After the Denver Broncos used a fifth-round draft pick to select Wake Forest defender Justin Strnad last spring, speculation quickly began circulating that he could emerge as the team’s cover linebacker sooner than later.
Unfortunately, Strand never got a chance to prove himself as a rookie because a wrist injury cut his season short before it even started. Strnad is now healthy again, though, and he has a shot to earn playing time on defense.
“Justin — other than him being in meetings last year, he really is a rookie,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said on June 15. “He got hurt last year in camp very, very early in practice five, six or seven.
“He’s really like a rookie on the field, but he’s doing well. We like the way he moves, and we like his attitude. He’s definitely a very conscientious player. He wants to carve out a role for himself with the defense.”
Regardless of how much playing time in gets on defense, Strnad will have an opportunity to become a key special teams player right away.
“It’ll be critical for him to be a mainstay on our special teams,” Fangio said. “Your backup linebackers have to do that. Overall, we’ve all been pleased with Justin and where he’s at.”
Denver eased Strnad back from his injury and he’s now ready to make an impact in whatever role the team gives him.
“So far, he’s shown no ill side effects of the wrist injury he had. We’re going to try and be cautious with him in that regard. Eventually he’s going to have to use it and he has been. We think the future is bright for him.”