Measurables: 6-foot-4, 299 pounds
2014 stats: N/A *rookie
It’s not easy to hold down a starting job on the offensive line for almost four full seasons in the NCAA’s South Eastern Conference, unless one possesses that combination of talent, toughness and a stalwart competitive spirit. Dillon Day encompasses all of those things.
He might not be the most gifted athlete at the center position, but he makes up for it with true grit and football savvy. In four seasons with the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Day started 46 games. He got himself into hot water on the field, by stomping two LSU defensive players, on two distinctive plays, which resulted in the SEC suspending him for a game vs. Texas A&M last season.
The season before, Day was suspended for the start of a game, for a similar infraction vs. an Auburn player. The kid is nasty and nasty is what the Denver Broncos are looking for on their young offensive line.
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I witnessed that swagger at the Senior Bowl practices this past January, as Day fought to make an impression on NFL GM's and scouts. He didn’t hear his name called on draft day, but the Broncos signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent to compete in the offseason and training camp.
According to most scouts and draftniks, Day’s strengths as a player are the aforementioned toughness and football IQ, along with good vision and the will to hold up at the point of attack. Basically, when given the assignment to block somebody, Dillon Day will find a way to get it done, even if it isn’t pretty or smooth.
His faults as a young player are in the technique department, but those are areas NFL coaching can hone and smooth out. Day steps into a situation with the Broncos that actually suits him. He’s smallish for a pro center, but in the zone blocking scheme, which the Broncos now employ, that can be an asset.
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Day will compete with last season’s sixth round pick Matt Paradis—who spent his rookie season on the practice squad—along with rookie fourth round pick Max Garcia and current starter Gino Gradkowski, for a spot on the roster. John Elway and the Broncos really want Paradis to succeed and earn the job as the backup center this year.
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Garcia brings versatility—he can play guard or center. He might have a future as the Broncos starting center, or he could be used at another interior position. Day faces the long odds that all UDFA’s do but the upside is that he was signed by a team who values nastiness and that competitive fight.
Day probably won’t make the final roster as a rookie, but if he impresses the coaches, there might be a spot for him on the practice squad, which keeps him in Denver and on-deck should the team suffer a rash of injuries in the regular season.
In the video below, Jamie Newberg and Amy Campbell discuss Dillon Day's performance at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. this past January.