The Broncos claimed first-year center James Ferentz off waivers this weekend from the Houston Texans. To make room for him they released veteran center Gino Gradkowski. This means that Ferentz would be the backup to starter Matt Paradis.
The Broncos traveled to Houston during the second week of the preseason, and during that game the Broncos were able to see Ferentz play in some extended action. Head Coach Gary Kubiak was impressed with how well Ferentz played, and he liked how well he got into the second level.
Ferentz—obviously, he's a good young player. He reminds us a lot of Matt. You know players in this league—you watch them. When we played them , we thought he played very well. We liked the way he gets to the second level. He's undersized like Matt, but he plays a lot like Matt and all of a sudden he came on the wire. It's a chance we felt like to improve our team. We got a little younger and we think he can catch up real quick, so that's a good thing."
Ferentz does compare very well to starter Matt Paradis. Both are undersized players. Ferentz is 6'2" 285lbs and Paradis is 6'3 300lbs. Both are athletic, and both are intelligent players.
Ferentz is the son of Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz. He's known as an offensive line guru so his son obviously would be good technician in the trenches. He also did not fit very well into Houston's blocking scheme. Ferentz's skill set fits Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme very well.
Kubiak did say that Ferentz doesn't offer much in versatility, so do not expect him to play any other interior spots for the Broncos.
"He's pretty much a center. We have other swing guys on game day with what we've done with Max and what Shelley can do. Having flexibility is so important. He'll just work at center."
I really liked this addition to the Broncos, and Kubiak obviously felt like Ferentz was an improvement over Gino Gradkowski. I think the Broncos found themselves a solid backup, and potentially another Matt Paradis.