Mobile, Ala. — During a run play on Wednesday afternoon, UTEP’s Will Hernandez got inside position on the defender in front of him. He pushed him about three yards off of the line of scrimmage before the defender broke free and was able to put a hand on a cutting Kalen Ballage as he streaked down the hash marks. In a real game, the defender may have grabbed him and made the tackle, and if he didn’t, he would have at least slowed him down.

A Broncos coach, who I could not make out, emerged from a group of blue and orange sweaters while yelling in the direction of Hernandez. The yell was not of the disciplinary nature but more of an expert critique.

As the coach positioned his arms and bent his knees, Hernandez paid close attention. Soon afterward, the coach gave Hernandez a slight tap on the bottom to say, “Great block, let’s just get in better position next time.”

This is the type of attention Hernandez has been privileged to all week from the Broncos. In fact, the Senior Bowl staff actually switched Hernandez from the South team to the North so he could play under his head coach from UTEP, Sean Kugler, who was just hired to coach the Broncos offensive line.

Hernandez opened up about Kugler to BSN Denver on Tuesday.

“You can for sure expect the whole offensive line to know exactly what they’re doing and to be well prepared for the game,” the guard said. “You can expect everybody’s game to improve with a coach like Sean Kugler. He’s a great coach, he’s well respected and there’s a reason why the Broncos hired him right away. You can definitely expect the o-line to do great things.”

If Hernandez’s play is any indication, Sean Kugler is a hell of a coach. The massive guard who weighed in at 340 pounds on Tuesday morning has been unpenetrable throughout practice sessions this week. He wouldn’t say if the Broncos have spoken to him directly but it doesn’t take an NFL insider to know the answer to that.

Hernandez would have no problem playing in Denver.

“If the Denver Broncos believe in me, man, I’m in 100 percent… If they took me, it would be a dream come true.”

As for coach Kugler, Hernandez gives a colorful description.

“He’s definitely a hard ass but the best way to describe him is firm but fair,” he proclaimed. “He’ll always be hard on you. He’ll make sure you know what you’re doing but in the end, it’s only because he cares. He actually loves all of his players and he does it for the good.”

Hernandez was Pro Football Focus’ highest graded college guard, with an overall grade of 94.3. He also graded as “elite” in pass blocking (91.3) and run blocking (91.4). But the most insane stat comes from the 2016 season, where he played 380 pass-blocking snaps and allowed just one pressure the entire year according to PFF.

Most experts currently believe that he will be available in the second round, but Hernandez still has the scouting combine and his pro day to increase his stock. If the Broncos want this giant, they may have to trade up from their current position at #40 in the second round.

To hear our interview with Hernandez from Mobile, Alabama, listen to the BSN Broncos podcast from January 23rd. 

Author

Brandon M. Spano, was born in Berlin, Germany raised in Denver, and is currently the CEO and Co-founder of BSNDenver.com.   Career: I published many pieces of content from 2005-2009 for publications such as Bleacher Report, FOX Sports, and Yardbarker. I began my radio career in 2009 and would spend the next 6 years hosting my own show and being featured on others both locally and nationally. At the height of my career, I was hosting the only live and local sports talk show in the market every weekday between 9am-Noon on FM 94.1 while hosting a weekend show on 104.3 The Fan as well.   I would consider my time doing national television on NBC a career highlight, as I was featured many times during “The Tebow year” but my biggest achievement came from the business side, behind the scenes.   When I launched BSN Denver, I had owned media or commercial inventory assets on eight different media platforms in the market including 104.3 The Fan, DenverPost.com, and FOX 31.   Most memorable sports moment: Attended the greatest Monday Night Football game of all time; Elway vs. Montana at Mile High Stadium.   The finest sports book I’ve ever read: I would read Bo Jackson’s auto-biography “Bo Know’s Bo” on my way home from school. Bo Jackson was like a modern day Greek God when I was growing up so hearing about his past was akin to hearing the true-life story of Hercules.   One sports movie that I can’t live without: I love Rudy, Major League, Remember The Titans, We are Marshall, and even Brian’s Song. But I cannot live without the Rocky series. It is ingrained in me.   Most memorable experience as a reporter: Every time I ever talked to Brian Dawkins it was memorable, but his retirement presser was a moment that I’ll never forget. There was about 12 of us sitting in a big circle of chairs, including him, and we just calmly and openly talked about his illustrious career in great detail.   The sport that started it all: I started playing football at age 6 and played until 18. That was my love and my obsession. I’ll never forget the 8th grade championship I won with the Green Mountain Rams. That was a tough year in my life but a great coach and a great team made it all okay.

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