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  • Broncos Rookie Report

    Broncos rookie report: Ball's soft hands
    August, 7, 2013
    Aug 7
    4:34
    PM ET
    By Jeff Legwold | ESPN.com

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    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Despite the Broncos' recent run of 30-something signings -- offensive linemen Dan Koppen and Ryan Lilja to go with defensive back Quentin Jammer in late May -- the key to remaining a Super Bowl contender and managing some coming salary-cap dilemmas will be how well they draft and develop those draft picks.

    Or as Tony Dungy often said during his coaching career; "you can't be afraid of young players."

    After all this is a team with 33.4 percent of its cap space in 2013 devoted to three players (Peyton Manning with a $17.5 million cap figure, Ryan Clady at $12.6 million and Champ Bailey at $11 million).

    In light of that, we will be doing a weekly check-in with how the team's first-year players are doing. Let's get to it:

    THE DRAFT CLASS
    Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams. The Broncos' first-rounder was slowed early in camp with a knee injury that cost him a few days worth of practices, but it's clear the Broncos have plans for him in their pass-rush looks early on. Williams has most often lined up as Terrance Knighton's backup on the nose in the team's base 4-3 look. But when defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio goes to the specialty looks that feature a variety of fronts, Williams has been in the mix with the regulars. At least early on, he figures to play on longer-yardage situations most often.

    [+] EnlargePeyton Manning
    Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY SportsSecond-rounder Montee Ball, right, could be a red zone threat for the Broncos.
    Running back Montee Ball. Ball has consistently said he "attacked'' the playbook before training camp as well as in his limited free time since the team began its preseason work. He is already at the top tier of the rotation in the run game -- a No. 1B to Ronnie Hillman's No. 1A status. Ball cannot match Hillman's speed or big-play ability. But Ball has good vision, quick feet and
    has shown the team better hands in the passing game than some scouts believed he had. Ball is also bigger than Hillman -- Ball weighs about 214 pounds compared to Hillman's 195 -- so could appear in some scoring situations deep in the red zone. But Ball will have to continue to progress in pass protection to see work in longer-yardage situations.

    Cornerback Kayvon Webster. Webster has shown good speed in practices thus far and a willingness to match up in both press coverage and play with awareness off the ball in zone. But he also finds himself at one of the more crowded spots on the depth chart. Champ Bailey, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Chris Harris, Tony Carter and Omar Bolden are ahead of him at the moment. Rodgers-Cromartie will miss some time with an ankle injury so Webster will get the benefit of some additional practice snaps in the coming weeks.

    Defensive end Quanterus Smith. Smith is coming back from surgery to repair a torn ACL he suffered in the 10th game of the 2012 season at Western Kentucky. The Broncos worked him back slowly through the offseason program. Other than one practice he left early because of the knee, he has practiced fully throughout training camp. The Broncos believe -- and he has shown it in practice thus far -- that he can contribute immediately as an edge player in some of their nickel and dime packages. He has worked as the No. 3 right defensive end in most team drills behind Robert Ayers and Shaun Phillips but has moved up the ladder when the team goes to its long-yardage groupings.

    Wide receiver Tavarres King. On another team or in another situation, King would have the potential to be a rookie of notice league-wide. But he arrived to a team with plenty of veteran production at wideout in Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker. King, who played a school-record 56 games at Georgia, has shown a savvy about how to conduct himself in practice to go with upper-level ball skills, an understanding of a complicated offense and the ability to make plays in traffic. He was slowed during offseason workouts with a thigh injury, but has been healthy so far in camp and is making a legitimate push to be the No. 4 player at the position, especially if he can show some value on special teams in the preseason.

    Tackle Vinston Painter. When the Broncos selected Painter in the sixth round this past April, they saw an athletic project with a pile of potential. What they got was a player who has steadily worked his way up the depth chart, some by necessity because of injuries and some because he has advanced slightly more quickly than expected. Painter has worked much of the time as the backup right tackle, just behind Orlando Franklin. But the coaching staff showed this past week it doesn't think he's quite ready for work with the starters yet. Rather than simply elevating Painter after Franklin was injured, the coaches jumbled things up front, moving Louis Vasquez to right tackle in one practice and Chris Clark there in another.

    Quarterback Zac Dysert. There is no rush for Dysert, whose task right now is to show enough to force the Broncos to keep three quarterbacks among the final 53. He's shown mobility and the ability to improvise as things break down in front of him. But he'll need to be more accurate, especially throwing to his right as well as in the short and intermediate areas.

    UNDRAFTED ROOKIES
    The Broncos have had at least one undrafted rookie make the roster for nine consecutive seasons. A number of undrafted rookies have stood out as candidates to keep the streak going.

    Running back C.J. Anderson, at 224 pounds, has flashed some quality work with the ball in his hands, especially on runs between the guards. But his attention to detail wavers at times and he has made just the kind of assignment errors that get players ushered out. He needs a quality, no-nonsense showing in the first two preseason games, especially if he can make a play or two on special teams.

    Linebacker Lerentee McCray is one of the biggest players, at 6-foot-3 and 249 pounds, the Broncos have at the position. He had just 25 tackles in 11 starts for the Florida Gators last season, but has shown the Broncos enough to have worked as the No. 3 strongside linebacker behind Von Miller and Phillips. If he can do some quality special-teams work in the coming weeks that could be the difference for him, especially if Miller loses his appeal of a four-game suspension to open the regular season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

    Wide receiver/Kick returner Quincy McDuffie has missed some time of late with a hamstring injury and will have a difficult time getting many quality snaps at wideout. But he has done good work in the return game and while he would not supplant Trindon Holliday as the team's top returner, he has certainly gotten the Broncos' attention.
    Sounds pretty good so far. Hopefully McCray becomes this season's Keith Burns.
    :lombardi:2019 Adopt-A-Bronco: Dr. Dre'Mont Jones
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  • #2
    I've loved everything I've seen of King...

    Didn't know who he was until we picked him but immediately loved the pick

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    • #3
      Our DB group this year is deep; some really solid players are going to lose jobs. Hard to really see 6 CBs making the team, so I think Tony Carter is going to be the odd man out. The FO has invested too high of quality draft picks in Bolden and Webster to give up on them already and risk losing them to another team on waivers. And S is another beast. Oh well, this is a good problem to have...
      Last edited by berlownacyo7s; 08-07-2013, 10:28 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by berlownacyo7s View Post
        Our DB group this year is deep; some really solid players are going to lose jobs. Hard to really see 6 CBs making the team, so I think Tony Carter is going to be the odd man out. The FO has invested too high of quality draft picks in Bolden and Webster to give up on them already and risk losing them to another team on waivers. And S is another beast. as well. Oh well, this is a good problem to have...
        I don't see a scenario where we don't keep 6 corners.

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        • #5
          we are going to see some of our broncos starting for other teams this coming year.. we have that kind of depth..

          something everyone would have scoffed at a few years ago..

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          • #6
            And like expected, we didn't draft all the big name players and they are all performing well outside of dysert and will all make the roster except probably dysert. Too many people doubted this draft even though Elway has proven that he is a very good talent evaluater and will make the good picks not the sexy pick
            A healthy Kenneth Dixon is a top 5 NFL RB.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Garfield View Post
              we are going to see some of our broncos starting for other teams this coming year.. we have that kind of depth..

              something everyone would have scoffed at a few years ago..
              no. A few might make other teams 53 man roster but they won't be starting.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by broncos SB2010 View Post
                no. A few might make other teams 53 man roster but they won't be starting.
                IDK man. I could see Tony Carter becoming a #2 CB for many teams in this league. And whichever safety(s) we end up cutting might make a good run for a job as well. Rahim Moore, Mike Adams, David Bruton, Quinton Carter, Duke Ihenacho, Quentin Jammer... I doubt we keep all 6, and there are some teams with serious ?s in the back end of their defenses...

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                • #9
                  Moreno could be starting somewhere else next year. I don't think the Broncos are going to offer him much to stay.
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                  Thank you to my grandfather jetrazor for being a veteran of the armed forces!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by berlownacyo7s View Post
                    IDK man. I could see Tony Carter becoming a #2 CB for many teams in this league. And whichever safety(s) we end up cutting might make a good run for a job as well. Rahim Moore, Mike Adams, David Bruton, Quinton Carter, Duke Ihenacho, Quentin Jammer... I doubt we keep all 6, and there are some teams with serious ?s in the back end of their defenses...
                    jammer is out for sure, and old i doubt he starts anywhere
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Al Wilson 4 Mayor View Post
                      Moreno could be starting somewhere else next year. I don't think the Broncos are going to offer him much to stay.
                      Idk he is practicing better then ball right now and is maybe one of our top team first guys who has worked relentlessly even though he hasn't been the starter. If he takes a average contract he would round out a very good RB corp
                      A healthy Kenneth Dixon is a top 5 NFL RB.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Matymaddog View Post
                        I don't see a scenario where we don't keep 6 corners.
                        Me either. I'm guessing six Corners and four Safeties.
                        "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by broncos SB2010 View Post
                          no. A few might make other teams 53 man roster but they won't be starting.
                          So of those 80+ players now on the squad they are going to keep them all?
                          Since they have to pare the players down to 53, some of them will eventually be picked up by other teams and some of them will wind up starters.

                          We are. No longer the bottom feeder that we were at the end if the 2008 season. Getting along with sub par players in schemes that were unable to produce more than ONE playoff victory in the past decade.

                          We are now deep enough at some positions that our guys will wind up starting for someone else whe. We cut them.
                          Yes we wil be able to get some to PS but then other teams can sign them from there.

                          We are one of the best teams not a team that consistently drafted in the top 15.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by berlownacyo7s View Post
                            IDK man. I could see Tony Carter becoming a #2 CB for many teams in this league. And whichever safety(s) we end up cutting might make a good run for a job as well. Rahim Moore, Mike Adams, David Bruton, Quinton Carter, Duke Ihenacho, Quentin Jammer... I doubt we keep all 6, and there are some teams with serious ?s in the back end of their defenses...
                            Some do. Not realize that we are deep in some spots and for some bottom feeder and they are the most likely to claim some one we cut. Good chance they will not be claiming someone just to have them backup.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Garfield View Post
                              So of those 80+ players now on the squad they are going to keep them all?
                              Since they have to pare the players down to 53, some of them will eventually be picked up by other teams and some of them will wind up starters.

                              We are. No longer the bottom feeder that we were at the end if the 2008 season. Getting along with sub par players in schemes that were unable to produce more than ONE playoff victory in the past decade.

                              We are now deep enough at some positions that our guys will wind up starting for someone else whe. We cut them.
                              Yes we wil be able to get some to PS but then other teams can sign them from there.

                              We are one of the best teams not a team that consistently drafted in the top 15.
                              tell me one player on our roster that will most likely be cut that would start for another team. Kuper is the only one I can think of and he may not even be cut and he is injured.
                              Last edited by broncos SB2010; 08-08-2013, 12:29 PM.
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