I've been at every single Broncos practice of training camp this year. I've taken notes, and I've talked to players, and I've written reports.
But I only have one set of eyes. There are close to 90 players, often all moving at the same time, on separate fields.
I'm bound to miss something.
With that in mind, I decided to ask others in attendance their opinion of players, one week in. I wanted to gauge the pulse of Broncos training camp from the perspective of fellow media members. Maybe a consensus would be reached; maybe some surprises would be uncovered. So I asked the people who have been at every practice or nearly every practice with me - USA Today's Lindsay Jones, ESPN's Jeff Legwold, ESPN Denver's Tom Nalen, ESPN Denver's Cecil Lammey, 104.3 The Fan's Darren McKee (DMac), DenverBroncos.com's independent analyst Andrew Mason, Associated Press' Pat Graham, and Mile High Sports' Brandon Spano - the same two questions one week into training camp:
Among players a little deeper on the depth chart, whose stock is rising, and whose stock is falling?
Ladies and Ring of Famers first.
Stock Up: Duke Ihenacho
I think the guy, especially over the last few days, who has really been on the rise is Duke Ihenacho, the safety from San Jose State. He spent most of last year on practice squad. He was a guy we really didn't notice during training camp last year, except he had a really cool name.
But you noticed him during practice last year when he was on the practice squad. They like to do this drill at the beginning of practices - there's only a little bit of time that's open that we (the media) can see - but they do this drill where guys try to catch passes one-handed during DB drills, and he's the king of it. And he runs around celebrating, and all the guys kind of cheer for him and play it up, because he catches everything with one hand that's thrown at him. So we were kind of like, "Oh look at Duke, that kind of funny little rookie." But you guys who read Mile High Report probably notice too that he's one of the most active guys on social media. Instagram, Twitter, very active, interacts with fans, posts his honest feelings all the time. Talks a little too much about girls for my tastes. But you saw him all winter and all spring and summer talk about how hard he's working and how hungry he was. And you've seen that in this camp.
They like the energy he brings, He just has a knack for making plays, and that's what they really need out of the safety position. Not just a guy who is going to make the tackle and get guys lined up, but a guy who is going to go out and get some interceptions.
Stock Down: Chris Kuper
A guy who, it's been hard to watch what he's going through this camp, is Chris Kuper. He really got his job taken in March. He played hurt last year. But he hasn't been right since that ankle injury at the end of 2011. He probably came back a little too quick from it. Had some setbacks last year, also the forearm injury during camp. And then when they signed Louis Vasquez and gave Louis the money that they gave him, basically slid him right there into the job that's been Kuper's for awhile. It's just been really tough to see where exactly Kuper fits in moving forward. And you know he's not practicing right now, he's still hurt, so he just stands there and watches his teammates. But this guy has absolutely been the leader of this group for a couple of years. He's been the face, the voice of this offensive line for the last few years, and he's had his job taken. So is he going to be a backup? It's just really hard to see him in that role. I think there are some financial issues there. He makes a lot of money. He's already been paid a lot of money. ... It's just tough. He's done so many good things for this team, and he's such a good guy in this locker room.
Stock Up: Malik Jackson
Malik Jackson is getting a lot of reps with the one. Making an impact. Had a sack today on Osweiler. It's his second year, and he looks like he's not a rookie anymore. I like him.
Stock Down: Jeremy Beal
I'm going to keep it with defensive ends, and I'm going to go Jeremy Beal. A guy that I was picking as a dark horse to really maybe challenge Robert Ayers. But I haven't seen much of him this camp.
During football season, listen to Cecil Lammey Friday through Monday on ESPN Denver 102.3 FM and 105.5 FM Northern Colorado. Check out ESPNDenver.com. FootballGuys.com, and follow him on Twitter @CecilLammey.
Stock Up: Tavarres King
As you know I concentrate on the skill position players, and I've been looking at a player like Tavarres King. On film, at Georgia, he was a speed guy. a 9-route guy, always taking the top off the defense, and eating up cushions quickly. It's something he showed at rookie minicamp. Well this training camp he's been standing out with his run after the catch ability, which is something I did not expect.
Stock Down: Mike Adams
Mike Adams and the safety position are completely up in the air right now. If I have to rate them, he would be off the final roster today due to his being out of position. Now he did make a play earlier in camp today, covering up the six hole and preventing Montee Ball from bouncing it outside. But you know it's in coverage where you're gonna make your hay as a safety. The Broncos have got plenty of in-the-box guys. So Adams needs to stand out in coverage. And if you watch practice, you see Adams get burned, being generally out of position.
Stock Up: Julius Thomas, Duke Ihenacho, Ronnie Hillman
Julius Thomas jumps out. You've seen him rise and get a lot of snaps with the one's. It's interesting, I actually asked him about blocking today. Because that's the one part of his game you're not quite sure of. You know he has the athleticism to make plays in space catching the football. We've seen him make plays in traffic catching the football. Now, if he's going to play every down, he's got to work on the blocking. And it seems like he understands that, that that's where his emphasis has got to be. If he's able to do that, this is a guy that can play every down at some point in his career.
Stock Down: Virgil Green
On the bubble, Virgil Green. You don't see him getting many reps with the first line, and certainly the emergence of Julius Thomas has left him in the backwash a little bit.
Stock Up: Duke Ihenacho
I think everybody would say Duke Ihenacho would be the guy who has come from the farthest from offseason minicamps, last season's practice squad, and now suddenly he's running with the starters. I think they like the edge he brings to the defense. They like the way he's handled himself through coming up the ladder. He's done the work.
I think that's a guy to watch with immediate impact, then down the line - he's not down the depth chart, but he's a rookie. Tavarres King will have an impact on the offense. There won't be a lot of extra snaps to go around, but I think he should get some when all is said and done. You play 56 games in the SEC and you're pretty savvy player. He's a pretty savvy player.
Stock Down: Manny Ramirez
I don't know if he's struggling, but it's more what the Broncos have shown their opinion to be. They keep saying "Manny Ramirez is the starter, Manny Ramirez is the starter," then they go keep signing other players. If Dan Koppen and Ryan Lilja are truly depth options then okay, they believe in Manny. But it makes you wonder how it's all going to play out moving forward. ... I'm interested to see if they stand by this very staunch defense they've given Manny so far.
Follow DMac on Twitter at @DMac1043 and listen to him every weekday on 104.3 FM from 3-6pm MT.
Stock Up: Rahim Moore, Julius Thomas, Ronnie Hillman
I see Rahim Moore solidifying himself. I thought it was maybe an open competition, so I think his stock is rising. And I think the people around him are sort of changing around and he seems to be solidified.
What has been probably more interesting about camp is that the really good guys have stayed the really good guys. And it gets boring so you don't talk about it. But the real story is: how good are Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Eric Decker? They have been more or less unstoppable against this Broncos defense.
Right now you're not sure how Jacob Tamme fits into this team.
The Brandon Spano Show is from 7pm to 10pm every night on Mile High Sports radio FM 93.7. Check out his site BrandonSpano.com; Brandon Spano TV starts next Wednesday. Finally follow him on Twitter at @BrandonSpano.
Stock Up: Greg Orton
Duke Ihenacho's probably that guy, but I think everybody that you ask can probably point him out. That's really easy. So I'm going to go Greg Orton. He's a guy I really liked last year. If you ever talked to him, he's very very intelligent. He makes great catches, runs great routes. I asked Adam Gase a few weeks ago what he has to do to make the team, Adam said all he has to do is stay healthy. He got injured right before cuts last season. I think Greg Orton is going to make the team. I think he's going to be the fourth wide receiver ahead of Bubba and ahead of Tavarres.
Stock Down: Virgil Green
I'm going to go with Virgil Green. We hadn't seen much of him. You talked about the few drops the times that you have seen him. The tight end position is pretty vast right now because Julius Thomas is obviously playing like the number one tight end on this team. You have Joel Dreessen who's the best all-around tight end, and then Jacob Tamme has a great relationship with Peyton Manning. A lot of times he was the best receiver depending on what quarter or half you looked at last season. I think Virgil Green could be the odd man out.
Pat Graham is the Broncos writer for the Associated Press, and I've seen him at several Broncos camps now. Find his work at different venues by doing a google search on Broncos Associated Press or Pat Graham AP, and follow him on Twitter @pgraham34 - 34 for Kirby Puckett.
Stock Up: Greg Orton and Tavarres King
There are two guys, they are both receivers. I love Tavarres King, and I love Greg Orton. Both are making big plays.
I think it's really important given the contract status of Eric Decker coming up next year. It's his last year of his deal. There's a lot of money the Broncos are going to have to invest soon with Von Miller coming due soon and some other old rookie contracts coming due soon. They need a big season from one of those guys just in case they end up losing Eric Decker. There's no guarantee once a guy hits the open market.
Stock Down: Jacob Tamme
It's kind of not fair, because he's been injured, but it's going to be a factor, and that's Jacob Tamme. He's got a quad right now, and with Julius Thomas coming on he needs all the reps he can get. Because Julius Thomas looks great, he could be another one of those guys whose stock is up. With Julius Thomas' stock up, Jacob Tamme needs a good camp, and he can't get on the field to show what he's made of.
So now let's take a look at the collection of names.
Duke Ihenacho (x3)
Tavarres King (x2)
Julius Thomas (x2)
Ronnie Hillman (x2)
Greg Orton (x3)
Mike Adams (x2)
Virgil Green (x2)
Jacob Tamme (x2)
I found Tavarres King the most interesting response. He's a guy that truly hasn't stood out to me, but as I said, that's why I did this piece - in case I missed something. So now I have a new guy to look for.
Big thanks again to everyone who took the time and shared their opinion on the pulse of Broncos football one week into camp!