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Broncos Player Profile: Michael Niese #67 | Interior Offensive Line

Next up, is a Broncos undrafted free agent Michael Niese

There are questions about the Denver Broncos offensive line for this year, but even more questions when you look beyond the 2022 season. They need multiple players to step up on their interior offensive line, plus they have expiring contracts to figure out. 

That is where a player like Michael Niese can come in as an undrafted free agent and find a place for himself on the roster or practice squad. Let's dive into his history to see how much of a chance he has as a rookie. 

Biography

Niese has a mechanical engineering degree and spent part of 2021 interning with Boeing. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and initially went to college at Dayton. 

College Career

The college career for Niese started at Dayton, where he redshirted as a freshman but was an academic All-American. In 2017, he started five games but saw action in ten. Finally, he was a full-time starter in 2018, starting all 11 games, and played in every game in 2019. That 2019 season was great for Niese as he was starting at right guard, allowing five total pressures and one sack. 

After the 2019 season, Niese transferred to Temple, where he started games at right tackle and left guard. He did quite well in pass protection, allowing six total pressures and two sacks. 

For his final season in 2021, he was the starter at right tackle for eight games, missing some time with injuries. He allowed nine pressures and one sack, and ProFootballFocus gave him an 83.4 run-blocking grade. 

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Draft

All Niese had going for him in the draft cycle was his Pro Day, where he tested out quite well. He landed a relative athletic score of 9.21 but still went undrafted before being signed by the Broncos. 

2022 Outlook

It seems unlikely for Niese to make the Broncos' 53-man roster for the 2022 season. While trying to figure out a few starters, they seem to have two or three options for those spots. For Niese to put his name into the competition, he must have an outstanding training camp and preseason. 

The better chance for Niese is to make the practice squad. That will give him a year to develop while working with the NFL coaching staff and figuring out where the best spot is to place him on the offensive line. Most of his college experience came at tackle, but his build seems better suited for guard, which is likely where he will land. 

If he can make the practice squad for the 2022 season, he could have a chance for the 2023 season. Dalton Risner, the incumbent left guard, is a free agent, as are Billy Turner and Tom Compton, who are part of the tackle competition and can play guard. Then there is Graham Glasgow, who restructured his contract for this season and is still under contract for 2023, but the Broncos could decide to move on. 

With at least one starting job opening up and multiple depth pieces potentially on the way out, Niese could be in play to make the roster in 2023. However, to get that far, he has to show enough to make the practice squad this year, take hold of the opportunity, and grow as a player. 


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