This week’s MVB is heavy on supposition and speculation. With so many injuries last season, the 2019 Broncos gave a slew of young players opportunities to catch Fangio and the coaching staff’s attention. Add to that yet another offensive coordinator change, rookie receivers, and the impending fallout that brings, and well...
If you missed the opening post of the series, the link is here.
Garett Bolles, Josey Jewell, and others can be found here.
Jeff Driskel, Mike Purcell, and others can be found here.
As will be the case all throughout, I’m considering three criteria as I rank the players:
1. What do I expect them to bring to the roster going forward?
2. Positional value
3. Salary compared to both past and expected future performance
30. Isaac Yiadom - Cornerback
What started as a year of promise quickly turned into a nightmare for Isaac Yiadom. The injury to Bryce Callahan pushed him into the starting boundary corner spot early in camp and throughout the preseason he looked to be thriving with the opportunity. As soon as the Broncos opened the season on Monday Night against the Raiders, Yiadom was attacked without mercy. By week three Yiadom was benched, and he only found his way back to playing time because of injuries and struggles by the rest of the cornerback room.
All of that should make Yiadom’s rank above players like Duke Dawson, Malik Reed, and Elijah Wilkinson seem a bit suspect, but the Broncos did little to impede on the third year pro’s chance to redeem himself in 2020. A.J. Bouye was acquired to replace the departing Chris Harris Jr. Despite what looked like obvious interest from Prince Amukamara, the only new challenger Yiadom has to contend with for time is this year’s third round corner, Michael Ojemudia.
29. Davontae Harris - Cornerback
At one point last year there was rampant speculation that Davontae Harris was going to emerge as the next “no-name” superstar. I went back through his Chiefs, Colts, and Browns games and found that to be way too rich. The former Bengal was mixing solid play with some spectacular luck, such as when Shelby Harris batted down a Patrick Mahomes pass that would have embarrassed him or when Matt Moore missed on an easy touchdown because of pressure from Von Miller.
Going forward, I do believe Harris has a chance to emerge as a contributor on the boundary. He played more aggressively at the catch point than Yiadom did last season and was not afraid to make a mistake.
28. De’Vante Bausby - Cornerback
I was surprised when it only cost the Broncos $825,000 to retain Bausby in free agency, but perhaps that was naive of me. He signed with the Broncos after a season dominating the AAF and started three games before a scary neck injury ended his season. I may still be riding the high marks of that stretch placing him at 28, but his performance against the Green Bay Packers was one of the better games a corner played for Fangio in 2019. Hopefully he can get back to 100% and prove he’s that guy every game.
Sure hope De'Vante Bausby can get back to form for the Broncos in 2020. Forgot how promising he looked against the Packers. pic.twitter.com/r2i4D78PlZ— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) January 7, 2020
27. DaeSean Hamilton - Receiver
There may not be a single player on the Broncos’ roster more aided by COVID-19 than DaeSean Hamilton. The lack of offseason workouts could wind up adversley impacting his replacement in K.J. Hamler, and the contagious nature of the disease means proven depth is probably at a premium heading into the regular season.
Hamilton’s ability to create separation on the short and intermediate plane as well as his affinity for dirty work gives him a niche. To make the most of it, the third year receiver will need to reach a level of consistency with his hands he lacked last season. Missed catches early in the season were a major part in Joe Flacco’s lack of faith in him. His athletic limitations make him a sub par YAC threat and limit what he can do downfield. Chances are, Hamilton’s likely to fall down to WR4 or 5 as the season progresses and the younger receivers find their footing.
26. Michael Ojemudia - Defensive back
It remains a bit of a mystery as to the Broncos’ plans for this former Hawkeye. His former head coach admitted that Iowa considered him for safety but held off because how much he meant to the defense at corner. With the question marks about the Broncos’ safety depth after Kareem Jackson and Justin Simmons, I could definitely see the rookie getting some reps on the back end like Alijah Holder did last August. That potential versatility in and of itself has immense value.
While I was surprised by the Ojemudia selection when it happened, I shouldn’t have been. He received a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa, served on the program’s leadership council, and played in one of the most zone heavy schemes in all of college football. He combines the kind of mental processing, ball skills, and physicality to eventually thrive in the Fangio defense.
This is one thing that I kept coming back to. It's hard to underestimate how much mental processing matters to the #Broncos coverages, and it's hard to completely pin that down by watching tape.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) April 25, 2020
Fangio may love that in Ojemudia, and I can dig it. https://t.co/C5ivKQOqvQ
25. Tim Patrick - Wide Receiver
It’s a real shame Tim Patrick’s 2019 was cut in two by the injury he suffered in week one. Losing him and Hamilton’s struggles threw the Broncos into a situation where they were asking Diontae Spencer to log real minutes on offense and really hurt them when Emmanuel Sanders skipped the second half of the Titan’s game.
Like Hamilton, Patrick’s likely to find his role noticeably shrink from what it was at the tail end of last year because of Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. Unlike Hamilton, I think he adds enough to the table to be safe going into 2020, regardless of the Broncos’ adjustment to the pandemic. While he’s not going to create a ton of separation on in and out cutting routes, Patrick presents a size/speed mismatch that should carry value. Additionally, he played more than 200 snaps on special teams back in 2018 and offers the kind of physicality to do so at a high level once again.
Your Broncos’ Links
The countdown begins.
Let’s talk about value
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Harris will have a big hill to climb to find regular playing time in Denver.
In a game that honored Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, the home team would smother a fellow unbeaten under the national spotlight.
and yes, I did ask for an invite.
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“The situation this fall will be dictated by the dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States,” Fauci said
“Attendance will be a state-by-state, county-by-county thing,” an unnamed NFL source told Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com. “It will not be a one size fits all.”
Sanders posted a video of himself catching passes from Brees to his Instagram story on Tuesday night. The workout took place in Denver and the video showed three others on the field with the players, but it’s not clear when Brees and Sanders got in the work.
The NFLPA advised “against any voluntary joint practices” in a recent email to players about efforts to avoid contracting COVID-19. Videos of Buccaneers players working out with Tom Brady and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson working with wide receiver D.K. Metcalf have also surfaced in the last couple of days, so that advice may not be leading to major changes in pre-training camp plans.
Patriots will be in good position to deal with reduced cap in 2021, if that happens - ProFootballTalk
That said, some may prefer it. In a recent item that takes a broad look at the potential coming cap crunch, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston points out that the Patriots are projected to have $124 million in commitments to 55 players under contract for 2021. Which allows the Patriots to keep the guys they have and, if a drop in the cap forces teams to unload expensive players, to pursue available veterans.
“Man, why not four more years?” Peterson recently said. “Why not?”
The Washington Redskins running back turned 35 years old in March but wants to run until the wheels fall off.
“I don’t want to ever be in a position where I look back and say, ‘Man, I should have played two more years,’” Peterson said. “‘I should have played another year.’ I want to enjoy it. I’m still chasing a championship. You know, I still can play the game at a high level. For those reasons, and having that love and passion for the game, I’m going to continue to keep the ball rolling.”
A month before rookies are scheduled to report to training camp, more than 180 draft picks remain unsigned, including 29 of 32 first-rounders, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, per an NFLPA memo.