Inside linebacker Justin Strnad hasn’t had much playing time since his college days, mainly due to a season-ending wrist injury and subsequent surgery his rookie year.
Strnad did see some action last season, playing in 16 games, starting five of them after Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell were injured. He completed 23 solo tackles and 13 assists, plus one quarterback hit.
Ultimately Strnad would be benched in favor of rookie linebacker Baron Browning and new-to-the-orange-and-blue Kenny Young. Not everybody comes in burning up the field.
Justin Strnad attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, where he completed 244 tackles (147 solo), 22.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions (+44 yards returned), eight sacks, 10 passes defended, and a fumble recovery.
In his junior and senior years at Wake Forest, Strnad received Honorable Mention all-ACC recognition. He was also invited to appear in the Senior Bowl in 2020 but had to decline due to injury (torn biceps tendon).
This was all leading up to being a fifth-round pick in the 2020 Draft, where he was selected 178th overall by the Denver Broncos.
20-yard shuffle: 4.49
Broad jump: 9 ft 5 inches
Strnad is a quick player and can build momentum from 0-100 in no time. He’s also teachable and historically covers well in the blitz.
He also has positive recognition from his teammates. Before Von Miller was traded last season, the veteran and now two-time Super Bowl champion spoke highly of Strnad and what he could bring to the team in light of Jewell’s injury.
“It’s Justin’s turn, and that’s just how the league is — next man up mentality,” Miller said. “We have to play to Justin’s strengths, and I feel pretty comfortable with Justin in there.”
Have a hard time believing that many are going to out work LB Justin Strnad.— Joey Richards (@JRDrafts) July 3, 2020
Made so may high effort/motor plays at Wake Forest pic.twitter.com/k3yvL9PkW3
From what we’ve seen so far, the linebacker contributes at a rookie level. He misses tackle opportunities and struggles against the run game. By the end of the 2021-22 season he was rated a 32.0 by ProFootball Focus.
I’m not trying to be unnecessaril6 negative about Strnad, even though I feel like I’ve given him very few positive nods in this piece. That’s really not fair of me. He was placed in the hot seat just when the schedule got tough last year, and he has a lot of raw talent that just needs to be molded.
In other words, Strnad does not resemble an experienced player because he isn’t. What he needs is a strong mentor on the field, someone he can learn from to enrich his game.
Where do you think Justin Strnad will fit in to the defensive roster this season?
This poll is closed
Solid rotational player
On the bench as depth
Cut from the final roster