Broncos bolster defense to start Day 3, pick CB Damarri Mathis, DT Eyioma Uwazurike

Damarri Mathis interception. Credit: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports.
Damarri Mathis interception. Credit: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports.

After a packed Day 2 of the NFL Draft, general manager George Paton and the Denver Broncos are off and running on Day 3.

In the fourth round, Denver selected cornerback Damarri Mathis and defensive end Eyioma Uwazurike back to back at picks Nos. 115 and 116 respectively. Both look to impact the team immediately, minimally as depth pieces, but possibly working their ways into the rotation at their respective positions.

Mathis is a 5’11” and 196-pound cornerback who played his college ball at Pittsburgh and was a redshirt senior in 2021. He enjoyed a solid junior season back in 2019, recording 23 tackles with two interceptions and 11 pass breakups, but then was injured and missed 2020.

That injury was a torn labrum which was sustained while participating in a boxing workout. He bounced back in 2021, being named All-ACC with 44 tackles, two interceptions, one returned for a score and six pass breakups. He’s a physical cornerback who is compact and strong. He likes to make tackles, but also uses that physicality when battling receivers down the sideline. However, Mathis does lack some length and can get into penalty trouble down the field, too. He was given a 3rd round grade, so the Broncos may have found a bit of a steal with him in the early 4th.

He’s a speed demon, running a 4.39 40-yard dash, and he’s definitely a George Paton kind of guy, with a 9.72 (out of 10) Relative Athletic Score:

Uwazurike is a 6’6″ 316-pound defensive tackle who played his college ball at Iowa State. As a senior, he was named All-Big 12 starting 10 games with 42 tackles, 12 for loss and nine sacks.

One thing that stands out for Uwazurike is his length and overall size. Because of that, he can and has played at every position along the defensive front. That versatility will likely earn him playing time more quickly in the Mile High City. Uwazurike is an athletic pass rusher who knows how to disrupt by rushing in the gaps, disrupting both run and pass plays.

On the down side, Uwazurike’s height can get him into trouble at times. He has a high center of gravity and allows his pad level to get too high on some rushes. That makes the offensive lineman’s job easier in blocking him.

So far in this draft, Uwazurike’s RAS is the lowest among all the prospects at a 6.58:

On Day 2, the Broncos selected Nik Bonitto — an athletic edge rusher — in the second and Greg Dulcich — a solid tight end — in the third. Denver has six more picks today.

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