Every year during Training Camp, some unknown or younger players stands out and secures a starting job or a roster spot because of their play. Well we already looked at the five or so Broncos players who have the most to lose during Camp, but now lets take a look at the five or so Broncos players with the most to gain during Training Camp.
1. Paxton Lynch
This is an obvious one. With Trevor Siemian being the player with the most to lose, Paxton Lynch is the player with the most to gain during Training Camp.
Lynch had two starts and some limited action in relief for an injured Trevor Siemian last season. In that limited action, he flashed some that potential while still showing he had a long way to go before being able to be considered a legit starter for the Broncos. He had to make significant progress this offseason, and that’s exactly what he did.
According to observers and players like Demaryius Thomas, Lynch looked like a completely different player during the final two weeks of the offseason practices and closed the gap on Siemian.
I'm not anti-Siemian or pro-Lynch. A #Broncos rep told me its going to be Lynch "barring something catastrophic." The QB battle is a farce— Mario Vetanze (@MileHighMario) July 14, 2017
With Mike McCoy calling the shots, I expect we will see more shots down field during practices and more snaps from shotgun. This should help Lynch right away. Add in his athleticism and he should have some successful practices.
This is Paxton Lynch’s job to lose and now he has to make sure he goes out and wins it.
The Broncos wide receivers want this settled quickly and if Lynch continues to shine, I think it will be settled quickly.
2. Adam Gotsis
One player who could impact the Broncos front seven greatly is 2016 second-round pick, Adam Gotsis.
Gotsis missed all of the Broncos offseason practices his rookie year but did return for the start of Training Camp. However, he was less than a year removed from ACL surgery and was far from 100% during the season, and his play showed that.
He needed to put in the work this offseason to become a player on the defensive line and he did just that. He showed up noticeably bigger and stronger for the Broncos and was dominating in OTA’s.
Broncos coach Vance Joseph is reportedly excited about second-year DE Adam Gotsis, who showed potential as a run-stopper in his rookie year. pic.twitter.com/MKf9r3cmyJ— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 1, 2017
Gotsis, unfortunately, had to undergo a minor arthroscopic procedure on his knee in early June and is expected to be ready for the first week of camp. So hopefully it shouldn’t have a negative impact on Gotsis who was having a strong offseason.
So once he returns for the Broncos, he will be the biggest X-Factor for them this season. If he continues his dominant play, he makes the Broncos front seven even stronger. If he struggles like he did last season or with injuries, the Broncos defensive line depth will once again be an issue. A strong summer from Gotsis could lock up a starting job for him opposite of Derek Wolfe this season.
3. Carlos Henderson
The Broncos spent a third round selection on the explosive Henderson during the 2017 NFL Draft and have high hopes for the rookie.
With Mike McCoy calling the shots again on the offensive side of the ball, I expect we will see more spread looks and the slot receiver being used more once again. This is where Henderson will come into play.
I believe he is penciled in as the Broncos third receiver, but a strong Training Camp will only solidify this for him. His explosive/big play ability will likely be something we see on a daily basis during Camp. He should quickly become a fan favorite because of this.
If he does this, the hype around the Broncos explosive receiving group will be fun as we head into the week one matchup against the Chargers.
4. Garett Bolles
The Broncos 2017 first-round pick has a real good shot at being the Broncos starting left tackle come week one.
I listed Ty Sambrailo and Donald Stephenson as two players with the most to lose for this very reason. Bolles is raw and has some work to do, but doesn’t have to show much to surpass both players. He has already started taking some first-team reps during OTA’s/minicamp and I expect that to continue early into camp.
I am anxious to see how those offensive line vs defensive line one on one drills go with Bolles. I believe we will see a fight or two, especially going against Derek Wolfe.
I believe Bolles will lock up the starting job rather quickly. If he cannot, that should raise some concerns considering how bad both Sambrailo and Stephenson were last season.
5. A.J. Derby
Last season, the Broncos lacked a passing game that attacked the middle and intermediate part of the field, so the tight end's production really lacked because of this. Now with Mike McCoy calling the shots, the tight ends should become a much bigger part of the Broncos offense this season.
A player like Derby should benefit greatly from this. Veteran Virgil Green has never had the breakout season we all hoped, and Jeff Heuerman showed some promise last season but is still a huge question mark. This leaves Derby as the player on the brink of a potential breakout season.
Keep mind he’s going to have a young and inexperienced quarterback under center regardless so he’ll serve as the safety valve for the quarterback. Derby will be the safety/underneath option for the QB and someone who figures to be targeted often. A strong camp should put some separation between he and the rest.
If Derby is able to build a chemistry with one of the two quarterbacks during camp, it should propel him to a breakout season for the Broncos.
Which Broncos player do you think has the most to gain during Training Camp?
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