The Denver Broncos selected Pittsburgh cornerback Damarri Mathis in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. At the time, this pick was viewed as nothing more than a depth selection who could potentially turn into a starter down the road. However, Mathis quickly became much more than a depth player for the Broncos.
Mathis ended up starting a total of 11 games for the Broncos during his rookie year and was active for 16 out of the 17 games the team played this past season. It was a rocky start for the Broncos' rookie cornerback who saw multiple defensive pass-interference calls called against him during his first career start. However, he really improved down the stretch and proved he can be a solid starting NFL cornerback in the NFL.
Damarri Mathis through 6 games:— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) November 10, 2022
• 202 coverage snaps
• 0 TD allowed
The Broncos rookie CB has been SHUTDOWN in the red zone pic.twitter.com/hXDhfEZoWi
Now, Mathis is entering his second season in the NFL and is the expected starter alongside Patrick Surtain II for the Broncos defense this upcoming season. The only significant addition the Broncos made to the cornerback position was drafting corner Riley Moss in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, so Mathis should not see a ton of competition for his job.
Damarri Mathis | Cornerback | Denver Broncos
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 195 pounds
Arm Length: 31 7/8 inches | Hands: 8 1⁄4 inches
40-time: 4.39 seconds
Age: 24 years old | Experience: 2nd season
Damarri Mathis’s 2022 stats
Damarri Mathis played in a total of 16 games for the Broncos in 2022 which included 11 starts and he totaled 65 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 7 pass deflections.
Damarri Mathis’s 2023 season outlook
Heading into the season, Damarri Mathis appears locked into the Broncos' number two cornerback role opposite of stud corner Patrick Surtain II. With teams shying away from challenging Surtain II more and more, Mathis figures to see a lot of targets thrown his way this upcoming season. With that said, the second-year corner faced the same hurdles last season and played very well and improved throughout the season. Now, with a full offseason under his belt, Mathis should only continue to improve and hopefully, develop into another stud starting corner for the Broncos.
The Broncos also gave Mathis a pretty big vote of confidence during the offseason. They could have signed a veteran to compete with the young corner for the number two job, but they did not, and he appears to be the unquestioned number two cornerback heading into training camp. They did draft corner Riley Moss in the third round, but for now, it appears Moss will be a depth player this season.
The Broncos will need Mathis to continue to play well and show that growth throughout the season as he did during his rookie season. As I said, he will be getting a lot of attention from opposing offenses and the team will need him to play well if they want to have success this upcoming season. It will not be an easy test for Mathis and the Broncos defense either. They play Patrick Mahomes twice, and Justin Herbert twice, and also have games against Aaron Rodger and Josh Allen as well. So, the Broncos will need Mathis and the rest of their secondary to play well.
Mathis will be playing for a mostly brand-new coaching staff this season, but the team did retain up-and-coming defensive backs coach Christian Parker. So, we shall see how Mathis does in Vance Joseph’s typically man-heavy scheme, but having Parker back adds some consistency to Mathis’s second year in the league.
Damarri Mathis is one of those underrated X-factors on this team. If he plays well, the Broncos' defense could be one of the best in the league again. However. if he struggles or is inconsistent, the team could have some issues this upcoming season.
As I said multiple times, teams are going to attack Mathis a bunch this season, so they need him to play well. He did that last year in the same role, so I have cautiously optimistic that he can do the same this year. If the Broncos can have two young and very good corners in their secondary, this team could make some serious noise this upcoming season.