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Steelers draft profile: Braden Fiske (Defensive lineman, Florida State)

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By: Ryland Bickley

Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

The Steelers have shown interest in the talented defensive lineman.

Approaching the 2024 NFL Draft, we’ll be scouting as many of the top prospects that the Pittsburgh Steelers could have their eye on anywhere from Rounds 1 through 7. We’ll breakdown the prospects themselves, strengths and weaknesses, projected draft capital and their fit with the Steelers.

The Steelers need depth and youth on their defensive line. Could Florida State’s Brandon Fiske be the answer on Day 2 of the draft?

The basics on Braden Fiske

  • Position: Defensive lineman
  • Class: Redshirt senior (Florida State)
  • Size: 6’4, 292 pounds
  • Age: 24
  • Projected draft round: 2

Defensive stats via Sports Reference

Braden Fiske scouting report

Before writing this profile I had heard a lot about Brandon Fiske’s motor. And the film did not disappoint. On just the third play I watched of Fiske’s, he was sprinting downfield following a pass. He’s a high-effort player and it really shows.

Fiske’s motor is relentless on every play. He’s a madman of a rusher with violent hands who never gives up, providing constant pressure all game. But he doesn’t just win with effort. He’s a fantastic athlete as well.

Fiske was seen as one of the biggest winners at the 2024 NFL Draft with his 4.78-second 40-yard dash and 4.37-second 20-yard shuttle. He’s incredibly athletic for a defensive lineman with burst you normally don’t see from players his size. Just look at how quickly he accelerates in this stunt against Clemson:

At 292 pounds, Fiske isn’t that undersized but he’s still lighter than some teams are looking for. He also has short arms for the position, and there were plays when offensive linemen with better length locked Fiske out of the play.

Fiske doesn’t win with brute strength or mass, and as a result, he doesn’t hold up as well against double teams as the bigger defenders in his class. Florida State often rotated Fiske out of the game for short-yardage scenarios.

However, at times Fiske showed the quickness needed to split double teams, and even when he was losing the matchup, he’d remain a heads-up defender who was able to follow the ball and still make plays.

He’s an excellent tackler who bear-hugs ball-carriers in his vicinity. He’s not a immovable object against the run like T’Vondre Sweat, but he excels at shedding blocks to corral runners.

With his size, Fiske tends to win matchups primarily with a mix of athleticism, effort, and choppy hands. However, he shows flashes of impressive speed-to-power, driving offensive linemen backwards with a fierce bull-rush. Fiske plays with great leverage and leg drive.

Lining up all over the defensive line during his time at Florida State, Fiske projects as a versatile defender at the next level although his size will dictate situational usage.

I’ll leave you with my favorite Fiske play I saw in the games I watched, showcasing his quickness and effort as he shoots through the offensive line to blow up the play, selling out in pursuit. Fiske may not be the perfect defensive line prospect, but the team that drafts him will be getting a player that leaves it all out on the field.


  • Excellent motor
  • Great burst
  • Active hands
  • Rock-solid tackler


  • Not an every-down defender at 292 pounds
  • Below-average arm length
  • Will be 24 years old as a rookie

What others are saying about Braden Fiske

Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network

Sports a hyperdense, compact frame with good overall mass… Can use his build-up speed and power to slant inside from 5-tech or rush from 3-tech… Has a superb feel for leverage in run defense, aligning his base and getting below blocks… Length is below average, which visibly detracts from maximum power and torque… Has noticeable hip stiffness stunting outside, and can’t roll his midsection past blocks.

Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire

Fiske proved during his final season at Florida State that he was upwardly mobile in terms of draft stock. He backed that up with a very good Senior Bowl week. He’s a powerful, initially explosive athlete with a good football IQ and a nonstop motor. Fiske is a naturally disruptive interior rusher who can also work well in concert with his linemates.

Chris Pflum of Big Blue View

Braden Fiske projects as a rotational defensive tackle in an aggressive one-gap defense, at least to start his career. Coaches are going to like Fiske for his competitive toughness and play demeanor as much as his athleticism and ability to disrupt. He’s the type of player with whom coaches just want to work. Likewise, he’s versatile enough that he can play in a traditional 4-3 or 3-4 under defense, as well as a more modern multiple front.

Braden Fiske’s fit with the Steelers

Fiske is limited with what he brings to the Steelers due to his size. Pittsburgh is primarily in need of massive, gap-stuffing linemen who can eat up blocks and keep linebackers clean. At 292 pounds, Fiske projects as more of a situational, pass-rushing type at the NFL level than anything resembling a nose tackle.

That being said, the Steelers have shown interest in Fiske, and it’s not too hard to see why. His explosiveness and motor make his tape a lot of fun to watch. He consistently disrupted plays in college, and with NFL-level coaching and strength training, he could turn into an incredible passing-down defensive lineman as a pro. Defensive tackles running 4.78-second 40-yard dashes don’t grow on trees. However, Fiske’s excellent combine performance likely raised his draft projection to a second-round pick, which might be a little too rich for the Steelers.

TL;DR: Fiske is a high-effort, incredibly explosive interior defender with some size and strength concerns. He projects as a disruptive passing-down defensive lineman at the next level.

What are your thoughts on Braden Fiske? And which draft prospects would you like to see profiled next? Let us know in the comments below!

Originally posted on Behind the Steel Curtain – All Posts