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BRONCOS 2002 ROOKIE FREE AGENTS

The Broncos announced agreements on April 22 with eight free agents not picked up in the weekend draft. The Broncos signed Hofstra WR Charlie Adams, Tennessee FB Will Bartholomew, LSU LB Trev Faulk, Fresno State RB Paris Gaines, North Dakota State TE Jared Peck, Brigham Young C Jason Scukanec, Colorado LB Jashon Sykes, and Boston College CB Lenny Walls.
 

Jashon Sykes #57
LB | (6-2, 236, 4.74) | COLORADO
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: First name is pronounced "Jay-shon". Former high-school football All-American who was a top prep sprinter (10.8 100-meters) and basketball player. Started four of the last five games of the 1998 season as a true freshman and had 52 tackles, including seven for loss and 2 1/2 sacks. Also picked off a pass. Associated Press All-Big 12 linebacker and team MVP in '99, when he had a team-best 134 tackles, including 15 for loss and three sacks. Had a disappointing junior year after having shoulder surgery in the spring. Finished with 111 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, two other tackles for loss and the second interception of his career. Suffered a season-ending and career-threatening neck injury in 2001. Had delicate fusion surgery in mid-October, 2001. Unless surgery is a complete success, he would not be able to continue career since a large fragment of disc material dislodged from between C-3 and C-4 vertabrae and was resting precariously near spinal cord. Injury occurred earlier in the year, but was not diagnosed until it got worse and an MRI was taken on Oct. 4, 2001. Had 33 tackles, including five for loss and 3 1/2 sacks in four games in 2001.

Negatives: Has a very serious neck condition. Poor take-on and shed. Run-around-the-block-type backer. Plays too upright. Average instincts. Must see the play unfold most of the time before he gets going. Got a big head and seemed to lose his focus and intensity at times in '00, when he was thinking of going pro early.

Summary: Was a question mark before he got hurt and now is a much bigger one, but does have speed and talent. His surgery was a complete success, and he is fully recovered.

 

Will Bartholomew #40
FB | (5-11, 243, 4.7) | TENNESSEE
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: All-state linebacker, state wrestling champ in his weight division and second-place finisher in the shot put. Is married to the former Miss Tennessee and has won Academic All-Southeastern Conference honors the past four years. Redshirted in 1997 and was used as a blocking fullback the past four years. Had seven carries for 34 yards in '98; 4-2 and his first catch in '99; 2-2 and 14 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in 2000, when he started 10-of-12 games; and 7-17 and 10-85 in '01, when he started at fullback.

Positives: Very hard worker in the weight room. Has bench-pressed over 500 pounds. Was a wrestling champ in high school. Smart, tough and willing. Gives good effort when he blocks and can be an effective lead blocker if he does not have to adjust. Catches the ball well. Good special-teams player.

Negatives: Lacks run skills. Straight-line runner and blocker who is not very agile and does not adjust well to movement. Does not play to weight-room strength or numbers.

Summary: Complementary-type fullback who must learn to adjust better to movement when blocking and really stand out on special teams to make it.

 

Treverance Faulk # 54
MLB | (6-2, 241, 4.88) | LOUISIANA STATE
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Cousin of the Patriots' Kevin Faulk. Third-year junior who opted to come out early. Played in every game and started the last eight as a true freshman in 1999 and was named to the All-Southeastern Conference freshman team. Continued to start the past two years. Played middle linebacker. Had 68 tackles, four tackles for loss and three passes broken up in '99. Won second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors from the league's coaches and had a team-best 113 tackles in 2000. Also had nine tackles for loss, two sacks and two passes broken up. Had a career-high 119 tackles in '01, five tackles for loss and two sacks. Broke up two passes, but for the third year in a row, did not have an interception. Nevertheless, won All-SEC honors and was an Associated Press second-team All American.

Positives: Has started since early in his freshman year. Shows flashes of ability.

Negatives: Is not that big, fast, instinctive or powerful. Can't step up and take on blocks that effectively and will get wired to the blocker. May not have really good long speed. Has not been much of a factor in pass coverage.

 

Paris Gaines
FB | (5-11, 230, 4.7) | FRESNO STATE
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Partial qualifier in 1997. Played in 11 games in '98 and carried 56 times for 257 yards and two touchdowns, while catching six passes for 58 yards and no scores. Carried 151-693-3 and caught 37-312-4 in '99, while starting 11 of 13 games. However, Gaines hurt his leg in the Las Vegas Bowl and had to have surgery. He was out in the spring of 2000 rehabing his knee. Came back to play in every game in the fall of 2000 but never was 100 percent. Finished the year with 95-375-1 and caught 23-268-1. Showed he was all the way back in '01, when he started from the third game on, carried 210-1,018-7 and caught 20-236-3.

Negatives: Lacks top run skills as a running back and may not be big, physical and tough enough to be a fullback on the next level. Does not always slam it up in there the way scouts would like. Runs too upright and lets his base get too narrow. Has a very bad tendency of ducking his head when blocking.

Summary: If he learns to keep his pads down and to finish all his runs, he will have a chance.

 

Jason Scukanec # 61
C | (6-2, 300, 5.34) | BRIGHAM YOUNG
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Fifth-year senior who redshirted in 1997 and was a backup in '98 and '99. Started every game in 2000. Started every game in '01 and won All-Mountain West Conference honors, although he was playing with a bad knee.

Positives: Excellent work ethic and intangibles. Can and will play hurt. Line leader. Efficient pass blocker. Has a good understanding and feel for blocking angles and positioning. Alert and picks up stunts and blitzes well. Shows some lateral slide and very good anticipation. Looks much more athletic pass blocking than when blocking on the second level.

Negatives: Lacks great size in-line and will need help against the King Kong-sized tackles on the next level like Bears DT Ted Washington. Is not athletic on the second level. Does not make the long snap. Twisted his knee and reaggravated his medial collateral ligament in the last game but has since recovered.

Summary: A better player than athlete with marginal size but great intangibles. Would really help himself if he could become an accomplished snapper.

 

Lenny Walls # 35
DB | (6-4, 192, 4.68) | BOSTON COLLEGE
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Super high school basketball player and a fine sprinter and football player. Twin brother (Kenny) plays basketball at Boston College. Lenny began his college career at St. Mary's College in California, where he redshirted in 1997 and started the first five games in '98 before suffering a groin injury. In five games, he had 37 tackles and three interceptions and returned two of his picks for scores. He played at San Francisco Community College in 1999 before coming to Boston College in 2000. Started from Game Five on at cornerback in '00 and continued to start in '01. Had 42 stops, broke up 11 passes and had seven interceptions in '00.

Positives: At 6-4 with long arms, he is very hard to throw over. Has a giant wingspan for a corner. Good all-around athlete for size. Shows some cover ability and ball skills. Can get a lot better with improved technique and attention to detail.

Negatives: Gets too upright when backpedaling. On the tall and leggy side and will struggle when he must turn to run with the receiver or change directions quickly. Does not have a good feel for when to come out of his backpedal. Is not that quick, sudden or technically sound. Gets turned around a lot in coverage. Seems to like to play in zone and does not line up in bump-and-run. Striding-type runner who may have trouble with smaller, quicker receivers on the corner. Has nice size but is not very physical against the run. Misses an awful lot of tackles. Slow to react against the run and does not break down when he tackles. Will have to learn to come up faster, hit harder and tackle much better if he is to play inside at safety. Seems to have a very high opinion of himself and may not realize how much he must learn and improve.

Summary: A better athlete than player who needs to develop more of a football mentality and stop bringing rose-colored glasses into the film room.