Ed Donatell had some high praise for rookie corner Michael Ojemudia on a media call last week. He was asked right out of the gate about how the 3rd round corner from Iowa can fit the defense:
“We’re delighted to have Michael, and good afternoon to everybody,” Donatell said. “Michael brings size, he brings speed and he can judge a ball down the field deep. Those are very important parts to a DB. He’s really on schedule as a tackler and a hitter, which we know is very important to the Broncos’ style of defense. How he fits in—we want him to do as much as he can as a rookie. Time will only tell that. What I can tell you is he’s really, really in the top part of the class as far as his learning curve. He’s picked up our scheme in a virtual sense and about as good as you’ll find in a rookie. He’s off to a good start. We’re just really eager to get him on the field and get started coaching him in a physical sense.”
Ojemudia joined the Broncos Country Tonight crew, Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright to discuss his coach’s comments and what Ed Donatell means when he says Michael is a fit for the Broncos syle of defense.
First, Michael said while it was great to hear the compliments from his coach, it doesn’t mean much until he actually gets on the field and they start putting in on the field work, which I think speaks well of the mentality that the rookie has.
He then addressed the question of what it means to fit the Broncos style of defense:
“Versatility and strength, Ojemudia said. “Being able to run, being able to cover, being able to read defenses, and when the ball comes to you being able to put your nose in and make that play and make the hit, so just being well rounded in every aspect.”
Ojemudia also spoke about the virtual classroom and the importance of still putting in all the work this offseason despite the abnormal circumstances.
“It’s going to be a little harder because you’ll have less reps. Before you would be able to go there in the spring and get all your butterflies out of the way, get all your mistakes out of the way, but now it’s getting closer and closer to game-time. But you know I’m a pro now, I’ve been working out on a good schedule, and you have no excuses when you come to training camp.”
Ryan Edwards commented how he like the “you’re a pro, no excuses” mentality and asked where that sentiment comes from Ojemudia responded:
“It’s from the coaches and players, from the vets. You know, this is not something in like in college where they’ll pat you on the back. You know, if you’re not playing good, that’s money and they’re going to take you out. You’re playing with people’s money if you’re not ready, so like I said before ‘you’re a pro now’.”
I know it’s just the offseason, but it’s always nice to hear praise from coaches about young players, particularly on the mental side of picking up the playbook and the maturity side, after some of Denver’s draft picks of years past have fallen a bit short in that regard.
It’s also nice to hear from young rookies who seem to already ‘get it’. Ojemudia is absolutely right, and particularly in his role as a defensive back. The team is only as strong as their weakest coverage link, and watching last season was a clear indication that if you don’t play well, you get benched.
I’m excited to see Ojemudia on the field when the time comes, but for now I’m glad he’s excelling in the classroom setting and picking up the defense. That is going to be a key piece of him getting on the field this year.