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Broncos rookies defying the odds so far

What started out as hope that Denver nailed this draft has turned into, “how the hell did Elway hit on just about every pick?”

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

All 32 organizations are hopeful they nail their NFL Drafts.

That is typically measured by a team “hitting” on its upper-round selections who contribute right away as a starter or significant backup. To earn that rare distinction teams must also get production or steals in the later rounds.

To put this in simpler terms: What the New Orleans Saints did in their draft last year.

In the immediate follow up to this year’s draft, some felt John Elway and the Denver Broncos had one of the best. Then those picks took the field and the excitement was sparked. But minicamp is way different than training camp.

Then they continued to shine in training camp. But training camp is way different than the preseason.

Then they continued to shine in the preseason. But the first two preseason games are way different than the third preseason game.

Then they shined in third the preseason game. At this point all that’s left to do is shine in the regular season. Until they do for the Broncos, some hint of skepticism should remain. But since the names Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, Royce Freeman, Josey Jewell, Phillip Lindsay and Bradley Chubb popped up, they’ve remained consistent. There’s no reason to think that will stop now.

For a short tangent, after Denver’s win against the Washington Redskins, some fans where complaining about Chubb. Really? As Zac Stevens with BSN said on Twitter, Chubb’s final stat line was incredibly encouraging for roughly one half of work: Four tackles, .5 sack and two quarterback hits. That’s eight tackles, one sack and four QB hits over an entire game. Is Chubb perfect? Hell no. He still struggles with containment on the edge and still has “rookie moments.” But when you add Chubb’s numbers to the rest of the defense on Friday night, you get 12 QB hits from eight different players that resulted in three sacks. Rest assured the Broncos will take that production from the Orange Rush and not think twice about it.

If what we’ve seen from Chubb, Von Miller and the others over the course of training camp and preseason doesn’t give you all the feels for what they could do, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s also the latest reminder that Denver fans need to get and rock this awesome Orange Rush shirt.

But I digress, and back on track.

The crop of rookies mentioned earlier have not only risen to the occasion, they have done so in a consistent fashion. To a lesser extent, you could even include Isaac Yiadom, Keishawn Bierria and David Williams, but they are not on the same level as the others ... yet.

What started out as hope that the Broncos nailed this draft has turned into, “how the hell did Elway hit on just about every pick?”

To put this in simpler terms: It seems Denver pulled a Saints.

*Cue the “And Ian just jinxed it ... “

Horse Tracks

Next-Day Notebook: Andy Janovich gathers accolades for game-breaking blocks
Reviewing Friday’s win over Washington with closer looks at performances by Andy Janovich, Brandon McManus and the run defense.

Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton display big-play acumen in win over Redskins
Sanders and Sutton combined for 106 yards on seven first-half catches.

How one throw proved that with Case Keenum at the helm, Broncos are 'never out of it'
The third-and-15 conversion may not mean much now, but it very well could later this season.

Broncos-Redskins observations
Denver's first-team offense got roughly a game's worth of work over the last three weeks, and its overall production and efficiency were optimal.

Keenum sharp, Broncos impressive in defeating Washington 29-17 |
The new Broncos' front-line units that just had their final tune-up for the 2018 season appear determined to put last season behind them.

Emmanuel Sanders appears unguardable from the slot |
“Man, I’m loving the slot,’’ he said in the FedEx Field visiting locker room Friday night after he helped the Broncos defeat Washington, 29-17.

Broncos offense opens eyes under Case Keenum with strong first half - Denver7
The Broncos offense opened eyes with production and creativity in strong first half.

AFC West Tracks

Unanswered depth chart questions - Bolts From The Blue
As we inch closer to the regular season, there are some questions about the depth chart that remain unanswered. The Chargers have a week and a half, including 2 preseason games, to get it figured out.

Mike Pouncey doesn't skip a beat, or snap, as Chargers' new center of attention
The Chargers love the way Mike Pouncey can equally command a huddle and a meeting room, the team’s new center establishing an aura after making three Pro Bowls in his first seven NFL seasons.

Chargers' Forrest Lamp to see first game action, ready for Week 1? - Los Angeles Chargers- ESPN
Forrest Lamp, the Chargers' second-round pick in 2017, will see the field for the first time in a Bolts' uniform on Saturday.

Chicago Bears beat Kansas City Chiefs: five winners and five losers - Arrowhead Pride
The Bears beat the Chiefs, 27-20, in their third preseason game on Saturday afternoon. Here’s who looked good and who didn’t.

Chiefs fans are in full panic mode about the defense | The Kansas City Star
The Chiefs defense struggled in the first half of Saturday’s preseason game against the second-team offense of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, and Kansas City fans were upset and worried.

Chiefs patiently waiting for Sammy Watkins to earn his keep - Kansas City Chiefs- ESPN
Through two preseason games, wide receiver Sammy Watkins -- the Chiefs' major free-agent acquisition -- has yet to make a catch.

The Morning After: Dominating defense leads Raiders to victory over Packers - Silver And Black Pride
Can you imagine what this defense will look like when/if Khalil Mack returns? (Sounds like that's pipe dream for Raiders fans).

Oakland Raiders: What we learned in the third preseason game
Friday’s Raiders-Packers game was not a dress rehearsal. Because if it was, then the show should be canceled before it opens.

'White Lightning's' return proving big for Oakland Raiders receivers - Oakland Raiders- ESPN
Jordy Nelson landed with Oakland after 10 years in Green Bay. He could soon be the top target and is already leading a young group.

NFL Tracks

Bold predictions for 2018 NFL season using ESPN Football Power Index stats
Are the Eagles and Patriots headed toward a Super Bowl rematch? ESPN's Football Power Index thinks so. Seth Walder runs through eight bold predictions for the 2018 season.

How long will fans tolerate a four-game preseason? – ProFootballTalk
I still have a vivid recollection of an August night in the mid-70s, seeing a closeup Sonny Jurgensen in his burgundy helmet and single-bar facemask during one of what then was six preseason games per team and asking myself, "Why am I watching this?"

A year after Harvey, $37M raised by Texans' J.J. Watt changing lives - Houston Texans- ESPN
On the anniversary of the devastating hurricane, it's clear the Texans star's incredible fundraising efforts have become his legacy in Houston.

What we learned from Friday's NFL preseason games -
We're knee deep in Week 3 of the NFL preseason -- also known as dress rehearsal week for the upcoming season. Here's what we learned so far from Friday's games.

Saints’ Alvin Kamara, Marshon Lattimore look to build on successful 2017 |
The Saints' group of rookies last season is drawing plenty of comparisons to the top-notch group of rookies in 2006, but the question remains—can the players continue to build and keep the drive going in Year 2?

Rams coach Sean McVay singularly focused on football |
Rams’ Sean McVay, the NFL’s youngest coach, got here with a single-minded devotion to the game. Don’t expect Los Angeles’s savior to change anytime soon.

No pressure, Jared Goff -- Rams are ready for a Super Bowl run
The Rams reached contender status ahead of schedule, but taking the next step may depend on how quickly their young QB can grow.