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Training Camp Roundtable: Free agents with big expectations.

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We’ve talked about the rookies. Now let’s talk about the veterans Elway & Fangio hired this offseason.

Rookies aren’t the only new faces who’ll begin their first training camp as Broncos on Thursday. The offseason included some notable free agent signings at important positions. Where the rookies have a massive learning curve to deal with, and may take a while to hit their stride in the NFL, the team’s new veterans have a foundation and track record in the NFL that brings natural expectations for immediate impact.

With that in mind, which former free agent are you most excited to watch in camp?

Ja’Wuan James

We’ll kick things off with the man who was briefly the highest paid right tackle in NFL history. A former 1st round pick (19th overall) for Miami, James didn’t quite live up to his pre-draft expectations. Though that didn’t stop the Dolphins from refusing to trade him to the Broncos in 2018, or from competing with Elway to sign him in 2019. OL coach Mike Munchak certainly believes he can help James realize his potential.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Just_JoRo: Ja’Wuan James, but I’m weird.

By and large, the Broncos have had turnstiles at the right tackle spot since Orlando Franklin moved to guard in 2014. Chris Clark was probably the best of them and he got a lot of help from Peyton Manning.

Since the Sheriff left Elway’s spent big money on Donald Stephenson and Menelik Watson. Both were under-performing upside signings that proved to be disappointing wastes of cap space. James is a former first rounder who is entering the prime of his career.

Ian St. Clair: I’m with Joe on this, and it ties into my rationale for going with Dalton Risner. If James is finally the answer at right tackle, that checks off a huge need for the Broncos, as Joe went though the recent putrid history. If James locks down the right tackle position, the chances Joe Flacco is better increases, as well as the offense as a whole.

Joe M: I also want to see how well James performs. He is not a great pass blocker (probably a downgrade from Jared Veldheer), but he is a definitely an upgrade over much of the dreck we had at RT in the past three seasons.

Taylor: I’m with the Joes in being most intrigued by Ja’Wuan James. Flacco’s not a total statue, but like most QBs he does need offensive line help to stay upright and healthy. With major changes to the Broncos’ OL this offseason, I want to see if James really has the goods to be a core piece of the offense for years to come.

Kareem Jackson

NFL: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

While it isn’t clear exactly how much safety Jackson will play vs how much corner, it is clear that the Broncos expect good things from the veteran safety. Signing the 9-year veteran Texan was one of two moves by Elway aimed at reinforcing and reinvigorating a secondary that’s been declining year by year from the heights of its 2015 glory.

Sadaraine: Kareem Jackson is the most exciting free agent signed in 2019. He’s a pro that operates at a very high level. He is what made Houston’s secondary work. Now he gets to bring that phenomenal skill set to the Broncos and work with another guy in Chris Harris, Jr. who shares the same high level of effort and ability.

Kyle B: Kareem Jackson is my favorite free agent. Veteran presence and should be an upgrade over Bradley Roby.

Bryce Callahan

NFL: AUG 10 Preseason - Broncos at Bears Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The second half of that secondary investment the Broncos made this offseason, Callahan’s contributions could go way beyond his own play on the field. That should be great by itself, but the knowledge of Vic Fangio’s scheme that the former Bear is bringing with him should be an invaluable asset to the rest of the secondary.

Adam: I’m not sure there is one guy I am excited about. Sad is correct about Kareem Jackson, but I think that Bryce Callahan is another guy that warrants excitement. Basically, anything that is happening with the defense is exciting with the changes that will be taking place in Denver. Seeing how the new guys can mesh with the current players, and how they all take to the new scheme will be interesting. Callahan having been in Fangio’s system will be a big part of helping guys along, and making the defense better. When Andrew Mason joined Ian and me on the MHR Radio Podcast (ApplePodcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher), he said attention to the secondary over the course of camp.

Jeff: Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan are perfect fits for Fangio’s secondary and are going to be a ton of fun to watch this coming year paired with Chris Harris, Justin Simmons, and Will Parks. It all needs to come together, but if it does, I think Denver’s secondary is a dark horse for a top-5 unit this coming year.


James, Jackson, and Callahan are undoubtedly the big names in the free agent group. There are about a dozen others on the roster as well, though generally buried in the depths of the 90 man summer roster. If you’d like to review those guys, OurLads.com keeps a great depth chart. Just look or filter for SF19 to see the guys signed as street free agents this offseason.

Who are you most intrigued to watch this training camp, Broncos Country? One of the three big names, or perhaps one of the depth guys? Let’s talk!

2 more days to Training Camp!

Poll

Which free agent signee from this offseason are you most excited about?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    RT Ja’Wuan James
    (332 votes)
  • 37%
    CB/S Kareem Jackson
    (341 votes)
  • 23%
    CB Bryce Callahan
    (216 votes)
  • 2%
    Someone else? Tell us who!
    (24 votes)
913 votes total Vote Now