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Broncos boast four undrafted free agents on final 53-man roster

The Denver Broncos ended up keeping four total undrafted free agents on their initial 53-man roster and that’s a big deal.

NFL: Preseason-Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The past 72 hours have been fast and furious for fans across Broncos Country and the entire National Football League. It’s easily one of the busiest times of the year as teams across the league dwindle down their rosters to the final 53 players who will embark toward gridiron glory in 2023.

The Denver Broncos have always been a franchise that has had success with undrafted free agents. Last week, I felt confident two UDFAs would make their final roster. Much to my surprise, the team kept four undrafted rookie free agents, which is now a team record.

It wasn’t just Jaleel McLaughlin and Alex Palczewski, but tight end Nate Adkins and outside linebacker Thomas Incoom. The latter were definitely a surprise in my eyes. After his performance against the Rams in the final game of the preseason, I believed Albert Okwuegbunam would be the candidate for the Broncos’ fourth and final spot at tight end. My assumptions were wrong, and George Paton and Sean Payton elected to keep the former South Carolina Gamecock in the fold for the upcoming season.

Payton noted that his consistency and versatility were major factors in their decision to keep him in the fold. Moreover, that they didn’t feel he would clear waivers and make it to their practice squad.

“He was just one of those guys who day in and day out got his job done. He’s got some position versatility. You see him playing some fullback. He’s kind of that ‘F’ tight end if you will,” stated Payton. “He can play on the ball, but he’s probably a little bit better off the ball. He was someone we considered drafting, and he was someone that was very sought after, after the draft. We felt it would be hard to get him to a practice squad spot.”

With respect to Incoom, I think most fans felt he was a longshot to make the roster, but his play on special teams and pass rushing ability seemed to win out over the likes of Aaron Patrick and several others on the squad. It’s unlikely that he sees many meaningful defensive snaps with Frank Clark, Nik Bonitto, Randy Gregory, and Jonathan Cooper ahead of him on the depth chart, but he will get quality reps on special teams while Baron Browning recovers and starts the season on short-term injured reserve.

All and all, I’m really glad the new coaching staff put a priority on keeping some of their better UDFA pickups. It’s just their first year in the league, but all four of them have the potential to be solid contributors for the team moving forward. It’s quite clear that Payton is reforging the roster with his own handpicked guys and placing a preference on their long-term ability versus players acquired under previous regimes. A trend that will undoubtedly continue in the years to come.

What do you think Broncos Country? Did Denver make the right call by keeping the four players above or should have they opted to go a different route? Sound off in the comments section and let me know what you think.

As always, thank you for reading and here are several stories for today’s edition of Horse Tracks.

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