With the second-to-last pick of Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos went for special teams depth. The selection of cornerback Isaac Yiadom was also the first one that people sincerely questioned.
John Elway quickly set the record straight on the mentality behind their decision to draft Yiadom when they did.
Isaac [Yiadom], we had him down at the Senior Bowl and really liked him,” Elway said after drafting Yiadom. “He’s really long and can run, and really does a nice job on the deep balls. He’s physical and we think he’ll be a really good special teams player. We’re excited about the three players we got today.”
All but confirming the Broncos intent with the selection by noting that the team things Yiadom will be a very good special teams player, Yiadom himself understood that his impact early on in his career will be made on the special teams side of the game.
“I think my speed,” Yiadom said of his strengths on special teams. “I can run at corner. There are other things I can do too. I take pride in special teams that is something I will always give 110 percent on. I am dying to be on the field to play special teams every single snap.”
Yiadom was one of three draft picks the Broncos made of players who they coached at the Senior Bowl earlier this year. That experience gave the Broncos coaching staff and front office plenty of first-hand experience with the players they selected.
That week of practice and the game itself was clearly an invaluable tool for the Broncos in the 2018 NFL Draft.
“Isaac was a guy that got better every day,” head coach Vance Joseph said of Yiadom’s Senior Bowl experience. “He certainly fits our profile at corner. We want long corners with long speed because we’re a press team. He got better and better every day, he’s a smart guy and he’s going to be great on special teams for us as a tough tackler. He definitely fits our bill at cornerback.”
In the short term, Yiadom will immediately impact special teams. However, it is his strengths at cornerback that should excite fans in the long-term. The future for the Broncos is all about maintaining the defensive mentality in the secondary and that means the team should continue drafting players who fit that mold exactly.
Yiadom’s biggest takeaway from the Senior Bowl week was soaking in every little bit of information from the Broncos coaching staff and implementing it on the football field.
“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,” Isaac Yiadom said of the Senior Bowl practices. “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.”
If he takes this mentality into the NFL, he’ll be a guy who improves rapidly on his technique and assignments, which means we’ll see him on the defensive side of the field sooner rather than later.
Oh, and if you are wondering how exactly to pronounce his name, he solved that riddle for everyone during his press conference too, “It is ‘Yeah-dom.’ The ‘i’ is silent.”