Three Broncos Position Battles Worth Watching

Three Denver Broncos Position Battles Worth Watching

  • A.J. Bouye
  • Bryce Callahan
  • cornerback
  • Dae'Sean Hamilton
  • Denver Broncos
  • Essang Bassey
  • Jerry Jeudy
  • K.J. Hamler
  • Melvin Gordon
  • Michael Ojemudia
  • NFL
  • Philip Lindsay
  • Running back
  • Tim Patrick
  • Training Camp
  • Vic Fangio
  • Wide Receiver
By Andy Martinez July 1, 2020 0 Comment

Prove it or lose it. Roster spots up for grabs in Denver

With training camps opening soon, teams will be forced to make difficult roster decisions as they enter the new season. A young team like the Denver Broncos, who are Lock(ed) and loaded with talent and depth will have plenty of positional battles before the first snap is taken. Some of which will continue on throughout the season.

Here are some to key positions to keep an eye on.

A revamped wide receiver corps

The Broncos made a splash in this year’s NFL Draft doubling down at wide receiver with their first two selections. John Elway was able to sit tight with the 15th overall pick and come out with one of this year’s top-rated receivers in Jerry Jeudy.

He then proceeded to pick up KJ Hamler in the second round. Hamler is an absolute burner who poses a threat to defenses with every snap with his insane speed and shiftiness.

But where exactly do they fit in?

While it is clear the Broncos went out of their way to give Drew Lock some new weapons, the room just got a whole lot more crowded. With Courtland Sutton solidifying his position as the team’s number one option, Jeudy and Hamler will likely be chasing Tim Patrick and DaeSean Hamilton out of their jobs.

Hamilton has not been what the team hoped he would be. He struggled with consistency and dropped balls in crucial moments. However, he did benefit from Lock’s play late in the season. He posted back-to-back career highs and accounted for 10 first downs in the final two games of the season.

As for Tim Patrick, his 6’4” stature seems to be one of his biggest advantages. He’ll have to compete with veteran and rookie receivers like Tyrie Cleveland, Juwann Winfree and Kendall Hinton to earn playing time.

Nevertheless, rookies are never a guarantee for success. Acclimating to the speed and depth of the league will be vital for these young wideouts. Talent and skill are only half the battle. Soon the promising group will have a shot at justifying the hype surrounding them this offseason.

The No Fly Zone is no more

The abrupt departure of Chris Harris Jr. this offseason left an enormous void in the Broncos secondary. After losing Harris, who long provided leadership and consistency for this defensive unit, the team acquired former All-Pro A.J. Bouye via trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars in a bargain deal for a single 2020 fourth round pick.

However, the Broncos are banking on Bouye returning to his Pro Bowl form. Bouye struggled in his final season in Jacksonville. He allowed a 65.2% completion rate while giving up 855 yards and a 101.2 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks when targeted.

Regardless, the pairing of Bouye with a healthy Bryce Callahan, who came over from the Chicago Bears with head coach Vic Fangio last offseason, might be one of the most underrated moves in the league. Fangio’s system will cater to their strengths and is sure to yield great success. He will also mold the rest of the young and inexperienced secondary into a respectable unit.

In the meantime, defensive coordinator Ed Donatell will have his hands full organizing the depth chart for a room overflowing with talent.

While Bouye and Callahan are head and shoulders above the rest, rookies Michael Ojemudia and Essang Bassey will have to slug it out against returning veterans like Duke Dawson and De’Vante Bausby. Both players began surging last season before losing major playing time due to injuries.

Others like Isaac Yiadom will have to kick it up a notch in order to remain in the rotation. He did show improvement in the 2nd half of the 2019 season.

Who will claim the starting running back job

After being the first undrafted player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in his first two seasons in the league, Phillip Lindsay is yet again fighting for the starting role.

This off-season, in a head-scratching move, the Denver Broncos agreed to terms with Melvin Gordon on a two-year deal worth $16 million. Gordon’s $7 million cap hit suggests the Broncos expect him to become the feature back in the newly implemented system.

After a rough final two seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers, Gordon is aching for a bounce back season. Luckily, as a dual-threat running back in Pat Shurmur’s offensive scheme, he seems primed to do just that.

However, this situation seems awfully similar to previous seasons in which Lindsay outshined his counterparts and won the starting spot. Even with a severely diminished workload, there is a good chance he can do it again.

With Lindsay averaging 4.9 yards per carry, Gordon will have to produce early and often if he wants to remain in the starting role without stirring anymore controversy.

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