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Pro Illini: Longshot Alex Palczewski makes Denver Broncos roster.



Alex Palczewski
Nov 26, 2022; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini offensive lineman Alex Palczewski (63) carries The Land of Lincoln Trophy after Illinois defeated the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Palczewski makes Denver’s 53-man roster

The Pro Illini series is all about Illini athletes who have made it to the professional ranks. Because football season is upon us, Pro Illini will initially focus on Illini football. The Fighting Illini currently have 29 players in the NFL. The Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, and Washington Commanders have three Illini players on their rosters. The Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, and New York Jets have two.

Palczewski was an anchor on a tremendous offensive line in 2022.

Chase Brown did not rush for 1,643 yards and ten touchdowns alone. Illinois had one of the best offensive lines in the Big Ten, and tackle Alex Palczewski was part of that line. A local product from Mount Prospect, Palczewski was a mid-level three-star prospect many schools thought had some upside. As a result, Indiana, Vanderbilt, and Michigan State were suitors for his services. However, Palczewski decided to attend his home state school.

The best compliment Palczewski and the offensive line received was from quarterback Tommy DeVito. “I don’t feel like I’m running for my life,” DeVito said after the season opener in 2022. Several publications selected him (AP, Sporting News, Phil Steele, etc.) as an All-American. He is also one of two players to be a two-time bowl captain.

The Longshot makes good.

Despite an outstanding senior season, Palczewski went undrafted. The Denver Broncos signed him as an undrafted free agent. Palczewski was a long shot to make the 53-man roster coming into camp, but he began rotating in with the first team by the end.

“[He’s] tough and smart,” Broncos coach Sean Payton said of Palczewski on Tuesday. “He’s played a lot of football. It’s not always pretty, but there is this quality of ‘he gets the job done.’

Though he made the 53-man roster, Palczewski suffered a hand injury during the preseason finale. So, the Broncos placed him on short-term injured reserve. He’ll be out for four weeks.


Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.