As training camp began at UCHealth Training Center, the wide receivers were center stage as fans wondered about Emmanuel Sanders’ return from injury and the potential of second-year standout Courtland Sutton.
But it was sixth-round draft pick Juwann Winfree who stole the show.
"Size. Speed. Hands. @OnlyOne_JW has all the tools a receiver needs to find success in the pros."@BleacherReport predicted every @NFL team's surprise rookie gem » https://t.co/4ACavOnGL5 pic.twitter.com/NftnXr98wD— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) May 28, 2019
The former Colorado Buff first revealed his power in position drills, demonstrating the ability to implement short area bursts in his route separations. He also has an ability to catch the ball at its highest point, making him a valuable outside receiver.
Winfree might as well have been wearing “stick em” as he had zero drops and zero bobbled balls.
His most exciting moment of the day came during team drills. With the starting offense, Winfree hauled in a 20+ yard touchdown from veteran quarterback Joe Flacco. This immediately excited the crowd as many glanced to their roster sheet making a mental memo to remember No. 15.
Although this rookie may be new on the scene for Broncos Country, John Elway and the front office had interest in the CU wideout from the beginning of the offseason. Last spring, he was invited to the Denver Broncos Local Pro Day where Winfree was one of three receivers to work out for the team prior to the draft.
Fast forward to the NFL Draft when the Broncos traded up in the sixth round to select Winfree, dealing their 212th and 237th overall picks to the Panthers in order to snag their wide receiver.
We’ve selected Colorado WR Juwann Winfree in the sixth round. He’s a tough, physical player with a lot of top-flight traits with his size, speed and hands. Great to add another player with in-state ties to the Broncos. pic.twitter.com/tnR8z29XUv— John Elway (@johnelway) April 27, 2019
While Winfree practiced with all offensive units and special teams, he seemed to have a swagger to his game. NFL Network describes him as “an above average ball plucker and willing run blocker.”
Prior to the NFL Draft, Winfree was asked what would he say to any team that would take him?
“I like to see myself as a complete receiver. You are going to get everything from me. You are going to get a receiver who is going to block, I’m 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, so I’m a big receiver. You’re going to get a receiver who is going to block and put DBs on their butts. You are not going to see me drop many balls. I may drop one or two the whole year. I’m a receiver who prides myself on catching the ball. I catch 100-200 passes every day, because you have to stand out in some way.”
His promise to stand out certainly came true Thursday.