Name: Vontarrius Dora
Position: Edge Rusher
Height: 6'3" Weight: 256lbs
Age: 24 Experience: 1st
College: Louisana Tech
After the 2016 draft concluded, Lousiana Tech's defensive end/edge rusher Vontarrius Dora's name was not called. However, minutes after the draft ended, the Denver Broncos reached out to the pass rusher and eventually signed him to a contract.
Dora joined the team and mostly played on the second and third team defenses during OTA's, Minicamp, and Training Camp. However, he really stood out to fans and Broncos coaches during the Broncos preseason games. He burst onto the scene during the Broncos first preseason game when he totaled 2 sacks and a forced fumble against the Chicago Bears. He didn't record any more sacks after that game but was still active by pressuring and hitting opposing quarterbacks.
Unfortunately, Dora was one of the final cuts during the second round of cuts but was added to the Broncos 10-man Practice Squad. He was activated off the Practice Squad for the Broncos week 17 regular season finale against the Oakland Raiders. He did not record any stats during the game. Now Dora enters the 2017 offseason with a chance to crack the Broncos edge rushing rotation.
With Shaq Barrett sidelined, Kasim Edebali and Vontarrius Dora will get plenty of opportunities. https://t.co/QL4MbJIsII— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) May 31, 2017
The Broncos lost veteran DeMarcus Ware this offseason when they did no re-sign him and then he eventually retired. This left a void in the Broncos deep and talented edge rushing unit.
Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller and former first-round pick Shane Ray figure to be the starters while Shaquil Barrett will serve as the main backup for both and rotate in and out. This leaves a spot open for the fourth and final spot in the edge rushing unit, a spot that Dora could potentially earn this summer.
Unfortunately for Shaquil Barrett, he will be sidelined into Training Camp because of a hip injury. This will allow Dora and others to earn significant snaps during the rest of the OTA's, minicamp, and some of Training Camp and Preseason. If he can have the same type of impact that he did last summer, he could crack the Broncos 53-man roster.
Image Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Showed pass rushing ability last season for the Broncos during the preseason, but playing against second and third team caliber players, so he has yet to prove himself against starting level talent. However, he showed enough to earn himself more rep with the second team defense this offseason.
What also helps Dora is the unfortunate hip injury suffered by Shaq Barrett. This injury will sideline him into Training Camp meaning Dora could earn himself some significant reps this offseason. This will give him a chance to prove himself against the starters and hopefully earn himself a roster spot this season.
Dora has himself some competition this offseason for that fourth and final edge rushing spot. The Broncos signed free agent edge rusher Kasim Edebali formerly of the New Orleans Saints. Edebali appears to be ahead of Dora on the depth chart right now as he took first team reps today while Von Miller skipped out on Monday's Voluntary OTA practices.
If he does not pass Edebali, Dora will either have to force the Broncos to keep five edge rushers on the active roster, or he'll spend his second consecutive season on the Broncos 10-man Practice Squad.
Dora is on the bubble and will need to pass Kasim Edebali on the depth chart to make the roster. The Broncos signed Edebali as a free agent so they must feel he can crack the roster, so the odds are against him again.
A strong and healthy Training Camp and Preseason will help Dora crack the 53 man roster. My guess right now is that he ends up on the Practice Squad again.