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Broncos roster review: edge Aaron Patrick

Will Aaron Patrick have a role in the 2022 Bronco defense?

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Patrick played college ball at Eastern Kentucky, which is an FBS school. He finished his college career in 2019 and went undrafted out of college. He was so far off the radar that he wasn’t even signed by an NFL team as an undrafted free agent after the 2020 draft. The Denver Bronco website says that he was signed by the Jaguars in 2020 as an undrafted free agent, but the Jaguars show no record of this. He must have been signed later than the normal window for signing UDCFA’s. In other words, he was undrafted even among the undrafted. That’s gotta hurt.

#94 Aaron Patrick

Height: 6’4
Weight: 245 lbs
Position: edge defender
College: Eastern Kentucky
Experience: 2 years

Aaron got signed to a practice squad contract by the Jaguars in 2020. He again made the Jags PS in 2021, but then was cut from their PS. The Broncos picked him up from the “scrap heap” and he found a place on the roster in 2021 mostly as a special teams player.

How he fits with the Broncos in 2022

Aaron is light for a defensive end, but he is decently sized for an OLB. Aaron played 52 defensive snaps in 2021. Those were his first ever in the NFL. The majority of those came in his one start - the second game against the Chargers in which he played 29 defensive snaps. He played nine defensive snaps against the Cowboys and six against the Lions.

Aaron was credited with 8 combined tackles, but I think the majority of those came on special teams where he played 208 snaps.

PFF gave Aaron an overall grade of 47.0 (poor) for his play in 2021. SIS says that he was good at rushing the passer. He had 30 pass pass snaps and was credited with four pressures and one QBhit. That gave him a pressure rate of 13.8 percent which was the best among the edge defender group on the 2021 Broncos (with the exception of Jonas Griffith) admittedly in a very small sample size.

  • Malik Reed - 7.7%
  • Von Miller - 13.1%
  • Jonathan Cooper - 7.4%
  • Bradley Chubb - 9.4%
  • Jonas Griffith - 23.1% (3 pressures on 13 pass rushes)
  • Stephen Weatherly - 10.7%

So if he is good at rushing the passer, that must mean he was terrible at run defense to get a 47.0 from PFF. Again the sample size is tiny. If he had 52 snaps and 30 were pass rushes, that means that he was only on the field for 22 run defense snaps. Since he was not “credited“ with any missed tackles, I must assume the he was getting blown off the ball or running himself out of the play on those 22 run snaps.

With a few new faces vying for edge playing time in 2022, I don’t know how much PT there is going to be for Aaron. He is currently shown as the 4th string WOLB - behind Randy Gregory, Malik Reed and Baron Browning. He is shown as ahead of Christopher Allen only because he has some NFL experience and Allen has none. I could very easily see Allen making the team in favor of Aaron Patrick.

Right now, the Broncos have nine guys competing for five slots at edge defender and Chubb, Gregory, Browning and Nik Bonitto are locks IMO. That leaves five guys fighting for one spot - Reed, Patrick, Cooper, Allen and Jonathan Kongbo.