Yannick Ngakoue put together one of the most impressive single seasons in Maryland history.
Now the Terrapin defensive line will call upon another defensive end with experience in Roman Braglio.
Braglio served as a backup during the early portion of his career at Maryland. In 2012, he redshirted with star defensive linemen like A.J. Francis, Darius Kilgo, and Joe Vellano already firmly entrenched in the rotation.
Over the next two seasons, Braglio only started two games for the Terps. During that time, he only registered 16 tackles (12 solo), 4.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery.
In 2015, Braglio finally got his chance to make an impact after Andre Monroe graduated. Monroe had recorded 10.5 sacks during the 2014 campaign.
Braglio appeared in 11 games (10 starts) this past season and really proved to be a valuable part of Maryland defense.
In those 11 games, Braglio registered 35 tackles (20 solo), three sacks, and a fumble recovery. He also accumulated 5.5 tackles-for-loss.
Starting across Ngakoue did have its advantages, but Braglio did a lot of his damage when Maryland simply rushed four down linemen. On a majority of those plays, Ngakoue didn’t get anywhere near the quarterback.
If you watch tape of Braglio, one thing becomes clear: there is no quit in this guy.
Braglio is very quick off the edge, but even on running plays, he’ll run sideline to sideline even if there is only an outside chance that he may be able to bring down the ball carrier. He has good size at 6’2/262 lbs., but is also very strong.
Braglio is very patient and doesn’t get flustered if a ball carrier changes direction or he can’t get around the opposing offensive lineman during the first few seconds of a play.
On two of of his three sacks during the 2015 season, he actually got to the quarterback due to his determination. It didn’t happen as soon as the ball was snapped.
For example, early in the second half against South Florida, Braglio benefitted from Quinton Flowers not being able to find an open receiver. Flowers held onto the ball in the backfield for eight seconds and Braglio finally was able to run down Flowers to record the sack.
What makes the play even more impressive is that Braglio was able to bring down a quarterback that is extremely mobile in Flowers. After all, Flowers rushed for 991 yards during the 2015 season and averaged 5.2 yards-per-carry.
Braglio’s perseverance came to the forefront later in the season against Wisconsin.
On a first down play in the second quarter, Joel Stave dropped back to pass. Braglio rushed off the edge and had to go through back the fullback and running back before getting deep into the backfield. With Stave still holding onto the football, Braglio didn’t miss his opportunity to bring down the Badger quarterback for a loss.
Braglio has tremendous instincts and never seems to get rattled during the course of a play.
Obviously, the absence of Ngakoue will hurt the Maryland pass rush.
However, Braglio’s numbers should receive a huge boost as the lead pass rusher. After all, he did record at least two tackles in every game he played in a season ago.
Braglio is an incredibly hard worker that could certainly blow up like many Terps have when they finally get their shot to be “the guy” on the defensive line.
With some uncertainty in other sports on the defensive line, Braglio may be the biggest x-factor in the entire front seven.