Broncos rookie Sebastian Gutierrez looks to make steep climb from Division II Minot State to NFL

Having already succeeded in making the move from tight end to right tackle two years earlier, Sebastian Gutierrez was confident flipping over to left tackle would have a similar result.

But then Minot State, a Division II school in northwest North Dakota, traveled to play at  Augustana (S.D.) College in the 2021 season opener. All those practice reps during the 2020 season, when the Beavers’ season was cancelled by coronavirus? It didn’t compare.

“I’ll tell you what, the first game was definitely a struggle,” Gutierrez said in a phone interview talking about the 49-0 loss. “But after that, I think I was decent.”

The Broncos saw something more than decent when watching Gutierrez’s game tape, enough to sign him as an undrafted free agent ahead of this weekend’s rookie camp.

Gutierrez is the first Minot State player to join an NFL team since Randy Hedberg … in 1977.

Listed at 6-foot-6, 295, Gutierrez added 105 pounds during his college career.  The Broncos likely signed him as a nod to his experience in the outside zone running scheme and his pass protection.

“He’s very, very smooth and very in control,” said Danny Friend, Minot State’s offensive line coach last year and now an offensive quality control assistant at Indiana. “With his athleticism, he’s able to get himself out of bad positions quickly and once he gets his hands on somebody, they usually don’t go anywhere.”

To get somewhere in football, Gutierrez had to move 1,000 miles from home.

Gutierrez, 23, grew up in Pasco, Wash., located 215 miles southeast of Seattle. As a high school senior, he quickly rebuffed Minot State’s initial reach-out.

“I dismissed it (saying), ‘Minot is too far, I want to stay on the West Coast,’” he said. “But things happened and Minot offered more (scholarship) money, plain and simple. I never took a visit there. I ended up taking a huge leap of faith.”

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Suffice to say, there are no direct flights from Pasco to Minot, but United offers a leg with a layover in Denver. Gutierrez was off …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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