What Denver Broncos are getting in Vanderbilt edge rusher Andre Mintze as undrafted free agent
Vanderbilt linebacker Andre Mintze, who the Commodores announced had signed as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos, is known as much by his off-field achievements as his on-field impact.
But both are notable.
Mintze, a two-time team captain, was a candidate for almost every college football award that recognizes humanitarian efforts and academic success — including the Wuerffel Trophy, Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year, SEC community service team and Senior CLASS award.
Mintze spearheaded Dancing Dores, a dance marathon that raises money for Vanderbilt’s Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. He also earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in cinema/media arts and medicine, health and society and a master’s degree in the latter field.
In his four-year career, he played in 43 games (18 starts) and made 75 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 8½ sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and five quarterback pressures.
Mintze was among the fastest outside linebackers available. He was clocked at 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Vanderbilt’s pro day, and he reportedly has run around that time in other workouts.
Pass-rushing is his strength, so he projects as an edge rusher in a 3-4 scheme. As a starter, he had 7½ sacks in his final two seasons combined. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but context is needed.
During his senior year, Vanderbilt had only two good options for pass rushing — Mintze and defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo, who was drafted by the Colts in the second round. Mintze was the lesser of those two, but he still had to contend with attention from opposing SEC offenses on an otherwise weak defense.
Mintze’s 6-foot-2, 252-pound frame isn’t overwhelming. He needs to get stronger to shed blockers at the NFL level. And there’s a reasonable question of whether he already has reached his ceiling.
Mintze is not as good in defending the run as the pass, which is partly why he finished with only 21 tackles in nine games as a senior. To solidify a role in a defensive rotation, he’ll need to improve in that area.
Mintze has good fundamentals and understands his skillset well. He’s also a high achiever. So if there's room for improvement, he'll reach it. Mintze’s limitations may keep him from being an every-down outside linebacker. But his speed, frame, work ethic and other intangibles make him a good fit as a special teams player early in his career.
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