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Broncos Roster Review: Marquiss Spencer

The former Mississippi State defensive end is ready to learn from the stud DEs ahead of him on the Broncos’ roster.

One of the perks of being the Denver Broncos final pick in the 2021 NFL Draft was having Steve Atwater make the announcement.

Whether former Mississippi State defensive end Marquiss Spencer realizes how special that is remains to be seen, but the mojo from a Hall-of-Fame safety can’t hurt when you’re the 253rd pick.

“My emotions have gone up and down and left and right, but I kept my faith and trusted the process,” Spencer said of finally getting picked late in the Draft.

Marquiss Spencer’s profile

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 295 pounds
Age: 23
Experience: Rookie
College: Mississippi State

The good

Spencer was a two-year starter for the Bulldogs, registering 106 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, three forced fumbles and four passes defensed over 51 career games. In his final two seasons, he recorded 14.5 tackles for loss and five sacks over the 22 starts.

Andrew Robert of SBNation’s Mississippi State blog noted after the seventh-round selection that Spencer “could not have landed in a better situation.”

“Spencer will begin his career in the Mile High City, playing for a team whose defense is reaching new heights. He will he be playing under one of the game’s best defensive minds in head coach Vic Fangio with ample opportunities to learn the modern game.

“While being coached by Vic Fangio, Spencer will be learning from a more than formidable duo in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. As Spencer is a quick learner and student of the game, look for him to see the field sooner than later.”

Spencer has experience playing as both a 3-technique and 4-technique lineman - versatility that will be useful in Fangio’s defense where he is expected to play as a 3-4 defensive end. The nearly 300-pound end says he is “comfortable in any scheme” Fangio wants him.

The not-as-good

Obviously a seventh-round pick isn’t expected to be a starter, and with the guys in front of him on the roster, Spencer will be lucky to see the field in the next few years. He will likely be competing with 2020 third-round pick McTelvin Agim, as well as Isaiah Mack and Shamar Stephen, two free-agent pickups this offseason.

Having recently recovered from a neck injury in college, Spencer said in early May that he’s “100%” and “ready to rock and roll.”

According to his Draft profile via Lance Zierlein, Spencer’s strengths include his explosive first step, natural strength, impressive bend at the top of the rush, overall athleticism and “flashy spin counter that causes trouble.”

But among his weaknesses are his weight - a tendency to get too heavy - which can lead to him not being as physical as needed, occasional delays in snap reaction and doesn’t get into his spin counters often enough.

Final thoughts

Spencer sounds to me a little like a poor man’s Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton (even though he was a defensive tackle) - given his penchant to get too heavy but when not overweight, able to produce some crazy-good moves to get at the QB.

And like the Mississippi State blogger noted, Spencer will have a great opportunity under the defensive genius of Vic Fangio and rushing prowess of Miller and Chubb.


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