Denver Broncos Countdown to Kickoff: Duke Ihenacho - 19 Days

Rick Stewart

The Mile High Report staff each ranked their top 20 most important players on the Denver Broncos roster. We averaged the rankings and compiled them into a final list that best represented the overall choices. Next man up is Duke Ihenacho.

The Rankings

Overall rank (1-20)

Kyle Montgomery

Bronco Mike

Tim Lynch

Ian

Henson

Scotty

Payne

Topher Doll

Big Pete

Mr. East

Brain Shrout

Jon Heath

19th

N/A

20th

17th

N/A

19th

N/A

12th

11th

N/A

N/A

*Duke didn't receive a single vote from Kyle, Ian, Topher, Brian, or Jon

From the Horses' Mouth

Kyle Montgomery

Duke Ihenacho went from "having an opportunity" to "earning the starting job" to "being groomed for greatness."

Tim Lynch

I am a sucker for training camp studs. Year after year I buy into those guys only to see them flame out by the start of the regular season. In fact, I am pretty sure I've bought Julius Thomas stock every year he has been in the league. This year feels different though. Duke Ihenacho looks the part in live game action (as does Julius, but that's for another day) and I can't wait to see if this kid has staying power.


Caught these highlights for the entire game, but you might as well just rename this to "Duke Ihenacho Highlights" because he was in on nearly every play.


Big Pete

Everybody sing with me... "Nacho Nacho Man. I wanna be a Nacho man!"... ok ok ok, I know that's not how the song goes, but man, I love me some Duke! IMO, Duke is top 10 because if any team knows how vital solid safety play is in advancing through the playoffs, it's the Denver Broncos, am I right?Ihenacho seems to have the same nose for the ball as Dennis Smith, with hitting power somewhere between Smith and Atwater (although not nearly to the Smilin' Assassin's level). My point is that Duke is quickly becoming a cornerstone of our defense. Great safety play is the difference between a 1 and done playoff team and a Super Bowl champion! Everything on defense flows much easier if you have not only a great run stopper at safety, but also a better than average passing game supporter with a nose for the ball. Take Duke out of the equation, and our defense suffers quite a bit. His meteoric rise can not be ignored or over looked. I look forward to seeing Duke in a Broncos uniform for years to come. Everybody sing with me... "Nacho Nacho Man.... I wanna be a Nacho Man...." haha


Scotty Payne

Where did he come from?


Nacho is becoming a fan favorite. He's been making plays all of camp. Getting Ints of Peyton Manning, breaking up passes and big big hits in the backfield. This guy can do it all. Heading into the season i thought that the safety position was the biggest question. Not any more. Moore and Nacho give us two pretty solid safeties.


Back to Nacho though. We have only seen him in a quarter and a half of action, but wow. In last weeks preseason game he totaled 7 tackles and a forced fumble in that span of time. I cannot wait to see this guy in a full 4 quarters. Who ever the Broncos have looking for Un-Drafted Free Agents deserves a big ol raise. Looks like the Broncos have another UDFA stud on their defense.

Bronco Mike

Swagger.  He's got it.  Not cockiness, self-confidence.  The way he carries himself on the field you can tell that he belongs.  It's hard to see that in young players because a lot of the time it seems as if they are overwhelmed by the enormity of the game.  Not the case with Duke.  The Broncos have had many great safeties going back through the decades.  Names like Thompson, Steve Atwater, Steve Foley, John Lynch Goose Consoulin, Dennis Smith, Tyrone Braxton.  Could the next be Duke Ihenacho? Could be, entirely up to him.  One thing is for sure though, if he doesn't make it, it won't be for lack of skills or football sense which he has in spades.  This defense is tailor made for a SS that really plays more like a FS.  Duke is going to give you that rare ability to impact the running game while at the same time providing you with ballhawk and playmaking capabilities in the passing game.

Follow Duke Ihenacho on twitter @NachoLyfe

very nice guy, interacts with fans---just no negative tweets y'all!!!

By the way, Duke loves Bacon wrapped Hot-Links, so if anyone knows a place--hook him up!

Notable Broncos to wear #19:

Eddie Royal 2009-2011

Current Bronco wearing #19

Lamaar Thomas

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