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Broncos roster review: Safety Caden Sterns

The Broncos third year safety could be on the verge of a breakout year.

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

After selecting Caden Sterns in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos rookie had a promising-looking first year with the team. Many hoped and believed he would carry that success over into his second season and develop into a starter for the Broncos' defense. Well, early into the 2022 season, it looked like that was happening, but an unfortunate hip injury ended up ending his season after just five games.

The week five matchup was against the Indianapolis Colts and in that game, he intercepted quarterback Matt Ryan twice. Unfortunately, this game also ended Sterns season and ended with a disappointing Broncos overtime loss.

Now, Sterns enters his third season with the Broncos with some competition at safety from the recently re-signed veteran Kareem Jackson and rookie JL Skinner. With that said, Broncos head coach Sean Payton has come away impressed with the talented young safety. So, Sterns could be on the verge of a breakout season for the Broncos.

Player Profile

Caden Sterns | Safety | Texas

Height: 6’1” | Weight: 207 pounds

Age: 23 years old | Experience: Third season

2022 regular season stats for safety Caden Sterns

Caden Sterns played in five games for the Broncos and totaled 21 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 4 pass deflections.

Broncos safety Caden Sterns 2023 outlook

Heading into the 2023 season, I think that safety Caden Sterns will have a fairly similar to the one he had last season. Before his injury, he played a significant number of snaps on defense and I do not see that changing this upcoming season.

Now, will he start? That remains to be seen because the Broncos re-signed veteran safety Kareem Jackson who has started at safety for them since 2019 when he signed as a free agent. That will be a battle we see happen throughout camp, but it is likely that we will see both safeties play significant snaps regardless of who starts.

This will be Sterns third coaching staff since being drafted by the Broncos but the reviews from the current staff have been pretty good so far. After an OTA practice, head coach Sean Payton praised Sterns instincts and called the third-year safety smart.

“I think that he’s smart, and that’s a good trait to have at his position. He also has instincts. That was a heck of a play down the field and staying on top. For him staying healthy and then taking a little bit of this momentum—confidence is born really out of demonstrated ability. You can hope for confidence, or say, ‘I’m going to be confident,’ but it’s only born from demonstrated ability. Plays like that—you guys have all seen a preseason game where someone excels and then all of a sudden, you have a different player. You can point to a certain moment. He’s one of those type of players.”

So, I think it safe to assume that Sterns will have a significant role on the Broncos' defense in 2023. He can start opposite of Justin Simmons, or play the third safety role and play in the slot and as a dime backer. He could be viewed as someone who can match up against play-making tight ends as well.

At the end of the day, we will have a clearer idea of his exact role after training camp and the preseason, but he will be a key member of the defense regardless.

Final Thoughts

I have been a big fan of Caden Sterns since his rookie season. He is a highly athletic safety with good coverage ability and ball skills. He has flashed that throughout his career and I expected big things from him last season. Unfortunately, a hip injury derailed that, but I have the same expectations for him this upcoming season.

Whether he starts or is a sub-package player, I think we will see a lot of Sterns this upcoming season. If he can stay healthy, I think he will develop into a ball-hawking safety who will pair nicely with All-Pro Justin Simmons in the Broncos' secondary.