There were many puzzled fans when the Denver Broncos selected defensive lineman McTelvin Agim in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft. This was a team set to be pretty deep on the defensive line and the Broncos needed help elsewhere.
When the season came, those misgivings were exacerbated among the fanbase as Agim played only 141 total snaps and played poorly overall. In those limited opportunities, he did show some flashes of great play but it wasn't seen often.
The selection was written off by some as yet another wasted third-round selection under then-GM John Elway. However, that perception seems to be shifting.
As the Broncos kick off training camp, Agim is standing out. With a year under his belt, the improvements are showing in all aspects of defense.
“The next four weeks will tell [along with] the season if he’s one of the 53," head coach Vic Fangio said of Agim on Saturday. "He’s a lot better than he was last year. I feel a lot better about him.”
Agim had a stand-out performance on Day 4 of training camp, tipping multiple passes, one of which was intercepted by Kareem Jackson and the other picked off by himself. It's common for defensive linemen to take about 2.5-to-3 years before they really emerge in the NFL.
Agim is getting off the snap quicker with better technique as a pass rusher and as a run defender, but he's been even better at getting his hands up. It seems he went to the Shelby Harris school of batting down passes.
"He's a lot better player right now than he was on this date a year ago, which he should be," Fangio said after Friday's practice. "But he's worked extremely hard in the offseason. He had the benefit of the OTAs and the minicamp, and all the meetings. He had the benefit of learning what he doesn't know last year when he did get to play. So, he's going through the natural progression, but he did a great job this offseason to speed that up."
On the fourth day of camp, Agim was the bane of Teddy Bridgewater. Seeing Agim start to emerge is a great thing for this Broncos defense.
However, it's been four days of unpadded practice which is very favorable for the defensive line. When pads come on and preseason games commence, Agim will have to carry these practice performances over.
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