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Coaching Senior Bowl proves fruitful for Broncos in 2018 Draft

Three of its eight picks so far were on the Broncos Senior Bowl team.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-North Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

There was a certain 9NEWS Broncos “insider” who implied with a soon-deleted tweet back in January that it was “not an honor” to coach the Senior Bowl but rather an “embarrassment.”

Well that “embarrassing” situation yielded three of the Broncos’ 10 draft picks in a 2018 NFL Draft that has many raving about John Elway’s picks.

And each of those three noted their experiences with the coaches at that Senior Bowl were influential.

“I was so grateful to be able to be coached by coach ‘M-Rob’ (Broncos defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson) and coach [Vance] Joseph on the defensive side of the ball,” said cornerback Isaac Yiadom, a third-round pick. “I got better every single day. They helped me with little things like my stance and my technique. Every day I saw getting better and competing.”

Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton - who by many accounts was a steal for the Broncos - loved working with Denver’s new wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni.

“I got along with Coach Azzanni really well. I got to work with him and really I just felt a connection with him from there,” Hamilton said. “I really learned a lot from him and obviously was introduced to the Broncos’ scheme from working with that staff. ... I’m really looking forward to continuing working with him.”

Troy Fumagalli, a tight end out of the University of Wisconsin, had “a great experience” at the Senior Bowl.

“I really loved the staff, the way they approached the game and the pro-style offense,” Fumagalli said, noting they did a lot of the same things at Wisconsin. “I’m excited, I really am. I’ll come in and compete and hopefully win championships.”

A fourth player with some offseason ties to the Broncos was Arizona State guard Sam Jones - a Colorado native and huge Broncos fan - who was picked up in the sixth round.

Jones has been working out at Six Zero Strength & Fitness in Centennial, Colo., alongside Connor McGovern. McGovern will be entering his third year with the Broncos and is expected to be a big contributor to a hopefully improving offensive line.

“I was actually joking with Connor the other day because I have long hair right now. He had long hair when he went in and they made him cut it, and I was like, ‘Man, I don’t want to cut my hair,’” Jones said. “He said, ‘Don’t worry about it, I think only the Broncos do that.’ So I guess I’m going to have to say goodbye to the hair.”

It’s one thing to watch tape and interview the kids; it’s another to watch them play.

No doubt the Senior Bowl was a huge advantage for Elway, Joseph and the Broncos. In fact, Hamilton had been a player Bucky Brooks noted as a standout thanks to the Senior Bowl.

“Hamilton has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the first couple days of practice here at the Senior Bowl,” Brooks said in January. “He’s probably the best route runner of the receivers in Mobile. His timing, patience and ability to change gears has been outstanding.”

Although the Broncos’ season last year was embarrassing, coaching at the Senior Bowl certainly wasn’t.