Center Matt Paradis left one Broncos' stadium to join another after being picked in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by Denver. Drew Roberts of One Bronco Nation Under God tells us that this former walk-on from Boise State - who has been criticized for his size - is ready to prove his critics wrong.
MHR - A lot has been made of the fact that Paradis walked on at Boise State and then was named a first-team and second-team All Mountain West player in 2012 and 2013. How do you think that experience of having to prove himself from Day 1 will help him in the pros - not just to make the team but to be a major contributor for the Broncos?
Drew - Well, it tells me that Paradis has a lot of fight in him and won't go quietly. Boise State has a great history of success with walk-ons, but if you really examine it year-over-year, a LOT of walk-ons wash out and never play a game, so the ones that stick have to show commitment above and beyond that of scholarship players. I think being drafted in the later rounds is similar in a lot of ways.
MHR - Another Boise State alum, Ryan Clady, is a fan-favorite here but more importantly a Manning favorite. Paradis has mentioned that he strived to be as good a player as Clady was at Boise State. What elements of Clady's game are good ones for Paradis to emulate (even at a different position) and what do you think of the possibility of two former Boise State Broncos playing together in Denver?
Drew - Clady is certainly the benchmark at Boise State for the left tackle position, so I think that's an excellent alum for Paradis to aspire to, but ultimately I think their games are quite a bit different. Clady was penciled in as a starter at LT practically from day one at Boise State while Paradis was a walk-on defensive tackle.
Paradis' game is much more suited for the interior O-line, in my opinion, because I don't think he has the same footwork gifts that Clady possesses or the long arms. The latter is something Paradis can't hope to aspire to, unless medical science makes some titanic leaps, but the former can be perfected through practice and is an element of Clady's game worth emulating. I do think that Paradis will stick in Denver and become a dependable role player on the interior O-line.
MHR - What kind of advantage does Paradis have since he is a converted defensive lineman?
Drew - I'd think that Paradis would know a few more lineman tricks, or "tells" as it were, having come from the other side of the LOS, but ultimately, he might prove a tad more nimble than your average guard or center, given his previous life of running down QBs.
Sweet pic from rookie minicamp last weekend, busier than heck out here and very excited to keep… http://t.co/ON04KHGAWu— Matt Paradis (@two_dice) May 20, 2014
MHR - NFL.com Draft Grades gave Paradis a 5.0 on a 10-point scale, which translates to "50-50 chance to make an NFL roster." With depth at Paradis' position - starter Manny Ramirez and free agency pick-up Will Montgomery - what do you think his chances are of making the team? What would be your prediction for being a starter?
Drew - I feel fairly confident that Paradis will make the roster, but less so of him becoming a starter...at least right away. I think he's good enough, coachable enough, and persistent enough however to eventually land a spot in the rotation and become a starter down the road if the Denver brass show the same commitment to him as I'm sure he will to the franchise.
MHR - Most football fans are well aware of the disastrous start the Denver Broncos had to the 2014 Super Bowl, which included a bad snap by the center. Although Manning himself has attributed the blown snap to the OL not hearing the snap count over the crowd noise, the result still had a rattling effect on the offense for most (if not all) of the game. How do you think Paradis would do in a situation like that, i.e., overcoming adversity (bad plays!) in a game? Any examples from his time at Boise State?
Drew - Paradis was a starter at Boise State for one of the most tumultuous seasons in recent history...offensively at least, so I'd say he's probably dealt with a fair amount of adversity of late, if not outright criticism. Despite the rough 2012 season, however, Boise State rebounded in 2013 and finished in the top 15 in the country in red zone offense, 15th in first downs, and in the top 20 in scoring offense. To me, this is a testament to Paradis and his teammates shaking off a rough year and cleaning up the small details that led them to struggle the previous season.
MHR - Our readers were really happy with the Paradis pick (85% in our extremely scientific polling!) but the one question is his size. How do you think Paradis' 300-pound frame will stack up against the giant defenders in the NFL? Do you believe he can improve his strength level?
Drew - I think Paradis should stack up just fine. He's not a giant, even by Boise State standards, but is tenacious and knows his blocking assignments. I think he can easily improve his strength and technique and become an even better overall lineman.
MHR - After watching him for years at Boise State, what would you say are Paradis' main weaknesses to improve upon if he's eventually going to be a force in the NFL?
Drew - Though I know people want him to improve upon is his size, I'm not sure how feasible that is, as he appears to be at or close to his limit. I do think he could stand to improve his flexibility and footwork, and I think will with the right tutelage.
We've picked C Matt Paradis from Boise St. A smart, versatile player who was leader of OL. Was a Bronco in college and will stay a Bronco!— John Elway (@johnelway) May 10, 2014
MHR - After the draft, John Elway said Paradis was a "smart, versatile player" with OL leadership capabilities. Paradis' scouting report says "humble, hard-working, highly respected." How important do you think such intangible traits will be in making an NFL starting lineup?
Drew - I think those traits are what ultimately are going to make Paradis' career given that he has some physical attributes (or lack thereof) to make up for. Paradis has played nearly every lineman position on both sides of the line-of-scrimmage and coming from 8-man football at Council, Idaho, to a walk-on spot to being a two-time all-conference performer says a lot about his work ethic, drive, and football IQ.
MHR - Fun fact about Matt Paradis?
Drew - His twitter handle (@two_dice) is a play off his name Paradis(e) - "pair o' dice."