The Washington Huskies will have a defensive tackle selected early in the NFL’s annual selection event. While Levi Onwuzurike is receiving genuine first-round consideration, could Josiah Bronson sneak into the back end of the 2021 NFL Draft?
Josiah Bronson NFL Draft Player Profile
- Position: Defensive Tackle
- School: Washington
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 304 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Josiah Bronson Scouting Report
Positives: Two-year starter who began his college career at Temple. Explosive defensive lineman with an underrated game. Quick off the snap, bends his knees, and plays with proper pad level. Agile, nicely redirects to the action, and plays hard. Rarely off his feet, works his hands throughout the action, and shows the ability to get out in space chasing ball carriers. Solid athlete.
Negatives: Lacks bulk and gets easily out-positioned from the action by a single blocker. Displays limited playing strength. Marginally productive at the college level.
Analysis: Bronson is an explosive, hard-working defensive lineman who could be used as a three-technique tackle and possibly at defensive end in a three-man front. He must improve his strength at the point of attack and continue to improve on the field, but Bronson comes with a large upside.
Josiah Bronson Player Profile
Bronson may have to wait a while to hear his name called in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, the Washington defensive tackle is no stranger to waiting for his opportunity. There are few players whose path to the draft has endured as many obstacles and has constantly changed direction.
His path began similarly to most NFL Draft prospects. A Washington native, Bronson played his high school football at Kentwood High School. As a junior, he lined up at defensive end and offensive tackle. He would switch his offensive position to tight end for his senior season. Although he caught a few passes, it was Bronson’s defensive prowess that stood out. He led the Conquerors in tackles while being voted to the All-Area Seattle Times team.
Despite his performances at Kentwood, few programs recruited Bronson. A two-star prospect, 247 Sports listed him as the 110th strong-side defensive end in the 2015 recruiting class. According to the site, he only received one scholarship offer — from Temple — although local media also suggested that he received attention from Idaho and multiple Pac-12 schools.
Bronson’s college football career begins at Temple
As he headed to play college football at Temple, Bronson had family inspiration to fuel his journey. His brother, Demitrius, was a running back on the Miami Dolphins as Josiah landed in Philadelphia. His other brother, John, enjoyed a short career as a tight end for the Arizona Cardinals.
Unfortunately, the 2015 season with Temple would see the first of several stumbling blocks placed in the way of following his brother’s footsteps to the NFL. During the first scrimmage of fall camp, Haason Reddick fell on the young defensive lineman, fracturing his ankle. The injury required surgery and resulted in a redshirt season.
Having lost his first year at Temple to injury, expectations were high that he would make an impact in his redshirt-freshman season. Yet, Bronson failed to see the field in 2016. Having suffered setback after setback, the defensive tackle opted to transfer out of the program and return home to Washington.
Bronson goes from walk-on at Washington to NFL Draft prospect
It wasn’t as simple as turning up and becoming a scholarship athlete at Washington. Bronson had to walk on for the Huskies, and for the third consecutive season, he didn’t see any game time. He spent the season bulking up to make the transition from defensive end to defensive tackle in Washington’s three-man front.
In 2018, he finally saw his first college action. Bronson made his Washington debut against North Dakota, recording his first career tackle. Although he was a backup defensive tackle, he made multiple tackles in games against BYU, UCLA, and Oregon, while securing his first sack against Stanford.
His performances earned him a full scholarship and led to him making 11 starts at defensive tackle in 2019. Once again, his standout performance came against Stanford, logging 2 tackles for loss and a sack against the Cardinals.
With teammate Onwuzurike opting out of the 2020 college football season, Bronson was tasked with leading the Huskies defensive line. He saw playing time in all of Washington’s games, impressing with 4 tackles in a comeback win against Utah. Following the season, Bronson declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Josiah Bronson’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Bronson’s best use in the NFL would be as a run stopper in a 3-4 defense. He doesn’t offer much upside as a pass rusher, but he has been more impressive against the run as a defensive tackle for Washington. He’s been in the college football system for six years, which is likely to harm his draft stock. As an under-the-radar prospect, he will presumably end up an undrafted free agent rather than sneak into the back end of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Some team fits for Bronson include the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, and Chicago Bears.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.
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