I’ve seen a lot of this floated around, so I want to say it upfront:
Eyioma Uwazurike was not drafted to compete with the Mike Purcell at nose tackle. That’s what D.J. Jones is for.
Ideally, Uwazurike replaces Shelby Harris’s role as your starting 5T with the ability to kick inside to be a 1T/shaded nose, but he’s not your full-time nose in the sense of what Purcell is. He’s also not an EDGE, despite being labeled as a DE and everybody quoting his sack total from last year.
Typically an end in a Fangio-esque scheme, which we can pretty effectively say is what Denver will be running this season under new DC Ejiro Evero, is required to take on double-teams, stack and shed, and control rushing lanes in the run game, while also providing some pass-rush ability (but doesn’t have to be elite there). Shelby Harris was solid in all aspects, but not a real standout in any area.Shelby Harris’s biggest impact in the passing game was in his ability to mess up passing lanes with his arms and break up passes at the line of scrimmage.
Eyioma Uwazurike's going to boost the Broncos run defense immensely. Freaky frame, lines up everywhere, incredibly disruptive with heavy hands, great play strength, has the power to push the pocket in passing game as well.— AJ Schulte (@AJDraftScout) April 30, 2022
Your Day 1 5T.
Enter Eyioma Uwazurike. Uwazurike can do all that (and more), while also offering more than Harris did in the passing game. Uwazurike has the versatility to line up pretty much all over, but his length and ability as a run defender will be best suited for playing that 5T role, and he can shine there. Better still, Uwazurike boasts a 95th percentile arm length and wingspan, perfect for swatting down passes at the line of scrimmage. He even has a couple of blocked field goals on his resume at Iowa State as well. As a pass-rusher, he isn’t the most twitched-up athlete out there, but he’s plenty explosive and his frame can challenge even the most seasoned guards. As he grows his pass-rush plan, there’s little reason to doubt he can’t be one of the better 5Ts in the NFL.
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