucky near the goal line in the second quarter when he tossed the right guard out of the way and stuffed a direct snap to running back Asim Rose. Agim later did well to shed an attempted block by the center and stop quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. for no gain.
Agim’s sack came in the third quarter when he beat the right guard with a swat-and-rip move to hit Bowden for a seven-yard loss in 2.5 seconds. If Agim is going to produce for the Broncos, it will likely be due to that very move, though he would benefit from adding more to his pass-rushing toolbox.
“The thing I feel like I have to improve on the most is just being more consistent,” Agim said. “Because I’ve been able to do everything, but I need to make sure I can do it all on a consistent basis.”
Agim should have time to develop the consistency he needs. Jurrell Casey, Mike Purcell and Shelby Harris are slated to start in Fangio’s 3-4 front, meaning his snaps are likely to be limited as a rookie.
Agim doesn’t flash star potential, but he should become a solid, versatile piece of the Broncos’ defensive line. If he works to add another plus trait or two, his upside could be even higher.
Source: Read Full Article