Seeing former Denver Bronco Dominic Hixon's spectacular catch for the Giants in Monday Night Football last night was yet another reminder of how, for some inexplicable reason, the Broncos have mishandled draft picks over the last decade. That's why as a public service, I've begun to track the performance of the 2011 Denver Broncos rookies. It's through these weekly talent evaluations that we'll hopefully be able to predict who'll be with the Broncos for the long haul... and who'll be destined for another line of work.
So, how did the rookies fare against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday? Follow me after the fold and let's find out.
#74 Orlando Franklin T:
After the penalties that Franklin racked up against the Raiders, I watched him this week like a hawk - expecting to see sloppy play or something that I'd be able to ding him for within this report. However, when I observed Franklin, I was very pleasantly surprised that, with few exceptions, he was always making his blocks and was getting significant push that allowed our run game to amass our first 100 yard rushing game of the year. Also of note was his appearance out of nowhere to assist in making the tackle following the unfortunate Eric Decker fumble. Great work this week Orlando! High five!
#58 Von Miller LB:
Miller is, as advertised. He's amazingly fast off the ball and was able to penetrate the Bengal backfield on multiple occasions, amassing one sack. He did get a little dinged up in the third quarter, but he came back to shut down Cedric Benson in a key stop behind the line in the fourth quarter. Jeremy Bolander noted that Miller was replaced by David Bruton for a brief spell during Cincinnati's final drive. The Broncos could be managing his reps so he doesn't exhaust himself. Great work this week Von! High five!
#26 Rahim Moore S:
Moore started the game and was all over the field in a good way. He consistently kept Bengal receivers in front of him and helped effectively stifled the threat of "the big play". In run support he made a great tackles, and in one, clamped down on a particularly squirmy Bengal. It was the kind of tackle that surely would have never have been made last year. For what it's worth, he looks like he knows what he's doing and at no time looked lost. He's clearly comfortable and confident patrolling the secondary for the Broncos. Great work this week Rahim! High five!
#80 Julius Thomas TE:
Julius started the game and had a great five-yard catch. Unfortunately, that catch would be his last of the evening as he incurred a high ankle sprain less than three minutes into the first quarter. He projects to be out for two weeks. Here's hoping he gets back on the field sooner than that. Fist bump for you Julius!
#28 Quinton Carter S:
Quinton played on special teams and made one notable (crushing) tackle. I consistently saw him buzzing around kick returners and its evident that he's hungry to make a play. Fist bump for you Quinton!
#25 Chris Harris CB:
Bad Chris Harris. Bad! Harris had a costly Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty that caused an amazing 81 yard punt from Britton Colquitt to be re-kicked. He apparently ran out of bounds and made no effort to re-establish himself in the field of play, which (for reasons that are unknown to me) is a no-no. A mistake that cost the Broncos 44-yards of field position. It was the kind of error that could cost the Broncos a game, but thankfully did not. Side-eyed glare at you Chris Harris...
Missing In Action:
#85 Virgil Green TE:
Other than being seen wearing his helmet on the sideline, I'm not sure he played. Next time you're on the field Virgil please waive your hand or make a play so I can see you. Paging Virgil Green... Paging Virgil Green...
#53 Mike Mohamed MLB:
For what little I saw of Virgil Green, I saw less of Mohamed. If you've seen him, please let me know. I was looking for him. Paging Mike Mohamed... Paging Mike Mohamed...
#56 Nate Irving MLB:
Nate was seen on the return team during the opening kickoff. Outside of that he went unseen (primarily by me in the first edition of this article... Whoopsie!) Sorry about that... Paging Nate Irving... Paging Nate Irving...