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How DL McTelvin Agim fits in Denver's defense

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Early in March, the Broncos' defensive line looked like one of the team's position groups that would be in most dire need of an overhaul.

Starting defensive ends Derek Wolfe and Shelby Harris were set to become unrestricted free agents, and nose tackle Mike Purcell was slated to be a restricted free agent.

At that time, it seemed the Broncos' line would look drastically different entering 2020. It wasn't a surprise that the Broncos placed a second-round tender on Mike Purcell to keep him in Denver, but Harris and Wolfe seemed like near certain bets to move on to new teams.

It didn't quite work out that way.

The Broncos added one starter by trading a seventh-round pick to the Titans for five-time Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey, and then Harris re-signed with Denver on a one-year deal.

Instead of entering the NFL Draft with a pressing need at the position, the Broncos returned a pair of starters, a dominant force in Casey and also had Dre'Mont Jones waiting for more playing time.

So while the Broncos' first four selections of the 2020 NFL Draft — Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, Michael Ojemudia and Lloyd Cushenberry III — may have to contribute early on for the Broncos to find success, the 95th-overall pick should have a bit more time to develop.

McTelvin Agim, a third-round defensive lineman from Arkansas, seems unlikely to be pressed into a starting role early in his career. Instead, the Broncos will focus on developing the former defensive end who shifted to defensive tackle for his final season with the Razorbacks.

"He'll just start off by being one of the guys there, and we'll see how he develops and where exactly he could fit in," Head Coach Vic Fangio said during the draft. "He's a guy that needs developing. He's not a complete player at this point obviously, but we do like some of the tools that he has and some of the potential that he has. Hopefully we can develop him into being a guy that can compete to make our team, and if he does, that he can contribute."

Agim's greatest attribute, at least in college, was his pass-rushing ability. He recorded 14.5 sacks during his four-year career as an Arkansas starter, but 9.5 of those quarterback takedowns came in his final two seasons. He posted 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in his last season in Fayetteville.

Agim also forced six fumbles during his career and added 140 tackles and 31 tackles for loss.

"I feel like just getting off the ball and working my hands, being able to make moves and adjust in pass-rush, being able to hold the block, I feel like I did that pretty well," Agim said. "The thing I feel like I have to improve on the most is just being more consistent because I've been able to do everything, but I need to make sure I can do it all on a consistent basis."

If he can find a way to be more consistent, the former SEC All-freshman player could find a way to make an impact. At 6-foot-3, 309 pounds, he has the frame to succeed — and as a former team captain, he seems to have the right mentality, as well.

He'll need to cut down on penalties, as he had multiple offsides called against him last season, but in a rotational role, it's possible Agim can make a decent Year 1 impact.

Perhaps Jones could serve as a decent barometer, if Agim gets reps at defensive end. Jones recorded 3.5 sacks and six quarterback hits as a rookie. Should Agim post those totals for the Broncos, his rookie season would likely be a success.

Of course, Agim could also serve as a backup at the defensive tackle position. The Broncos' decision will likely hinge on how much Casey plays at nose tackle. If he plays extensive reps in the middle of the defense, Agim may find more time at defensive end. If Casey plays exclusively defensive end, though, Agim could see reps at tackle behind Purcell.

Should he show the positional versatility to play both inside and outside on the Broncos' line, Agim could solidify his ability to be active on game day.

That should give Agim the chance to continue his improvement and show flashes of his pass rush.

For now, with the way the Broncos' defensive line stacks up, that seems like it would be a welcome contribution.

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