As a team who has struggled to find and develop quality offensive line talent, the Denver Broncos are looking for help wherever they can find it. They just may find some help in the form of the four-year player from Utah and former fifth-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in J.J. Dielman.
Name: J.J. Dielman
Dielman was a teammate of Garrett Bolles and played right tackle for three years before moving over to center his senior year. An injury knocked him out early in the season, so he only spent five games playing Center for the Utes. He was a team captain, and started every game of his career until his senior season injury.
Dielman brings some versatility to Denver in that he has played multiple years at right tackle and some snaps at center. He projects best as a center/guard in the NFL and so has some position flexibility.
Team captain, and has 3+ years of starting experience.
According to his NFL.com draft assessment, Dielman “has quick feet and good flexibility through his hips. Possesses desired body control. Talented work-up blocker who finds his second-level targets and strikes with accuracy. Can get to the difficult angles.”
He projects best as an athletic center or guard in a zone running scheme.
His arm length (32”) are problematic for him to play RT, so he’s likely only an interior guy at the next level.
Needs to add strength according to NFL.com and struggles to get movement at the point of attack. Will need to bulk up to be a force on the interior.
His struggles actually sound very similar to Garrett Bolles’ weaknesses coming out of college.
In March at the NFL Coaches Breakfast, Head Coach Vance Joseph spoke very highly of Dielman.
“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.”
I could easily see Dielman making the roster this year. Denver has a serious hole at right guard, and whether Dielman is able to challenge for that role or not, he can provide some good interior depth and versatility.
Often teams only dress seven linemen on game days so having reserves that can swing to multiple positions is key, and Dielman could potentially play three of them in a pinch.
He continues the trend of high character guys who were leaders on their teams in college that Denver has been looking for lately.
I wouldn’t count him out in 2018.