For a team like the Green Bay Packers that have been non-committal to aging free agent defensive linemen Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly, it makes sense that they'd be looking into Syracuse defensive lineman Jay Bromley, like they did at the East-West Shrine Game earlier this year.
When the NFL Draft takes place in less than two weeks, Bromley figures to be a mid to late round draft choice and considers versatility among his biggest assets.
"I believe I have a lot of it," said Bromley at the East-West Shrine Game. "I played defensive end. I played defensive tackle. I played nose tackle, and I believe I can hold my own anywhere on the field. So I believe that brings a lot to a football team, end up being scheme-diverse, playing in a 3-4 and a 4-3, understanding what to do and having the weight and the size and the length to handle the bigger tackles and guards and things like that at the next level."
Growing up in a concrete jungle like New York City, Bromley found it difficult to be discovered by top-tier college football programs until he took part in the Empire Challenge, a high school all-star game featuring best players from NYC against those from Long Island.
According to Bromley he "just made the cut," but all he needed was the chance. He was named the game's MVP, and the next day he was offered a scholarship by Syracuse.
Even upon reaching college, it took years of strength and conditioning before Bromley developed into an effective and productive interior defensive lineman.
"They constantly kept trying to make me put on weight, put on weight, put on weight, so I had to run it off and try to burn the fat and get bigger, solid, faster," said Bromley. "I probably really got comfortable inside my junior year."
Bromley did well his first three years in college but really blossomed as a senior with career highs in tackles (41), tackles for a loss (13.5), sacks (nine) and forced fumbles (three), all remarkable for playing primarily a three-technique position.
With success came invitations to both the NFL Combine and the Shrine Game, where Bromley took advantage of the opportunity to impress in front of scouts in an all-star game environment.
"It's more about the practices, and I think I really killed the practices," said Bromley.
As long as Pickett and Jolly remain unsigned, the Packers will look to add depth to the defensive line. Holdovers like B.J. Raji, Mike Daniels and Datone Jones are good players to build around, but the Packers need depth among their five-technique defensive ends.
One advantage with Bromley is at 6' 3" and 306 lbs., he can play end in a base 3-4 scheme and swing inside as an interior rusher on passing downs.
"I can play anywhere in a 3-4," said Bromley. "I can play nose; I can play end. I feel like my skill set is good for any team, any scheme because I have the speed and I have the power up front, be physical to make things happen."
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Syracuse defensive lineman Jay Bromley by Brian Carriveau.
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