By Arnie Stapleton, AP pro football writer
ENGLEWOOD — Nose tackles don’t usually get a lot of love, especially those whose phones didn’t even buzz during the NFL draft.
Yet a little-known big man from the University of Pittsburgh has a burgeoning fan club in the linebackers room at Denver Broncos headquarters.
Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis made it clear Thursday that while they’re excited about the additions of free agents Domata Peko and Zach Kerr, they’re especially energized by the arrival of Tyrique Jarrett.
“Yeah, you saw the smile on my face, like I love it. I like the big boys we brought in,” said Davis, who was the team’s leading tackler in 2016. “We even brought in another D-tackle, a young guy, weighs 350 pounds. I love those big boys in the middle to help us stuff that run.”
Jarrett is officially listed at 335 pounds but Marshall also mentioned the magical 350 when raving about the rookie.
GM John Elway spent this offseason toughening up the trenches, adding free agents Ron Leary and Menelik Watson and first-round draft pick Garett Bolles to his O-line while beefing up his D-line with Peko, Kerr and second-round draft pick DeMarcus Walker.
The bigger bodies on defense should help the Broncos stuff the run better in 2017 — like they used to when Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton was on the team — and free up the inside linebackers to make more plays.
“We’re champing at the bit right now. We’re definitely looking at that and we’re excited,” Marshall said.
“Tyrique. I’m excited,” Marshall said with a smile. “Me and Todd call him Pot Roast Jr. Hopefully he can live up to that, because when T-Knight was in there, when Terrance Knighton was in there, I remember one time we were playing the Bills and he told me, ‘Look man, when you see me in there, just go and make the play.’ And he took up a double team and sat there for like three seconds and I just made the play.
“So, hopefully he can do that.”
Strong at the point of attack and with quick feet for a big guy, Jarrett is at the very least a prospect for the practice squad this season.
The big-bellied linemen aren’t accustomed to getting such praise, especially from established starters on a team not long removed from a championship parade.
“Oh yeah, I definitely love the nose tackles,” Davis said. “They’re as key to us as the O-linemen are to the running back. So, I’ve always dreamed of us going to the Super Bowl, winning the Super Bowl and being able to buy my whole D-line something and our nose tackles something just because they’re so influential and so key to what we do in the running game and in the passing game.”
NOTES: Marshall summed up the Broncos’ quarterback competition between Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch like this: “They’re competing, man. They have a new offense. They’re still learning. Mike McCoy has brought a lot of juice to the offense. I love the offense, personally. Paxton has that arm you dream of. Siemian has the accuracy and the mind that you dream of. So, it’s going to be a good battle.”