Why the Slide?: Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

Braden Fiske

This series was created a number of years ago in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

During the leadup to the 2024 NFL Draft, it was fairly common to see Braden Fiske projected as a first-round pick. After transferring to Florida State, Fiske produced a strong senior year and received a good amount of hype at the Senior Bowl. Thus, some were surprised when Fiske slid well into the second round before getting drafted.

In speaking to team sources, the reason that Fiske slid was problems on tape in run defense. Fiske is somewhat undersized for an interior defensive lineman, which showed up with him getting covered up in the ground game. His lateral anchor was an issue too, and while he practiced well in the pass rush at the Senior Bowl, his run defense challenges were evident in Mobile.

The Los Angeles Rams ended Fiske’s slide when they traded up in the second round to land him. They gave up a second-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft in the trade, so they paid a hefty price by investing two second-round picks in Fiske. The Rams were a good landing spot for Fiske, who will be reunited with college teammate Jared Verse, and Fiske has a dangerous interior pass rusher to play on the other side of him in Kobie Turner.

In the near-term, Fiske could rotate with veteran defensive linemen while he works to improve his run defense for the next level. Fiske might start out as an interior designated pass rusher, but obviously the Rams believe he will be a three-down starter who provides a big impact in order to commit two second-round picks to acquire him. Fiske has big shoes to fill after the retirement of future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald, but Fiske has a great opportunity to establish an NFL career in Los Angeles.


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