Shortly after the 2013 NFL Draft ended, the Denver Broncos announced the signing of 15 College Free Agents. A few days later, the team signed a 16th player. A Defensive Tackle from BYU named Romney Fuga.
Fuga is a 6’-2”, 318 lb., 24 year old prospect. He is older than many other CFA’s due to a two-year Mission in Madagascar. However, that means he is more mature with less mileage on the tires. NFL Draft Scout had him rated as the 78th out of 175 Defensive Tackle prospects and Fuga wasn’t expected to be taken in the 2013 Draft. He did not get invited to the Scouting Combine, so here are his Pro Day measurables:
40 yard Time – 5.19
20 Yard Split – 2.95
10 Yard Split – 1.82
Bench Press – 26
Vertical Jump – 26”
Broad Jump – 100”
20 Yard Shuttle – 4.75
3-Cone Drill – 7.74
Arm Length – 31-1/8″
Hand Length – 10”
Romney was one of the top defensive tackles and heavyweight wrestlers in the state of California as a high schooler before enrolling at BYU. He earned Academic All-Mountain West Conference honors as a freshman in 2006, playing in all 13 games for the Cougars. He was credited with 9 Tackles and 2 Tackles For a Loss on the season. Fuga was a significant contributor on a Defensive unit that gave up only 14.7 points per game, ranking 10th nationally and ranked 4th in the nation in turnover margin with +14 turnover margin.
From there he took a two-year mission trip to Madagascar, returning for his Sophomore campaign in 2009. Romney earned his second letter and saw action in all 13 games, with 7 starts. Fuga amassed 40 Tackles, 3 TFL’s, his first career Sack and Forced Fumble. He also was named to a second Academic All-MWC honors.
In 2010, He started four games at nose guard before suffering what turned out to be a torn ACL and LCL on a questionable block (see video clip below) in the 2nd quarter of the Cougars’ 27-13 loss to Nevada. Needless to say, his season was done. Fuga had 15 Tackles, 0.5 TFL and a half Sacks up to that point. He then received medical waiver from NCAA and took a Redshirt Year. That didn’t stop him from earning a third Academic All-MWC award/
As a Junior in 2011, Romney started all 12 games for the Cougars, anchoring the BYU Defensive Line and a rushing Defense that ranked 19th in the nation (112.08 ypg allowed).
He made 25 Tackles and 2 Tackles For a Loss including a season high 4 Tackles vs. UCF.
During his Senior Year, Fuga started in all 13 games at Nose Tackle and the Cougar Defense ranked 3rd in the nation (266.1 yards allowed per game). He totaled 42 Tackles (2nd among DL’s on team), 2.5 Tackles For Loss, 1.5 Sacks and 1 Pass Breakup. Romney had a season-high seven Tackles vs. Utah.
Romney played both the Nose Tackle and Defensive End positions for the Cougars. He holds the point of attack very well and gets good pressure from the NT position. He can collapse the pocket in a hurry and deals with double teams well. He holds the line very well and forces Running Backs to run outside. Fuga is extremely strong coming out of his stance and uses good leverage to push the Center back into the play. He moves well for a man of his size.
“He’s played a lot of snaps — more than he probably should because we’re so thin at his position, but he has been so consistent for us even when he has to play all those reps. He’s been facing double teams all year long, but he just keeps on going, and I can’t tell you just how much he’s meant to us this year.” ~Defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi
“Coaches encourage me to be a leader because I’m a senior and all that, but I think being a good example is more important than anything you can say to anyone. Hopefully I’ve set a good example for the younger players on the team — I just focus on doing what I need to do and try my hardest to do it and I think a lot of guys on this team do just that.” ~Romney Fuga
“He’s amazing. He’s one of the most consistent players I’ve ever worked with, and he just always does the right thing — both on and off the field.” ~BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall
How he fits in Denver:
Romney was an excellent wrestler in high school and that will help him in the Pros. He carries a good work ethic and attitude as a “Lunch Pail” kind of guy who just goes about his business. That alone is a plus, since the Nose isn’t a glamour position, but an important supporting role. He is used to taking on two blockers in a 3-4 system and that will change slightly with the Broncos. Fuga will be able to play the Nose (0-Technique, over Center) as well as the 1-technique (between Guard and Center) so he won’t have to deal with the double team every single play. He is quick for his size, and if he can defeat one blocker instead of two, we might see just how quick he is.
We will see how he does in Training Camp. CFA’s usually are battling for a spot on the Practice Squad if they are worth developing, but the Broncos have had a CFA make the 53-man roster at the end of Training Camp for nine straight years.
I’d like to think that may not happen this season. Rather a surprise cut or two, since the team has been stockpiling quality depth. I see this as a positive. If our beloved team is cutting quality players, it means they are that much closer to a Lombardi trophy.
– Kaptain Kirk