Matt Paradis would have been a great story simply by making an NFL roster. What’s made it all the more impressive is how he’s thrived.
The former walk-on from Council High anchors the offensive line as the Denver Broncos’ workhorse at center. Paradis hasn’t missed making a single offensive snap over the past two seasons and was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the No. 1 center in the league.
Paradis had hip surgery in the offseason but was cleared just before training camp. He has yet to play, but is reportedly set to start Saturday against the Packers.
“Matt’s the glue up there, up front for us,” quarterback Trevor Siemian said. “So, I can’t wait to get him back and everybody in the locker room is just as excited as I am because he keeps everything running smooth up there.”
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Since being selected in the sixth round in the 2014 draft, Paradis has proven to be one of the league’s best bargains. His base salary last season was $525,000, but he earned a league-high $306,002.71 in incentive pay. He is slated to be a restricted free agent after this season.
Missing practices at times last season and in the offseason, Paradis said he is eager to get back into the groove.
“I’m just not sure when was the last time I played pain-free, at least in my hips,” Paradis said. “But I’m very excited to be feeling this good and being able to practice. Not only is it big for me to be able to play but as an O-line it’s the unit just practicing together.
“So, I think it’ll be good for the group to have me in there, as well. That way, they get used to me rather than just having me join them on Sundays and going, ‘Sorry guys, here I am.’ ”
Next preseason game: vs. Packers, 7 p.m. Saturday
BILLY WINN, DT, BRONCOS
Winn joined the Broncos last season, making 19 tackles and starting twice. He signed a one-year deal in the offseason and was listed as a backup defensive tackle, plus had even worked as an emergency long snapper. But he tore an ACL against the Bears on Aug. 10 in the preseason opener and is out for the season.
“Anytime you lose a guy like Winn, who has played really, really well for us, that’s a concern, absolutely,” coach Vance Joseph said. “But we have guys behind him who have to step up. But you lose guys, that’s a concern.”
This is the eighth and final in our series looking at former Boise State players in NFL training camps. Previously:
NFC East: Kellen Moore, Orlando Scandrick, Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Donte Deayon, Darian Thompson
NFC North: Charles Leno, Sam McCaskill
NFC South: Doug Martin, Jeremy McNichols, Jonathan Moxey, Travis Averill
NFC West: Rees Odhiambo, Chanceller James
AFC East: Jay Ajayi, Shea McClellin, Tanner Vallejo
AFC North: Jamar Taylor, Kamalei Correa, George Iloka
AFC South: Jeron Johnson, Lee Hightower