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2019 Broncos roster review: UDFA wide receiver Trinity Benson

The Denver Broncos brought in undrafted wide receiver Trinity Benson to compete for a roster spot. Can he fight through to make the team?

It wasn’t two years ago that John Elway spent a 2017 fifth-round pick on Isaiah McKenzie to provide the Broncos’ return game a shot in the arm. Six fumbles later he found his way to the Buffalo Bills and Denver finished the 2018 season among the worst teams in the league by return average. Which explains the aggressive attempt to address the weakness again this offseason.

Trinity Benson is far from a household name after playing his collegiate career at East Central University. That could soon change as the 22-year-old averaged 42 yards a punt return in 2018, to go with his selection as a Great American Conference first-team wide receiver and an honorable mention as a return specialist.

Trinity Benson

For his career, the 5-foot-11 182-pound Benson had 1,700 receiving yards, playing both in the slot and outside. Coaches also searched for other ways to get the ball in his hands, including giving him reps as a Wildcat quarterback. Benson rewarded their effort by rushing 54 times for 324 yards and five touchdowns in 2018.

The good

True vertical threat with 4.35 speed

Explosive athleticism with start/stop quickness.

Locates the ball well downfield, can adjust to off target throws.

Good balance.

Benson offers the kind of long speed to potentially grow into a lot more than a returner. While it’s true he has a huge jump ahead of him coming out of college, he shows the skills to develop into a valuable role player with patience.

The bad

Former big fish in small pond. Can he survive in the ocean?

Route running tends to be a question for rookie receivers, Benson’s no exception.

Play strength a big question.

Needs work on making contested catches.

The Broncos depth chart is short on experienced proven receivers, but Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, and Tim Patrick look like locks for the roster. Emmanuel Sanders should be provided he’s recovered from his 2018 injury and Denver just spent a 6th round pick on Colorado Buffalo Juwann Winfree. Benson is going to have to turn eyes early and often if he’s going to make the final roster out of camp and may not have a long leash to develop.

As a receiver, he’s coming into such a new situation it’s impossible to predict with any certainty how he’ll take to NFL route trees and competition. He shows some traits, but his experience in OTAs are the first time he’s ever faced off against anything resembling NFL quality defensive backs.

Trinity Benson’s roster status with the Broncos

In my first stab at projecting the Broncos final 53 I gave Trinity Benson a spot. Part of my belief comes from the situation around him. There aren’t many other players on the current roster who offer near as much potential as a returner as Benson could as an legitimate scoring threat.

If he can’t show that ability in the preseason though, he’s going to have a really tough time. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I believe the Broncos will hold onto Winfree. That’d mean 5 receiver spots currently look secure. River Cracraft, Benson, and fellow rookie Kelvin McKnight look like they’re all fighting for that last spot. Even then, Rich Scangarello may elect to carry four tight ends over six receivers.

Benson’s quickness and speed would be a welcome asset on the Broncos return teams.