You may have forgotten about J.J. Dielman, I know I have during the course of the offseason.
He was added in mid-December to the Broncos in a move that was probably overlooked by many. The Broncos season was already over, a pretty depressing season, and there were less than two weeks until Christmas so there are plenty of reasons why this move was likely overlooked or forgotten. However, Vance Joseph and the Broncos wanted Dielman and apparently tried to get him multiple times before finally doing it in mid-December.
Joseph said watch for G-C JJ Dielman. Broncos like him. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 27, 2018
Dielman was a fifth-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2017 NFL Draft but bounced around a bit before landing on the Bengals Practice Squad. The Broncos who apparently put in a waiver claim on him in September finally got their man as they signed Dielman off the Bengals practice squad.
He is a 6’5’, 309lb center/guard prospect who played his college ball at Utah. He was the starting center and leader of Utah’s offensive line that included Broncos 2017 first-round pick, Garett Bolles. You can view NFL.com’s scouting report on Dielman here.
During the NFL Head Coaches breakfast at the Orlando league meetings, Broncos Head Coach was asked about Dielman and boy did he rave about him.
“J.J. Dielman was a guy that we coveted in the draft. That Utah line that came out a year ago had four guys drafted. All four of those played, except for J.J. because he was injured a little bit and went to Cincinnati on [its] practice squad. The rest of those guys played. They were all drafted. That was the best college line in football. He was a great leader in college. You asked all of those kids who would you take with you from your college O-Line, it was always J.J. Dielman, and he was the lowest-drafted guy. From a leadership standpoint, he was the guy. That’s important when you’re a center. He’s played guard and he’s also played tackle as a sophomore in college. I’m looking forward to getting him on the field because he was a guy that we really, really liked. We tried to get him a couple of times out of Cincy during the year. We failed the first time, but got him to us the second time. Him and Bolles are really tight. That’s always a good thing to have one of your buddies there that can push you behind the scenes to be a better player. We’re excited about him. Again, he’s played center, he’s played guard and he’s also played some right tackle. We’re excited to see what he can bring.”
The Broncos offensive line is mostly set right now. During the press conference, Joseph stated that Bolles would be the left tackle, Leary would move back to left guard, Paradis would be the center, Connor McGovern would get the first shot at right guard, and that Veldheer would be the right tackle. However, the right guard position figures to be an open competition, and if McGovern does get it, that opens up the backup guard/center role for Dielman.
As Joseph stated, Dielman has experience at multiple positions including center, guard, and right tackle, so he could become a versatile and valuable backup for the Broncos. As I said, if they go forward with McGovern as the starting right guard, Dielman could shift into the center/guard backup role.
This could leave Max Garcia as the odd man out. He can really only play left guard(Why Leary played right guard last season) and his lack of versatility as a backup is not a good thing.
There is a long way to go and the draft could easily shake things up, but for now, the Broncos will have some competition going on along their interior offensive line.