Heading into the season, many fans were curious to see if center Matt Paradis could make the jump from the Practice Squad to being the Broncos starting center. Paradis started behind veteran center Gino Gradkowski whom the Broncos acquired from the Baltimore Ravens during the spring. Gino started at center for the Broncos at the beginning of Training Camp, but it didn't take long for Paradis to move into the starting role and never look back.
Paradis started all 16 games for the Broncos and was the only Broncos player to play every single snap this season.
Things started off slowly for Paradis, but lately, he has been playing like one of the best centers in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. Over the past three weeks, Paradis has scored a +11.3 from Pro Football Focus. That grade ranks as the best one over that span of time and is two times higher than second rated center.
Not surprisingly, Broncos center Matt Paradis received the highest grade of any Broncos offensive lineman for this past weekend's game against the San Diego Chargers. They gave him +5.1 grade which was the highest in the NFL for week 17.
This performance earned him a spot on Pro Football Focus's team of the week roster. Here is what they had to say about Paradis.
Jason Kelce almost stole this spot with his superior pass protection, but we like our centers to block big in the run game, and Paradis was a monster in this regard. Where did that come from?
The tape doesn't lie either. Paradis was spectacular on Sunday.
Paradis hasn't been getting much publicity because of the Broncos struggles, but his recent play is definitely noteworthy. Especially considering one year ago he was on the Broncos practice squad. A year later he is being mentioned with some of the best centers in the league like Jason Kelce of the Eagles and Travis Frederick of the Cowboys.
Paradis is even being compared to Denver Broncos legend, center Tom Nalen.
Longtime #Broncos fans will know what I mean, but Paradis is awfully reminiscent of Tom Nalen. Paradis 6th Rd pick/Nalen 7th. Similar styles— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) January 5, 2016
It's still way too early to be making this comparison, but I can where he is going with it. They're both late round picks, under-sized, playing in Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme, and having success.
Paradis has a long way to go to even be mentioned to the like of Tom Nalen but he is off to a good start. Hopefully, Paradis can continue his top-notch play throughout the postseason. The Broncos will need him to continue opening up running lanes for running backs, Ronnie Hillman, and C.J. Anderson.