Every NFL team is in need of having a deep cornerback room. With the high-profile passing attacks propelled by young gun quarterbacks across the league, it’s absolutely critical to have a cornerback corps that is six players deep each season.
The Denver Broncos are in good hands with Patrick Surtain II as their top talent at the position. He is one of the best players in the league and quite possibly the best player the franchise has. Damarri Mathis and K’Waun Williams are slated to start opposite of him and the team made a big move up the board in the 2023 NFL Draft to acquire Iowa standout Riley Moss.
Beyond those four, it’s anyone’s best guess who will earn the final positions. Ja’Quan McMillian is one of those players.
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of East Carolina last season, he is back in the fold to try and earn a spot on this year’s 53-man roster. While he was a part of Denver’s final roster cuts last August, he was signed back to the practice squad and eventually got playing time in the regular season finale against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Height: 5’11” | Weight: 183 pounds | Age: 23 years old
40-yard dash: 4.55 seconds | Vertical Jump: 36.5 inches
Arm Length: 29 inches | Hands: 8 5/8 inches | Vertical Jump: 36.5 inches
Short Shuttle: 4.25 seconds | 3-Cone Drill: 6.76 seconds | Bench Press: 14 reps
Played in one game with 7 tackles. Spent the rest of the year on Denver’s practice squad.
How does cornerback Ja’Quan McMillian fit with the Denver Broncos?
McMillian was a top-notch cornerback for the Pirates in college and a multiple All-AAC and All-American selection during his career. He was widely-regarded as one of the better zone coverage corners in the league, but had some issues in man coverage.
He is at his best when he can sit back and read the quarterback from a distance. He reeled in 11 interceptions and had 28 pass breakups with the Pirates, so we know he is a ball-hawking corner who makes plays on the ball.
That being said, it will be interesting to see how he adjusts and fits in with Vance Joseph’s defense, who is expected to run a lot of man principles and be very aggressive with his secondary calls. But nevertheless, ball skills like that and a penchant for creating turnovers translates well to the pros. If he can harness that energy from his collegiate endeavors and do it as a pro, he has a good shot to stick.
McMillian didn’t make the team outright last year, but with a full season of development on the practice squad and one regular season game on his belt, he has more experience now than he did coming into the league as an undrafted free agent.
He is competing with a lot of other players for a spot, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he earned the last corner back spot up for grabs on the roster. He looked pretty good in the season finale against the Chargers and made the most of the opportunity given. Here is to wishing him the best this season.